Saturday, October 1, 2011
Cobain Vs. Grohl: Grohl Rules OK
Last month's barrage of Nirvana nostalgia got to be a bit wearying.
As I've written before, the release of Nevermind in the fall of 1991 didn't matter matter much to me. My Bloody Valentine's Loveless was the record that rocked my world that autumn.
When the NME reported this week that Kurt Cobain hated Dave Grohl -- even after the drummer's work had helped the Nirvana frontman secure superstardom and millionaire status -- I got annoyed.
You know, Kurt Cobain was wickedly and wildly overrated. A few great singles or not, the guy seemed like a misguided and petulant brat. He's to be commended for getting those Raincoats albums reissued but, still, I always had the feeling that he had just heard about the band and somehow latched onto them because they were a bit obscure -- to some people -- and they were not exactly technically proficient.
Same goes for The Vaselines: How did I listen to so much UK indie rock in the late 1980s and never hear anyone mention that band?
And that was the problem with Cobain: Real depression or not, he was affected. With his carefully selected ratty sweaters, he seemed more mannered as his career progressed.
As I watched him bitch about his fame in that year or so before he offed himself, I would recall some quote of John Lydon's which I will paraphrase here: "If you don't want to be a pop star, don't be one. It's the easiest thing in the world."
And as someone who has been treated for depression and self-harm, I also resented what Cobain perhaps unwittingly represented with his whole suffering artist shtick.
Once again, the media was lauding someone as complicated and deep simply because he was mentally ill and depressed.
There sometimes seems to be no glory in being healthy and well-adjusted.
As The Ramones sang: "I wanna be well" but people want their rock stars dark and fucked up.
When Richey Edwards and Ian Curtis suffered, it seemed noble. There seemed to be little doubt that the pain was real. Both used it to create great art.
With Cobain, it was just another device, a mechanism to sell more records.
I just wish that the rock press would stop deifying the Sid Vicious types of the world.
Being fucked up is not enough. It's the work.
And Dave Grohl wins.
Finally, a nice guy has succeeded -- the D.C. music scene is full of people with kind words for Grohl and everyone I know who has either met Grohl or knows him and his people has nothing but nice things to say about the guy -- and that's cool.
Additionally, the guy produces remarkably consistent rock that, while not always revolutionary, is usually catchy and effective.
Let's stop with that whole you need to suffer to create shit.
Here's an awesome song from the new Foo Fighters record Wasting Light from the David Letterman show. It's worth watching the ad just for the clip to load.
Cheers on the Beatles theme too, guys!
If this song doesn't make you happy, there's something wrong with you. Or you have horrible taste in music.
Foo Fighters -- "A Matter Of Time"