It was December of 1991 and I was on my holiday break with my family, visiting my grandparents in Lewes, Delaware. I was watching the video countdown on MTV. I was semi-interested and semi-bored to tears. Whatever flavor-of-the-week VJ casually mentioned that a band from Seattle was making waves with their new song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” And then the video came on. It smacked me in the face, deflowered my eardrums, and etched itself in my fifteen-year-old brain forever. I got it. All of it. The angst, the alienation, the do-it-yourself/fuck-the-world band esthetic. Nirvana shook me from a waking apathy cocoon that I had no idea that I had been trapped inside. Music for me was never quite the same after that.
Cut to last week as I was browsing my email. I received an announcement from Rolling Stone about the 2014 nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nirvana was on that list. I was gobsmacked. Then I remembered that their first album, Bleach, had been released in 1989. That meant that 2014 would indeed be twenty-five years later. They were eligible. That meant that all the new bands that I discovered in high school would soon be as well. Getting older is a motherf*#er. “Hello, darkness, my old friend,” I muttered aloud. I was aware of indie movie icons like Bruce Campbell hawking Old Spice to snag the aging Gen-X demographic. But Nirvana categorized as a classic rock band? Say it ain’t so! But alas, it is so. My interest in the band waned greatly even before Cobain’s suicide, but I never forgot their impact. I think even he knew things were changing. One of my favorite lines of his was “Teenage angst has served me well.” We all eventually outgrow our angry young teenager phase. But that doesn’t mean we lose touch with the music that got us through it. //Eric Lawson
Come As You Were