Jump to content
Hondo's Bar

Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam


Who in your opinion is better?  

15 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

Not an easy choice, both are rediculously good in their own ways. Nirvana clearly took themselves less seriously, which made their music better, but this is no easy choice. Without being shrouded int eh mystique of a lead singers "romantic" death, people often forget how good Pearl Jam is. After grunge died out, PJ just faded out of the spotlight instead of howing out in a blaze of "glory" at their peak.


I wish I could hear Nirvana cover Glorified G. I would say that if Nirvana could do a version of Glorified G that's better than Pearl Jam's original, I'd vote for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love Pearl Jam. A lot of the music I like is because its either different or deep. A lot of what PJ write was deep...and the fact that a lot of their songs seemed to hit home with me. Eddie Vedder has a good voice.


I'm not such a big fan of Nirvana. I don't dislike them, but I never 'got' their music. It definitely has its own flavor but I just don't think it compares.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eh, i liked a few tracks of Pearl Jam, but used to think people clung to Veder (sp?) cause he was like the last bastion of grunge....i cant make it through an entire album since...Vitalogy.


Cant say that bout Nirvana...they garnish the vote on the Unplugged album alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me I have to go with Pearl Jam, although I really love Nirvana. "Ten" is one of my most played cd's and PJ can blow the walls down or jam acoustically any day of the week. I give the edge to Veder over Cobain although he was a legendary lyrical poet... Even though Nirvana's Unplugged was a fantastic live performance, I have to go with these Seattle rockers...





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stranger things have happened at sea Jax.


Coolest story I've heard about Veder is that when PJ played Nottingham Rock City (best UK venue), at some point in the set he jumped off stage, ran through the crowd, jumped into a little cafe area, and started serving hamburgers to the punters. Bizarre.


Best story of Nirvana? Too many to choose - getting kicked out of Nevermind launch party, fight with the bouncer after kurt whacked him over the head with a guitar. It's all good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whacked him over the head with a car? Is that a typo? Maybe it's not. That would confirm my suspicion that Kurt Cobain is really Superman.




In which case, he returned in 4 forms: Daniel Johns of Silverchair as Superboy, Gavin Rossdale of Bush as Man of Steel, Kevin Martin of Candlebox as Cyborg and Vinnie Dombrowski of Sponge as Eradicator. Like the Death and Return of Superman, there were pale imitators.


All the pieces are falling into place. It's all starting to make sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Fact of the matter is, Eddie Vedder got a haircut, took a shower & still takes Sony-exec-cum-rinse mouthwashs on a daily basis. Kurt Cobain ate his gun before he let that happen to him. PJ ran a solid couple've albums back inna day, but these days you couldn't pay me to listen. Shit, why isn't Soundgarden on this poll? it's a Seattle Triumvirate of '94 Grunge, & tho Matt Cameron helped nail into PJ's coffin by taking creative input & Chris Cornell heaves steaming piles all over both the Soundgarden legacy AND RATM, they're still an undeniable part & parcel of the scene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IC, somehow I never would've thought you for a Nirvana fan. I've got all their stuff, my personal favorite album being Bleach. Can't say a bad thing about Pearl Jam, but Nirvana tops them in just about every way. 'Course, the Pixies own both groups many times over, but that's a topic for another thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In all honesty, I've never encountered a person who was into both, but then again, I'm in high school, and musical tastes are generally very divided at that age, I reckon. Myself, I think there's good and bad in all genres, and I listen to literally everything. Believe me, I'm far more disgusted with my own inherent prejudices than you are.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My vote's going for Nirvana. Also my vote for what doesn't kill me only makes my wife richer goes to this. Cobain woulda loved it.


I know I've posted this once or twice before but it could be one of my favorite articles (not) about Nirvana.


The Nanny and the Rock Star

by Ben Weasel

The call came in sometime in the early morning hours. I do not answer my

phone in the early morning hours. The machine does. The caller, chummy enough

with me to know my home number, but yet not enough of a pal to leave his name,

instead left the following message: "I just heard that Jawbreaker is doing a week in the southwest with Nirvana and Mudhoney, so I guess that shoots your theory to shit, doesn't it, pal?"


