Shouting the Poetic Truths of High School Journal Keepers

Sunday, April 09, 2006

April 9, 1994

Yesterday marked too important events in the grand scheme of life. For starters, it was Shanna's birthday. Secondly, and probably more importantly (though not to take anything away from Shanna), NIRVANA lead singer Kurt Cobain (which is an anagram for "ROCKIN' TUBA") was found dead in his home, an apparent suicide. This is not something that you can just hear & brush off like most celebrity deaths, because most celebrity deaths occur when the star already lived most of his/her life, or in the rare case of, say, River Phoenix, who died last fall of a drug overdoes, well ... I don't think he meant as much, at least to me, as someone like Cobain. I find it ironic that in the Jan 27, 1994, issue of Rolling Stone, the interview with Cobain makes the following remarks:

"he's never been happier in his life"
"his life is pretty good. And getting better."
"I'm a much happier guy than a lot of people think I am"
"every month, I come to more optimistic conclusions"

Jesus, and nobody realizes this. While listening to In Utero last night and the Katherine Johns1 WLS-AM talk show on Generation X, it became obvious that everyone thought of Cobain as (as he put it) "this pissy, complaining freaked-out schizophrenic who wants to kill himself all the time." And sure, he had a heroin addiction (due mostly to his stomach ailments) and he was uncomfortable with fame, but this isn't how he was all the time. I mean, he got married (to Courtney Love, of the band Hole) and had a daughter (Frances Bean) and as the interview indicates, was finally beginning to piece his life together. I was looking forward to a new Nirvana album, which Cobain envisioned as "pretty, ethereal, acoustic, like R.E.M.'s last album." He was recovering from his addiction ... that is, until early last month, when he fell into a two-day coma in Rome by overdosing on some Italian drug2 & champagne. And, of course, just days ago, it was announced that Nirvana wouldn't perform at Lollapalooza '94 ... that seems fairly obvious now. So I suppose he has been falling back into his past life recently. But it just seems like so many people don't understand the real, complex Kurt Cobain. I don't admit to being a huge Nirvana fan, but I think that I understand better than most.3 It was just such a tragic shock...
-JMC 11:05 AM

1 sic: The WLS host's first name was Catherine. What's most interesting to me about this part of the entry is how, in the pre-Internet days, the first place I turned for instant discussion and analysis was talk radio, where the perspective was understandably skewed. Man, I would've loved an online community that night.

2 Huh?

3 Okay, so here's the really weird thing about this entry: how did I really "understand" Kurt Cobain? Because I read a Rolling Stone interview with him three months before he died? I mean, I seem to be pretty frustrated with the mainstream media, but the position I'm coming from is the only-slightly-less mainstream media. And since I really wasn't a huge Nirvana fan -- I mean, as a 15-year-old burgeoning rock fan, I owned both Nevermind and In Utero, naturally, but they weren't like my favorite band or anything -- reading this entry makes me cynically speculate that the emotional effect Cobain's death had on me was just so media-influenced. I think I really wanted to identify with Generation X (I'd read the Coupland book, seen Reality Bites, etc.) -- despite being on the tail end of it (most demographers don't extend Gen X past 1981) -- and so the effect of Kurt's suicide was more symbolic than genuinely emotional: "This is my generation's hero, you adults don't understand." I'd never had anyone I could've said that about, and it probably made my life seem important.

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