Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4.8.14 "Her-otch" of the Day: Kurt Cobain

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on Chuck69.com.




Name: Kurt Cobain
Age: was 27 at the time of his passing
Occupation: lead singer, guitarist of Nirvana
Last Seen: Seattle, WA
Awarded For: being the voice of a lost generation
Bee-otched For: being a junkie who shot himself in the head
OK, so some of you are asking, "what's a "Her-otch"?

Sometimes, I hand out the "Bee-otch of the Day" to those who are life's scum. However, when somebody does something nice, I'll give that person the "Hero of the Day".

But in the case of Kurt Cobain, he has a "Her-otch".

It was 20 years ago today that I was in my bedroom when my father, watching the news, told me to come into the living room. The NBC Nightly News was on the tail end of a story about Kurt Cobain. The piece ended, Tom Brokaw said his goodnight and The Mission played. My father then told me, "he's dead".

Dad then told me that Kurt took a shotgun and blasted his brains out. A shocked 12-year-old self was trying to digest everything. I remembered his drug overdose a few months previous and I heard that he had been seeking help. But to die at 27 was something to be shocked about.

As a late-end Gen-Xer, Kurt spoke for my generation. A young, talented-but-troubled poet who wrote songs about how troubled his life was. His childhood was loving and happy but when his parents divorced when he was seven, he became withdrawn from life. He didn't get along with either of his new stepparents and ended up being a failure in school. He dropped out and was even homeless, living on the muddy banks of the Wishkah River.

But it was rock 'n roll that saved him, forming his first band, Fecal Matter in 1985. However, his most-famous band, Nirvana was formed with high school friend Krist Novoselic two years later. Their first major release, Bleach came out in 1989, but it was their 1991 triumph Nevermind that broke Nirvana into the mainstream.

When "Smells Like Teen Spirit" hit the airwaves that year, some rock stations were skeptical about Nirvana and their grunge sound. But, it worked. 'SLTS' was a top 10 hit and became a 1990's rock standard. Kurt, Krist and Dave Grohl had helped kill the schlocky hair metal phenomenon of the 1980's and helped to defy the music of the 1990s.

The band's final album, In Utero was released in 1993 and was a lot darker than their previous two efforts with haunting tracks such as "Heart-Shaped Box", "Rape Me" and the album's final track "All Apologies". The group also made a memorable appearance on MTV Unplugged performing some of their hits, plus a cover of Leadbelly's "In the Pines" - aka "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" - that many felt was Kurt's swan song.

Over time, Kurt battled issues with drugs and a troubled marriage with Hole frontwoman Courtney Love. When the two sired daughter Frances Bean in 1992, the two worked feverishly to hide their heroin problems to maintain custody of her. Many felt that it was in part due to their heroin problems that Kurt felt ill and depressed.

Although Kurt's body was discovered on this date 20 years ago, experts believed that he died three days prior on April 5th. Nonetheless, the world became shocked and stunned that the voice of the flagship of Generation X was silenced due to personal issues he couldn't control.

Therefore, Kurt is a "Her-otch": he's a hero for being a great singer and songwriter who helped save rock 'n roll, but a Bee-otch for being a junkie who killed himself. Sadly, my mother has a friend who worked in the record industry for years and met Cobain. He told him to piss off. According to him, he was one of the worst artists he ever met. He stunk from not showering and had track marks on his arms from heroin abuse.

When Kurt died, I felt that music changed and so did the industry. Twenty years ago, your local top 40 station had no problem adding rock hits to their charts. Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam all had hits on the charts. But then came the Spice Girls, the Backstreet Boys, 'NSync, American Idol, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and any other auto-tuned pop tart whose main mission it seems is to destroy good music as we know it.

But thankfully, Kurt left his mark and it was a big one. Too bad some joke that his last hit was "The Floor".

Got a Bee-otch to nominate? E-mail us @ chuck69dotcom@gmail.com. All suggestions (except for me) are welcome!

Bee-otch of the Day Archives can be seen on http://beeotchoftheday.blogspot.com!

Bee-otch of the Day is a production of Chuck69.com, Grand Rapids' site for Stern, politics and more!

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