I got the message in the morning. An hour later I got a call from Pfahler.


"You won't believe what happened," he said.


"You're doing a week with Nirvana and Mudhoney in the southwest," I said,

fairly pleased with myself.


"Jesus," he said. "we only found out yesterday ourselves..."


It isn't too surprising. Jawbreaker's many detractors in the punk scene have

been waiting for something like this and they were already jumping all over everyone in the band.


The tour, however, wasn't just in the southwest. Jawbreaker did six shows with Nirvana and two of them were in Chicago. I was provided with the opportunity to document the backstage goings on at a big time rock show, a chance I couldn't pass up as a tenacious Panic button reporter.


I don't know if it was worth their time or all the shit they had to put up with from the hardline punks, but as for me, well, I'm a reporter damnit, and I go where the story is. Even if I have to dig one up.


We arrive at the Aragon around 3:00 P.M. As we attempt to get into the parking lot reserved for band vehicles, we're stopped by a stereotypical Chicago mook who asks the threatening yet polite sound question, "CAN I HELP YOU?" Chris spends a few minutes conversing with he guy and finally convinces him that we are indeed

authorized to park in the lot. We pull up next to the big tour buses rent by Nirvana.


They have been christened "Wave Dancer" and "Blue Mirage," complete with

cheeseball airbrush paintings on the back that have me wondering if Loretta Lynn might be making a guest appearance tonight. The people from the catering truck and the security pay no attention to us as we file into the building from the alley entrance.


We head for the Jawbreaker dressing room, a drab little white-walled hole. There aren't many people around, save for the occasional security thug and the caterers, who are busy preparing the meal for the night.


I walk out onto the balcony of the dressing room and look down at the few

Nirvana fans who are already camped out outside the club. The ÔL' train rushes by about every ten minutes or so. Kinda boring. I am here to get a scoop. The boys have already warned me that my chances are slim, but I'm certain that my charm and determination will get me SOMETHING to write about. I vow to keep my scoop antennae up throughout the entire debacle.


Bill (Jawbreaker's roadie) suggest that we visit the tour coordinator to get a pass for yours truly and demand extra beer for the evening. We worm our way through a labyrinth of dark walkways back to the office of the man in charge of the tour, Jeff. Jeff

is on the phone so we site down and wait, chatting with Karina, head caterer. Once we have Jeff's attention, Bill and Chris mention my need for a pass (it would be taken care of later), turn in the guest list (which would go through fifty miles of red tape before

reaching the front door; the people running the tour all have laptop computers and walkie talkies. Instead of simply walking the guest list downstairs, they have to put it

into the computer and route it through Dante's Inferno and back before it reaches the grubby hands of the will call people) and mention the fact that another 12 pack would be nice. giving a fatherly grin, Jeff asks, "Do you really need all that beer?" Apparently

this is a reference to the fact that Chris has gotten severely blasted at several of the shows prior to today. Chris assures him that we do indeed need all that beer and Jeff, sighing heavily, says he'll do his best.


Now it's time to explore and Bill, having been at the Aragon for the show two days prior, agrees to show me around. We inspect every corner of the building, constantly discovering neat little things that I'd never noticed in my previous visits to the Aragon.

The stage left balcony for instance, is closed off for people with backstage passes. This is where the caterers prepare the meal and set up the dining table. Later, it will serve as seating for the privileged few with the all-important passes


The stage is set up for Nirvana. Two cheesy mannequins that have been mutated into resembling the figure on the new Nirvana album cover flank the stage. Little bits of shrubbery and such are glued around here and there. The band's amps are covered over with red velvet cloth; set up in front of them are itsy bitsy Marshall practice amps.


What a bunch of funny guys. Bill remarks that so far, not a single audience member has seemed to understand Nirvana's wacky sight gag.


Bill and I head to the floor, where we quickly discover that it has recently been waxed, making it a perfect little skating rink. We skate around for a while (and of course,

nobody bugs us; when you BELONG in a joint like this, you can get away with just about anything).


