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Friday, April 11, 2008

Rock n' Roll Suicide

Can you believe it was 14 years ago this week that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain blew his brains out? Time flies. I never bought into the media hype that Cobain was the John Lennon of his generation. I always thought people became legends organically....Cobain's coronation to legend status seemed to be pushed by MTV and Rolling Stone.....I didn't have much use for grunge. To me there has to be some joy in rock...grunge was all wrapped in flannel and angst and that gets old quickly. Plus, when a guy starts to whine publicly about his fame, I have no use for them.

I remember when Cobain died my reaction was one "well, that didn't take long." I wasn't the least bit surprised. It seemed to be the way his story was supposed to end. While I didn't mourn Cobain's passing in the least, I did feel bad for his bandmates, his daughter and for Neil Young...yes Neil Young. It was Young's lyrics of "better to burn out then fade away" that Cobain quoted in his suicide note. That reference really seemed to rattle Young and he had to exorcise his Cobain demons in his own music.

To me, Nirvana is just a band that Dave Grohl happened to be in before he formed the Foo Fighters. Nirvana's best known work, Nevermind, sounds incomplete to me. Its not as full a record as say Appetite for Destruction. Every song on Appetite still gets radio airplay...Nevermind has been reduced to Teen Spirit. Time has reduced Cobain to a blip in the history of pop culture. Dave Grohl's influence will be felt longer than Cobain's.

Then there is the story of Jim Ellison. He would have been 44 this month. Most of you probably don't even know who Ellison was. He was the leader of Chicago power pop band Material Issue. MI produced one of the best records of the 90's International Pop Overthrow. When each subsequent follow up sold less than the previous, the band lost their major label contract. That setback, along with a busted romance, led Ellison to kill himself in June 1996.

Now that loss hit me....back in those pre-internet days I found out about Ellison's passing via an issue of Entertainment Weekly. Unlike when Cobain died, MTV didn't break in and play Material Issue videos over and over for days on end. Despite crafting so many fine power pop tunes, the only tune of Material Issue's I ever hear on Sirius is their cover of Kim the Waitress. Bloody shame too. Their music is timeless. Sadly in death, Ellison is as under appreciated as he was in life.

What is it about the city of Chicago that produces such fine power pop/rock bands? Cheap Trick, Enuff Z'Nuff and Material Issue all hail from the Chicagoland area. All 3 of them have been horribly overlooked and under appreciated. I'm considering leading a campaign to get Cheap Trick into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Which rock suicide do you think was more original? Elliot Smith stabbing himself in the heart or Brad Delp's death by grill? Delp's death was a real pisser too. I refuse to recoginize Boston without Delp. I could go the rest of my life without hearing a Boston tune but to me its Delp's voice that made that band.

A few quick hits to end the week:

My wife, who knows nothing about Motorhead, was sitting with me last night while I was watching clips of them on YouTube. Her response was "that song sounds just like the last one." Do you think that women have something genetic with their ears that prevents them from hearing how brilliant Motorhead is?

Is there anything more dull then televised golf?

I have no respect for men who wear purple...unless its Ronnie James Dio.

Finally, our pal the O.M.O.M. is leaving for Europe in a few days to join American Dog. France ain't seen an American invasion like this since the Allies stormed Normandy in 1944. Have a safe trip my friend and make sure you come back and tell us how AD ripped up the place.

Trust none of what you hear...and less of what you see...have a good weekend.


TFO said...

More dull than televised golf? - yes, televised bowling. They need to spice golf up and allow tailgaters onto the course. Plus, if there is a playoff, each golfer has a limited amount of time to hit the ball before his opponent is allowed to bodycheck him into a beer cooler.

TFO said...

As far as women's genetics and hearing as it relates to music... I think that, as far as they're concerned, if it isn't on "American Idiot" or featured on the newest reality-show train wreck, then it isn't worth listening to. That's why there is an overabundance of shitty music in this country.

E. S. Furniss said...

Women just don't have ears for metal. They like hair bands....but not metal. I think its cuz metal bands are usually ugly. I think the thundering bass coupled with Lemmy's visage is too much for the female ear (and eye) to handle.

Televised bowling sucks too but you don't see too much of it anymore. I agree with your ideas to improve golf on tv. I've always thought if they played it in an arena on roller skates it would be a little better. Plus, make the hazards more dangerous....gators, fire pits, island natives with spears and bows..crap like that.

kellie said...

Back when there was 1 TV in the household that you had to GET UP and turn the channel, I would nearly cry when my grandfather would watch Bowling for Dollars. Guess I was too fing stupid to go outside.