Thursday, October 31, 2002

From The Brain of The Giant Head

You Know You’re Right, It Smells Like Teen Spirit

Many of you who know me know I’m a punk rock fan. While I put the chain wallet to rest many moons ago, I still head-bob and knock things over with the best of them. In fact, I still have bruises on my tailbone from crowd surfing back in the late 90s and, earlier this year, the Authority Guru and I got back out on the mosh-pit floor to show the youngsters that we still had it. And when they beat our out-of-shape bodies senseless, we did what any self-respecting adult punk rockers would do. We waved our beers in our over-21-stamped hands in their faces and laughed.

My obsession with punk has led me to follow the Nirvana legacy very closely. I was one of the biggest Nirvana fans back when corduroy pants and flannel shirts were making their way to local mini-malls. (I’d like to thank my Grandpa Klems for letting me steal some of his clothes. My Grandma always said ‘He’s never changes the way he dresses, yet he goes in and out of style every 10 years.’) The "grunge phenomenon" started. And it was started by a punk-rock trio from the city where it always rains but the people have tons of energy -- Starbucks, Washington.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news about frontman Kurt Cobain’s suicide. I was helping my Dad build our new computer desk, and by ‘helping him build’ I mean getting the tools from the garage and cleaning the sweat off his forehead with my sleeve. It was a devastating day for me and for my sleeve. The voice of my generation was gone. My Dad comforted me with the wisdom only a father can give.

"Son, I dropped a screw in the carpet. Find it."

It’s been more than eight years since My Generation’s voice took his life, but two years ago rumors started flying about an unreleased Nirvana song that had been hidden in a vault no one could find. Lucky for us, the vault was made out of cheese and drummer Dave Grohl’s dog found the final recording by Nirvana.

The remaining band members were working out plans to release the song as part of a greatest hits CD, which was supposed to be released in February, 2001, the 10-year anniversary of Billboards’ number 1 ranking of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Everything was going well until Her Beastliness got in the way.

Courtney "I need to fire whoever does my make-up" Love sued the band members to keep them from releasing the greatest hits album and the new song. As Cobain’s widow, she had a one-third equal right in the band’s decision-making including release dates, song track order and pizza toppings. An agreement was reached last month by Love and the surviving Nirvana bandmates. When asked how they reached a settlement Love responded, "Money, more money and extra anchovies."

So this week, the Nirvana Greatest Hits album was released, featuring the unreleased Nirvana song, "You Know You’re Right," along with a new song from the remaining members called, "Courtney Love Can Suck It." As a partner, though, Love will receive one-third of the profits from the album. While that settlement is all water under the bridge for Nirvana, a new lawsuit has been issued from Love’s former band, HOLE, as they are pissed that Nirvana stole the title and lyrics of "Courtney Love Can Suck It".

Radio airplay has been heavy for the previously unreleased tune "You Know You’re Right," with the song shooting straight up the charts. It brings back the feeling we had as youthful teenagers, children of the Baby Boom generation, that needed an escape from hair bands and cheesy pop music. And now, faced with almost the same problem, Nirvana is giving us the same escape.

The song, which mixes deep bass rhythms with the scratchy guitar licks of the grunge masters, features an angry Cobain screaming "Pain" in the background of the song. Was he talking about his own emotional pain? Was he talking about his own physical pain? Was he talking about the pain of waking up to Courtney Love’s ugly face every morning?

I have my guess and I bet you have yours.

And You Know You’re Right.