As I glide toward the stage, I hear Blake yell my name from the balcony and at the same time, a small rectangular box hits the floor next to me. A-ha! It's my Kools. One of

the perks, you see, of being on a big tour like this is that before the show, a gopher will run and get the bands and crew certain necessities, like aspirin, moist towelettes or butts. For me it's free Kools. It's already been worth my while to show up. Our ears are suddenly assaulted by a deafening blast of white noise from the stage monitors.


Apparently this is how professional sound people test their gear. It's horrifying, but nowhere near as bas as the gigantic Scot with a mohawk and three square miles of tattoos who then proceeds to test Cobain's amp by playing the riff from godzilla (read:

Smells Like Teen Spirit) complete with very metal solos. I wonder if the massive mohican knows all the solos from Purple Rain; practically the entire crew (90% Scottish) worked on the last Prince tour...


I go back to my skating competition with Bill and literally just about run into a kid who has come in from the side entrance. He introduces himself as the guy who used to be in the Lonely Trojans, a college pop punk band from downstate. He snuck in to get an

interview with Mudhoney. Mudhoney, unfortunately, is not around. He follows us around for a while and then loses interest and goes back outside, asking us to make sure to try to get him in when the fabled Mudhoney shows up. Hearing the tail end of his plea, Adam remarks, "Fuck that." Um, ok.


Back in the dressing room, I am handed my pass. It's a laminated doohinkey with a photo of a man dressed in lingerie lying in a bathtub, the word "PRINCESS" scrawled across his belly. At the bottom, it says ""VIP". I am told that this pass is second only to the all-access passes that the bands and crew get and one or two steps above the passes that friends and relatives get. Theoretically, I can go anywhere backstage except for Nirvana's dressing room. I place the pass around my neck, determined to exploit my first and probably last backstage pass for as long as I can.


We are told that dinner is ready. We sit down at the end of the long table on the balcony and are given a variety of choices for a main course,including, according to Johnny (one of the caterers), "Eggplant, artichoke hearts, red onions and parmesan, lamb chops with baby onions, mushrooms and mint pesto, roast turkey with mustard

sauce, salmon with roast pepper salsa and a pumpkin herb Swiss cheese goulet." I don't know what that last one is and neither does Johnny. In addition to all this, there are salads, cheese and crackers, various breads, pastries and cookies and a variety of

sodas, bottled waters and Gatorade. I ask Karina if the salmon has bones.


"I already told you it's a filet," she exclaims in her thick Scottish accent.


"A what??"


"A filet!"


She looks at me as if I may be a bit retarded. I'm utterly confused. Blake jumps in.


"Ben, she means Ôfillay'," he says, pronouncing it correctly instead of phonetically. Now I get it. I ask from whence the fish came. Karina is getting frustrated.


"I don't know," she says between clenched teeth. "Would you like to know which waters it swam in?"


Johnny tells me it's Alaskan. Karina peers at me as if deciding whether or not to clobber me over the head.


The meal is excellent of course, mispronunciations and thinly veiled hostility notwithstanding.


Mudhoney finally shows up and Bill tells them that there's someone outside who wants to interview them. One of them looks out the dressing room window and says, laughing. "I don't know him". He walks away. But not far enough away. The band member and his tour manager have staked out the Jawbreaker dressing room, talking loudly about stupid shit. Tape recorder in hand, I approach them.


"You guys are from Seattle, huh," I say brightly.


Mr. Mudhoney gets all serious like I'm doing some sort of important interview.


"Yeah," he answers.


"What did you think of the Mariners this year?"


Mr. M ponders this one for a moment.


"Y'know, the Mariners, baseball...Are you a fan?"


"Uh, no, not really. I saw Gayford Perry's 300th win. And I saw one game this year. Griffey hit a home run but I missed it 'cause I was walking around."


"What about the Seahawks?" I ask, grinning like an escaped lunatic.


"I don't follow football too much. I heard they're doing ok this year."


