Jukeboxparables

WT2010 – USA – Day 26 – Seattle, WA

Posted in Travels by jukeboxparables on April 8, 2010

WT2010 – U.S.A
Day 26 – Seattle, WA
[On the iPOD] Nirvana / DFA1979

A 3hour drive to Seattle, WA. Surprisingly up until this point, I hadn’t listened to much American radio but forgetting to charge the iPod I was furiously channel flicking on the short drive into Washington. You do not know bad music until you listen to American radio. Twenty channels of Country-Pop-Rock… think acoustic Nickelback with a country accent, endless different ‘artists’ in this vein. My ears were bleeding.

I finally got into Seattle, much later than I had planned unfortunately because I was only effectively staying one night I’d have to get out there and do something. When I began planning this trips months and months back I had to move dates around a few times, which makes this all the more spooky. I had planned to do a small site-seeing Nirvana/Kurt Cobain tour thing but as it turns out the date I’d be Seattle was in fact April 4th and staying overnight of the 5th (The anniversary of the day Kurt Cobain died) I wanted to detour 1hour into Aberdeen (1hour from Seattle but I’d left it a little late) Instead I apprehensively decided to visit Cobain’s “Graceland” or the last he bought and lived in.

It’s not a proper Indication of Cobain, because he only lived there for a short period (after Nirvana had become successful and he had the money to buy such a place) even so the house itself is completely modest. It’s in an expensive area on Lake Washington Blvd (it overlooks a lake with Ice-topped mountains behind it) It’s an amazing view but the house is secluded behind many trees. It looks like a large very-homey lodge.

Next to the house is a small (1 house block-size) park with a park bench. The story goes the last place Kurt Cobain was seen alive was by passing residents as he sat on that park bench. It’s kind of funny in a way. It’s this small, understated park where you effectively stare at some trees and the road where yuppies pass by in SUV’s. I can totally picture Cobain sitting there with a smirk of contempt on his face, wholey aware of the irony of him living there.

The park bench has become a make-shift shrine. Courtney Love (his late wife) apparently scattered his ashes in the trees behind the bench. The bench itself it covered in dedications from fans. As I walked towards the park there were three guys sitting before it, writing messages. It turns out they had hitch-hiked across the USA and it was the first time in Seattle and first time at the spot. We exchanged stories of our little minds being blown growing up; ages 11, 12, 13 listening to the sludgey raw, gravely sounds of Cobain and then expressing dismay at how the many artists of today (and following) have failed to ever comprehend Cobain’s message of a world of anti-rockstar, anti-masochism, anti-cockrock and sexual equality in music. We sat there on the bench, the four of us quietly.

One of the guys Adam lent me his iPod to listen to a b-side I’d never heard. Loud and bright LIVE, just like many of the bootlegs I listened to as a kid. People had already left flowers and candles there. There were messages of solidarity from all over, the UK, Poland and Japan. I contemplated for awhile what I’d write. I eventually went with a quote from one of Cobains loves; a song from a band called The Vaselines, Nirvana covered two of their songs on their album Incesticide. Kurt loved them so much he FORCED them to reform so they could open for Nirvana when they were in Edinburgh, Scotland (The Vaselines hometown) The chorus of the song titled “Son of a Gun” is “The sun shines in the bedroom when we play, the raining always starts when you go away”. I went with the latter part of that.

The guys were genuinely shocked when I told them what day it was (the anniversary of Kurt’s death) turns out they hadn’t planned it either. Later on they went to knock on the door of the house and then heard someone playing basketball out the back. They walked up to the fence and asked “Hi, just wondering are you a Nirvana fan?” this was met with a stern NO! and the guy sounded like a yuppie tool. Quite amusing, though understandably he probably has to put up with constant harassment.

Later on I went for a wander around Seattle, it’s an Interesting place. Not really smoking-metropolis but not really quiet and dull either. Somewhere in between. No bands were playing on a Sunday night a the Crocodile Cafe unfortunately (a popular venue in the 90’s) so I stayed in at night and decided to leave early the next morning!

Theres probably more to Seattle than half a day can uncover, unfortunately I’ll have to leave it to another time! I’ll leave you all with a small Cobain tribute… or the two sides to Nirvana (the loud and raw and the soft and humble)

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Nardwuar – From Nirvana to Jay Z.