Now I'm wondering why the hell the poor guy downstairs even wanted to interview these chumps. I sit back down as the manager starts blabbering about his father who was a mountain climber or some stupid shit. I am not impressed. What the fuck kind of

sport is mountain climbing? Seeing that I've turned off the recorder, the two imbeciles resume their inane conversation, talking way too loud as they've already consumed a few beers. Why the hell they don't go next door to their own dressing room is a mystery

to me, until I peek down the hallway and see that every scumbag leech in the history of the Chicago music inside is already next door hobnobbing with the other knobs that comprise Mudhoney.


Sitting back down in the chair, I ponder the fact that Jawbreaker doesn't seem too keen on these geeks being in their dressing room. In fact, they'd told me earlier that the other night they walked into their room to find Mudhoney huffing away on pot. What

a wonderful sight that must've been.


I lean forward in my chair about and say loudly, "I'M FROM CALIFORNIA!"


The conversation stops for a second and they look at me blankly.








They leave the room. Mission accomplished.


The crowd is filing in. I go over to the balcony and glance down at them. Not a pretty sight. I start to get slightly queasy thinking about the fact that there will soon be over five thousand people packed inside this venue. I go back to the dressing room and being a game of cribbage with Chris (always thinking ahead, I'd brought my board along). After giving him a sound thrashing, I retire to the toilet where I take dump whilst pursuing the cheesy cowboy outlaw book that Blake picked up somewhere out west. I also chew down a Xanax; there's only about 30 minutes until Jawbreaker hits the stage and what started out (I thought) as a joke has turned into a reality--I am to

introduce Jawbreaker tonight.


To get myself up for it, I pull out my little tape recorder and begin to make idiotic notes to myself, occasionally interviewing anyone who comes my way. I walk out onto the

side balcony and look at the people waiting for the 'L'. Another crew member stands out there alone. I approach him, tape running.


"How does the crowd look tonight?" I ask, thrusting the recorder in his face. "Ugly?"


"Oh yea, very," he says. "They haven't improved.


"Do they frighten you as they frighten me?"


He gives a nervous laugh. "They terrify me."


I'm out of questions, but I've never let that stop me before.


"Do you ever worry that England will declare war on you?"


"No," he says thoughtfully. "They know what most of the income in the U.K. comes from Scotland. They'd never do that."


I'm a bit dejected. No dirt, no scoops, no nothing.


I head downstairs to the stage, where Bill is putting out the set lists. The crowd is cheering him. I walk onstage to ask him if I have time to hand out some Panic Buttons.


He tells me I have fifteen minutes. I go back upstairs (after flashing my nifty pass at the security guards), grab the fanzines and go back out to the crowd. I have 100 copies with me. They're gone in about three minutes. One girl doesn't seem to want to take a



"What is it?" she asks suspiciously.


"It's a fanzine."




"Punk rock."


Plenty of vacancies in this motel.




"Awesome!" she says, grabbing for it.


Looking around, it hits me that the room is almost filled to capacity. I finish handing out the fanzines as little waves of dizziness hit me every few seconds. I start to head for the

stairs and the safety of the dressing room when I run into Vapid and Mary who are standing around sipping beers, unable to get upstairs due to the status of their passes.


The security squad has informed them that they'll be allowed behind the lines IF accompanied by someone with a higher level pass and only AFTER the dinner table has been cleared. Wouldn't want 'em eating that dumpster-bound food would we?


I'm having a nice little chat with them when a security guard lumbers over; he's spotted my tape recorder.


"Can I help you?" he asks.


"No," I say, smiling like crazy.


"I'll need to take that," he replies, smiling back. "I'll put it in the office and you can get it after the show."


I go into a long explanation about the recorder, lying my ass off about being a member of the press and having special permission from Jeff to carry the thing around. I know these mooks. They don't have the balls to go to Jeff with such petty shit. The mook goes over to the bottom of the stairs and consults a female security guard. They both walk back toward me, determination etched in their previously blank faces. Just as I'm about to receive a tongue lashing, I get bumped by a passer by. My jacked slides open a little further, revealing my VIP pass. Their expressions immediately change.


"You're ok, I didn't see that," says my friend the security guard, pointing at my pass.


"I'm just doing my job y'know."


Yeah, I know.


I amble back toward the stairs, flash my pass and am halfway up when I spot a snotty looking collegiate-hippie type. I flip the recorder on.


"Excuse me," I say, making sure my pass is showing. "I'm doing aninterview for Rolling Stone. Why are you here?"


The college boy looks at me blankly. I grab the pass and waggle it around furiously.


"Whattya think this is, buddy? Ya think they just GIVE these out??? WHO ARE YOU HERE TO SEE???"


My mock indignation has fanned whatever small flame of wit flickers inside his puny brain.


"I'm here to see both Mudhoney AND Nirvana."


"What about Jawbreaker?"


"I've never heard of them."


"Oh," I say, successfully concealing my disgust.


"You're in for a treat."


Hippie boy moves on, but a gaggle of teenaged boys who look like they just smoked their first joint has overheard. One of them asks how much I had to pay for my pass.


"I DID NOT PAY FOR THIS!" I say into the recorder. "I AM PAID TO DO THIS!!!"


"Oh," he says.


"I'm with Hit Parader magazine," I say, calming down a bit.


Seeing that the recorder is going, he uses this chance to express his individuality.


"My name is Chris and, uh, therefore I am."




His buddy jumps in. "Hi, I'm Justin and all your music's great, 'cause....I'm one of your

biggest fans."


"What music is that?"


"Uh, Nirvana..."




"If there wasn't us," he continues, "There would be no you."


Hoo boy.


"That's true," I say agreeably. "You know, I think you boys have a lot of potential."


Their third pal, who's been standing back, suddenly grows balls.




Good god! How to respond?


"Oh yeah," I say firmly. "Censorship does suck."


"Fuck censorship," he says, this time more quietly, as if pouting over the unfair fact that mom's just grounded him for a week.


"Damn right. FUCK CENSORSHIP!!!"


The boys cheer and I move on, impressed with the possibilities for our nation's future.


I hop onto the stage to ask how much time I have before my introduction.


Bill informs me that I have to do it NOW. Oh shit. I have no idea what I'm going to say. I have to say something besides, "Here's Jawbreaker." I am not a spoken word artist. I am not much

of an ad libber. I wish that my bowels didn't feel like they'd just crumbled into a wet mush.


Jawbreaker is ready to go. They look at me.


I walk over to the center stage mike and am immediately greeted by the room-shaking roar of an impatient five thousand headed monster. I'm aware of a vague nagging feeling that the recorder is running inside my zipped jacket pocket.


"Good evening."




"You don't even know who I am!"




"Let me introduce to you a fine young trio from San Francisco."




"They've worked hard for years and years..."




"Didn't your mother ever teach you any manners?" I say, looking straight at him. He laughs. The massive beast rears its ugly head yet again.


"These young men play punk rock, a concept most of you are unfamiliar with."




"They've slept with dogs. They've slogged through shit. They've gone through hell just to come here and entertain you at eighteen dollars a head."




"All I can say is..."




I speak the first three words that pop into my befuddled head.


"Christ, you're stupid."


Jawbreaker kicks in and I hide behind Blake's amp with Bill. I'm actually trembling.


Back in the dressing room I ask Vapid to rate my introduction on a scale of 1 to 10.


Before he can answer, Chris pipes up.


"You called them stupid punks."


"No I didn't. I said THIS is punk and I told 'em they were stupid for paying eighteen bucks a head."


"You said punk is stupid," says Bill.


"I thought it was great," says Vapid. "I give it an eight."


"Well," Adam says dryly, "if you had said the band's name you might've gained a couple more points..."


A young long haired guy wearing a mutation of a Black Flag t-shirt walks in carrying The Baby, the infamous product of Cobain's loins. He's the nanny. Wait! It's the guy on the VIP pass! I sense a potential scoop. He's quite friendly and I discover that he's

familiar with my band and my writing.


He seems comfortably enough. I ask him how he got the job.


"I got the offer and turned it down," he says. "Then three months later I still didn't have any money so I just called 'em back and said ok."


"What qualified you for this position?"


"I'm trusted...," he stops for a moment while the baby lets out a particularly piercing scream. "I'm trusted in that camp. I have no baby experience. I turned twenty the day I

started doing this."