Posted in Film & TV, Music, Oldschool/Classic Things by jukeboxparables on June 7, 2009

I randomly came across an Interview with Nirvana on youtube the other night. The Interviewer was someone called; Nardwuar The Human Serviette. It took me about 30sec to start convulsing at the microphone IN YOUR FACE ‘silly put on voice’ Interview style but about a minute later my ears started to ‘light up’ at some of the references he was dishing out to Kurt Cobain… still in that stupid voice. The Interview was in 3 parts (30min long) and by the end of It I was completely blown away at how much Information he’d dug out of Kurt.

And there was more… Soon I found Interviews with Sonic Youth, N.E.R.D, The Mars Volta, The Strokes, The Libertines, Weird Al Yankovic, Blur, Henry Rollins, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys, Slipknot, Marylin Manson, The Roots, Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, Common and Jay Z.

I ended up watching all of those in a row.. Not because I particularly like all of them but because of Nardwuar’s approach to Interviewing. Basically all of the Artists mentioned initially react in exactly the same way. They’re sick of Interviewers, they’ve done hundreds if not 1000’s to popular media Journo’s who don’t really give a damn.

His wikipedia page states (rather factually) that he’s an Indie rock expert. I couldn’t agree more, sometimes I like to pretend I have a knowledge of music history but the connections that Nardwuar put’s together will blow you away. It’s basically A-class journalism ala an oldschool 60miutes, BBC or Dateline reporter mixed with the comical approach of Bobcat Goldthwait (circa Police Academy) and the stylings of say… an Irish golfer. Perhaps this guy’s research ability has something to do with his bachelor’s degree (with honours) in history.

Anyway. Apart from all the cool things you’ll pickup watching these interviews another reason to watch them is (after you watch your first one) try and pick which band will snap it in complete incomprehension whilst which artists will get it, be in Awe and deliver give an insight into their past and yet others who will fall somewhere in between!

Since Nardwuar has been doing his thing for a Canadian radio station since 1987 there’s a bunch of written and audio Interviews on his website. But I recommend you definitely watch the Youtube videos… nothing catches the awkwardness better than a Video Interview. Some are lengthy-er than others I guess probably based on Nardwuar’s affection for the Artist he’s Interviewing, or perhaps allotted time. Particularly look for the ones spanning from the early 90’s to early 2000’s. As of late the format has seemed to change to shorter cuts with newish Artists.

Here’s a small selection!

Nirvana – January 1, 1994. (Also with Courtney Love)
PART 1
PART 2
PART 3
Kurt handles it with a kind of sick desperation to please. You can see the worked up ability of dealing with any number of dull Interviewers over the years serves him well here.

The Mars Volta
PART 1
PART 2
Omar and Cedric find it all rather amusing. The question is, were they also joking when talking about ex band mate Jim Ward? At this point they totally came across as pretentious dicks IMO, I’ll give them the benefit and say they’re pretty amusing.

The Strokes
PART 1
PART 2
PART 3
PART 4
This is one of my favs. Singer Julian in the early early days after a big night and probably on something good. He eventually warms to Nardwuar and tells about the utter battle in his head about being credited for their music as opposed to being perceived on Image alone or as a band all about Image. And selling out and all that. It’s kind of eerie seeing this in comparison to Kurt Cobain (who was also very very weary of this situation) he lived through it to get to the state of cynical regression you see in the Nardwuar interview above… but as we all know he never really got through that phase.

N.E.R.D – Pharrell Williams
PART 1 (Extended)
Pharrell is high as a kite here, which is rather unfortunate as he gets totally stumped by the questions put to him. I would’ve loved to hear him talk more about Carl Sagan. I think I like this one so much because it’s refreshing to see someone who has achieved that much as seemingly as still chilled out and down to earth (well perhaps more in the clouds in this Interview!)

The Roots (with drummer Questlove)
PART 1
PART 2
PART 3
PART 4
One of the better Interviewee’s that opens up without everything going to a shambles, you learn a lot here!

Funniest Interviewee goes to Iggy Pop! Members of Sonic Youth and Blur win awards for being the biggest dicks. Jay Z wins the biggest stoner award and It’s a tie between Cobain and Questlove for most chilled out!

Check out all the video interviews here.

1991: The Year Punk Broke.