"How old are you??"




Pat Smear, ex-Germ and current Nirvana rhythm guitarist, has entered with a Heineken in his hand. He makes himself at home, joking with everyone in the room.


He's an instant hit--a zany punker with a knack for the snappy comeback. I think I may be onto something here. I approach the matter delicately.


"How did Pat get on the tour?" I ask the Nanny.


"I was playing the Australian bootleg, what is that on, Ghost of Darb Records? And he shouted it out. PAT I'll call Pat!"


"Come on. Did you get him on the tour?"


The nanny answers very quietly.




I've realized that things aren't going to get any better for me than they are at this point. I have my scoop .THE NANNY IS RUNNING THE SHOW. The nanny leaves the baby with Pat while he goes out to the balcony to catch up on old times and Bay Area

happenings with Blake. Pat and I banter back and forth as he attempts to hang onto both a baby and his Heineken. He's an unpretentious sorta guy, quick witted and very out of place on this tour. He jokingly complains that there are no M&M's in the Nirvana dressing room. Bill and I quietly hatch a quick plan to give him all the fucking M&M's

he wants at an appropriate time.


"Are you a permanent member of the band?" I ask politely.


"I don't know," he says. "It's never been discussed."


I can't tell if he's kidding or not. I mean, he is living with the Cobain family in Seattle.


It never came up??? Whatever. He undoubtedly brings a punk rock credibility to the tour. He insists that no one in the crowd knows who he is. They probably don't, but the

critics sure do.


When the nanny comes back I inform him of my angle. He seems to get a kick out of it.


Pat remarks that the nanny is the sole reason Jawbreaker's on the tour. I ask if this is true. He hesitates for a few moments. Finally he speaks.




More punk rock credibility, and it's all engineered quite innocently by a punk rock kid who's not even old enough to legally drink a beer.


My theory confirmed, I'm basically satisfied, though I'd sure like to get a peek into Nirvana's dressing room. The nanny is more than happy to help me out, and a large crowd follows him through the corridors to the dressing room. I head over to Smear, who's sitting on a window ledge. While we politely insult each other, unbeknownst to me, those members of our group with the less-important passes are asked by a security guard, "Can I help you?" and quickly ushered out.


There isn't too much happening in the Nirvana dressing room. A huge bowl of fruit and a nice selection of sodas and bottled waters sit on the bar. The proprietors of Shangri-La in my old neighborhood, Roscoe Village, sit alone on one of the white leather couches that looks to have been jacked from Graceland. They must know somebody

or they would have been kicked out by now.


I head into the bathroom to take a whizz. It's big, and unlike the communal public-style bathroom that Jawbreaker, Mudhoney and the crew share, it has a fairly clean, modern

shower. But the toilet is lopsided and cracked and it looks like the room hasn't been cleaned in a year. I realize that despite the enormity of this even, it still ain't Poplar



When I come back into the room, I catch a glimpse of Nirvana's drummer heading out the door. The Nirvana bassist, Chris, is talking with Smear. I approach them with a copy of Panic Button, which Smear has already refused to look at, citing an aversion to

"corporate bullshit." Smear, apparently, is always on.


Chris leafs through my mag and comments on the nice layout.


"I'm sick of photocopied zines," he says. "Everybody's doing it."


He asks for a copy to read and introduces himself. At the same moment, Cobain enters the room and stares me down for a second. I get the distinct feeling that he knows who I am and a slight shudder passes through me as I envision myself being beaten in an

alley by members of the JAM security staff.


I break eye contact and concentrate on Chris, pointing out the fact that although he's only three years older than me, he makes about 75 times as much money. I may have hit a slight sore spot.


"Can we have a big discussion on materialism and the accumulation of wealth?" he says sarcastically. "It's all part of this consumer society..."


I hand him the recorder so he can continue his diatribe.


"I think the system here, this transaction-based, capitalist type market economy..."


I break in.


"You gonna be playing the hits tonight, like Jeremy?"


He gives me back the recorder and Smear fields the question.


"Oh yeah," he says, "all the hits. Jeremy, Even Flow..."


The baby has been waddling around the dressing room and now Cobain picks her up and takes her toward the window, about three stories up. He pretends to toss her out the window while singing loudly, "Would you knowow my na-a-ame..."


I interrupt.


"Hi, I'm Ben."


"Hi Ben."


"I'm just looking for a scoop."


"A scoo-oop."


Smear intervenes again. "You're barking up the wrong tree," he says.


I'm fully aware that there's a slightly paranoid attitude toward the press in the Nirvana camp these days. Earlier in the week, someone from USA Today had written something nasty about the band and was flatly denied entrance to the show. Tonight it was rumored that absolutely no press people were to be allowed backstage.


Obviously, no one was taking me very seriously as a press man because I wasn't once questioned by the Nirvana entourage about my recorder, which by this point I was directing at people like a machine gun.


The baby reaches out for the recorder and Cobain encourages her.


"Throw it out the window," he says in his best talking-to-baby voice.


Cobain looks and speaks as if he's wacked out on smack. Having been in the

presence of at least a few junkies in my life, I try to size up the situation and come up blank. I can't figure out if it's an act or not. The greasy hair, the 9 day growth, the putrid sweater he's wearing, the Jeff Spicoli vocal inflections...


He puts the baby down and gives me his full attention.


"Ben," he says. "Ben Weasel." He sounds as if he's greeting a long lost friend.


I'm kinda sweating now.


"Mmmmm, no," I say. "Well, yeah, yes."


"Katie Smellie. Katy Odell."


"Are you an avid reader of Maximum Rock-N-Roll?" I ask.


"Avid," he answers. "The word avid."


"Do you read it a lot?"


"I used to." Now it appears he's gonna take me somewhat seriously. "Y'know, I kinda

forgot it existed for a long time but every once in a while, yeah, I look through it."


"Do you like it?"


"I think...ummmm...I'm really happy about the fact that it will decompose within about ten years."


"I make some comment about that very scenario being Yohannan's apparent goal, seeing as ho he doesn't ever save the originals for any of the issues.

Cobain is now getting a little worked up.


"I can't have a comment on Maximum-Rock-N-Roll, fuck that. I mean, those people hate our guts. I would hate our guts too if I was a fifteen year old kid who only listened to...or who only read Maximum Rock-N-Roll and only listened to punk rock bands."


"Were you ever that?"




"And you felt that way?"


"Exactly. I was just as closed minded as those people."


I consider enlightening him about the fact that almost half of the staff at MRR was writing about how great Nirvana was when "Nevermind" came out, but I realize that like so many other stars, this guy only reads the bad press. And I'm kinda shocked that he has such an obvious dislike for a magazine which in his world, doesn't mean shit.


Somehow, someway, MRR's validation of his efforts (or lack thereof) matters. This amazes me.


The bass player interrupts our little session by informing the band that they have to go onstage.


We leave the dressing room and I reflect on Cobain's statements. The whole thing strikes me as being a little odd.


I've been told that the smack problems that he and his wife have had were made public knowledge by one of his own publicity people (in fact, supposedly by the same guy who used to work with Yohannana on MRR radio back in the old days). I ponder his appearance and style of speaking, and still have trouble deciding whether he's a perpetually stoned, developmentally arrested rock star or a fuck up like the rest of us

who's scared to death of all the hype and publicity surrounding his band.


It's obviously all thrown the guy into another world. His bandmates appear to be comfortable and at peace with their situation; Cobain is still begging the teacher for another five minutes

to finish the test. He seems insecure as hell.


Just before Bill and I enter at stage right, we witness a shirtless kid, obviously fucked up out of his mind, being tossed out by the bouncers. Nirvana is still in the middle of

their first song. The kid's pleading with them to let him stay. He pulls out a wad of bills and starts counting, "20, 40, 60, 80, 100." The security guys are chuckling. They take

his money and he's allowed back in.


When Bill and I hit the stage, we immediately grab the M&M's from our pockets and begin whipping them at Smear, who plays along by attempting to catch them in his mouth while at the same time cranking out the hit single from the new Nirvana album.