Posted in Film & TV, Music by jukeboxparables on April 29, 2009

punk_dvd

I thought I’d link a documentary I’m a huge fan of; 1991: The Year Punk Broke. It’s a tour doco by Dave Markey filmed in 1991 which follows Sonic Youth on a leg of their European tour. Nirvana were also on tour with them at the time so it features performances by both bands as well as a few others on a Festival leg of the tour; Dinosaur Jr, Babes In Toyland and Gumball. Also mentioned / shown are The Ramones.

It’s a bit of reminiscence for me because as a kid growing up, this scene was my first exposure to Alternative music (Not that I saw it, but all the songs and sentimentality) And not so much Sonic Youth because I basically couldn’t handle their Music at age 11, but I was a huge Nirvana fan and lived and breathed that Alternative vibe they gave off as best I could understand. Of course everything they ever said in Interviews about Pop-culture and Corporate-rock kinda went straight over my head. Though getting into Sonic Youth much later probably saved my young-self’s brain from… “turning into a continuous gelatinous ball of pepper” As Thurston Moore puts it in one of the backstage excerpts. Though one of the biggest Influences on me this all gave off was a curiosity about what they were talking about; distrust of mass-media, corporations turning art into consumerism and a firm anti-image stance on Music. Punk as an attitude may have “began” in the Early 70’s (at least its exposure) but I think it was refined by the movement of Music that this documentary features. Sadly a few years later I totally forgot about all this and started listening to some awful bands. But I think I’ve come good in the end.

Everything about this doco lives and breaths the atmosphere of Music in the early 90’s. Besides the music the random excerpts and Interviews by foreign journalists usually yield post-modernist or satirical responses from Thurston and onlookers. I just love the cynicism of it all It’s must see viewing. One question I had after seeing it the first time awhile back was; How the hell is Thurston Moore still alive?

The Intro says it all really; Thurston Moore holding a tape-deck recorder and waxing lyrical into a microphone whilst he and Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon frolic around some old railway tracks high on something good.

Besides it being on youtube, you can actually buy it on VHS I’ve been told. As for that crisp clean DVD version? It’s apparently been completed since 2006 and is in the hands of Universal to release. Oh the fricken Irony!!! Word from Dave Markey is that people should write in to get them to release it, its not in his hands!

Lastly, Check out the tour diary of the film maker Dave Markey right here. It’s great reading!

tytpb

Blender gallery – rockarchive 10th anniversary exhibit

Posted in Music, Oldschool/Classic Things, Photography by jukeboxparables on March 23, 2009

cobainnap

On Saturday I made a date with Paddington’s Blender gallery because they are hosting rockarchive’s collection of UK based limited music related photography spanning many decades. Hung prints included; David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Blondie, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie Sioux and many many more. All of the prints are limited releases available for purchase, ouch did I come close. Particular shots of Cobain and Sioux we’re amongst highlights.

It’s the first time the collection is running in Australia, it being based in the UK, It features dozens of portfolios of some of the worlds best music photographers and runs from Friday 20th March until Tuesday 21st April 2009 you can get all the info at either rockarchives website or the Blender gallery.

I was blown away by more than a few of the shots and more importantly the story behind them. I’ve borrowed the photo above as a means to get you all out there to take a look. If I’m infringing copyright please let me know.

I chose that shot because I absolutely love the story behind it. It was taken by and is the copyright of Ed Sirrs and the story behind it reads; The date was 20 Aug 1991.

“The support band had been ignored by an almost empty house, but the place is suddenly capacity rammed and heaving for headliners Sonic Youth. Four feet away from the side of the little stage, oblivious to the monumental racket, the support band’s singer/guitarist (Kurt Cobain) catches a few zzzs on a narrow wooden bench.”

That’s a moment in time. One of my all time favourite bands Nirvana did indeed tour/support Sonic Youth (another of my favourites) during the explosion of the Seattle sound in the late 80’s early 90’s. This photo of Kurt makes him look like a regular guy taking a nap, a roady perhaps? (though how you could fall asleep during the aural assault that is Sonic Youth, I don’t know) a few months on to a year later Nirvana became the biggest band in the world. 3 years later the combined effects of childhood scoliosis / undiagnosed stomach cramps -> various drug addictions / unrelenting & unwanted international media pressure, perhaps all combined to cause Kurt to commit suicide. But here he’s just a regular guy having a nap.

EDIT:: looky what I found. Yes it’s from the same show!