Kurt Cobain is in another world. The rest of the band is jamming, occasionally smiling, having a good time. Not once during my observations from the side of the stage do I

see Cobain make eye contact with his bandmates, let alone acknowledge their

presence. The band is tight, but there are long, uncomfortable spaces between songs.


Cobain is taking his sweet time, often heading over to the rack of over a dozen custom made left-handed guitars to change instruments. The bassist tries to make some wisecracks to the crowd and Kurt is not pleased. The crowd is oblivious; the band could do Dead Milkmen covers at this point and no one would notice.


Bill and I decide to bail out from our stage right position after a few songs; nothing's happening here and very time they start a new tune I could swear it was the one they just played. As we turn to leave the stage, two kids run up the ramp and barrel past us,

diving into the crowd from the stage just like they've seen on MTV. When Bill and I open the backstage doors, we see that the offending stagedivers are in the clutches of two huge JAM security men who are quite close to beating the living shit out of them;

one of the kids landed on a fellow security man's head.


When the JAM guys see us, they turn, prepared to boot us as well. Once they see the passes, they attempt to bring us into their nasty little circle. They're both shouting a lecture-style denouncement of stage diving at the kids, pointing out the possible

damage they could cause to people. They occasionally look at us as if we're supposed to nod in agreement. We're both silent, simply watching out to make sure the kids don't end up in the hospital. Finally, the offended security guard walks in and is asked if he wants to press charges.


"Goddamn right," he answers.


The kids, enjoying the effects of some type of drug or another, seem to have little idea of what's going on, and as they're lead back through the crowd to be handed over to the cops, I get the feeling that they think they're being let back into the show.


At the end of Nirvana's set, the crowd is pissed off. Their heroes have refused to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Cobain reacts by diving off the stage into the crowd and promptly loses his shoes. No security guards threaten to have him arrested.


As the crowd piles onto the street, Bill and Blake stand in front of the club hawking t-shirts and CD's; to sell them inside the club would've meant that everything would've been priced at an obscene level. A cop attempts to harass Blake about selling the shirts. Blake waves him off and tells him he's in the band.


"Ok," says the cop. "But don't be a smart ass with me. I can still haul you in to jail."


The t-shirts are going like crazy. I get the feeling that these cretins would buy fresh dogshit if there was a nice sign on it. From deep in the crowd, I hear a loud scream. I can't make out the words. I hear it again, this time closer and clear as a bell.




I hope he's talking about murder.


Before we head back home, Bill and Vapid plaster a couple of Screeching Weasel stickers on the back of the Wave Dancer and the Blue Mirage. The evening has been a success.


A few days later, Jim DeRogatis from the Sun-Times informs me that Cobain's junkie appearance that night was probably due to the fact that he had taken a sleeping pill earlier in the day. Still, I'm not surprised when, two months later, I see him on MTV Unplugged wearing the same ratty sweater, sporting the same greasy hair and 9 days growth and looking slightly spacey. Smear is still with the band, quiet and unobtrusive off to the left of the stage.


That Friday, my band plays Janesville, Wisconsin. The promoter had attended the Milwaukee Nirvana show that took place the night after their Chicago gig. He met up with Blake, who gave him a present to pass on to me. The promoter hands me a pack of Kools. Written on them in black marker is a message from Blake: SMOKE 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM. Yes.



Shit, why isn't Soundgarden on this poll?


I call for the addition of The Fastbacks and Supersuckers too. Seattle was kinda cool. The flannel shirt thing was cock and balls though...if it ain't cold...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

there is No contest here whatsoever.......


Pearl jam win easily, you can actually make out what eddie says in his songs..... whats more.. nirvana are Not grunge... theyre over glorified rock crap and only made it famous with a simple song "four chords" that came out at the right time.... that makes them lucky, not talented.... because of kurt, a band i love "scream" split up.... grunge is not 4 powerchord progressions with lyrics as clear as mud.... if i wanted to hear that id listen to status quo...


as for either bands image... who gives a shit... image is nothing when it comes to talent.... only good thing about nirvana was you know your right (their last song) and the foo fighters....


millions disagree with me... but in the case of elvis... millions Can be wrong

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...