30 January, 2010

I need an easy friend

The best gift I am likely to have ever received in the history of forever was the recent re-released double-LP 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana "Bleach".

Like just about everyone I know, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the first Nirvana song I had ever heard back in 1991. The record store was sold out of copies of "Nevermind", so I settled for the other record by the band that was available at the time, "Bleach".

By the time I brought it home and listened to it on repeat ten times I discovered that my sneaky little sister had managed to get a copy of "Nevermind" on cassette. We listened to that until the tape wore out, but I grew to realize that "Bleach" was ultimately the better of the two albums.

By 1992 me and everyone I knew were in full blown Nirvana craze.

It wasn't until much later in my life that I began to realize the profound impact the album made on my life. It led, first and foremost, to buying more Nirvana albums. That led to an appreciation of song-craft, the Vaselines, Meat Puppets, Tad, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins, the Pixies and the Jesus Lizard in high school. Later still, it laid the groundwork for transitioning out of being an Industrial/Goth scenester where Neil Young, Built To Spill and Elliott Smith supplanted Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails and Front Line Assembly.

"About A Girl" was the first song I ever learned to play, on a Epiphone strat with a tremelo that I traded some kid in high school a quarter ounce of weed for. Cherry red, with tuning locks. I lent the guitar to my friend Shannon Fortune, where it and the van that contained it were impounded by the Cleveland Heights Police. Having an arrest warrant against me, I never attempted to claim it. Who knows where it is now, I hope CHPD made more than the $40 investment I had made on it.

Recorded for just over $600, "Bleach" remains one of the most raw, honest and rockingest albums of all time.

Listening to it again today brings back a flood of memories.

We miss you, Kurdt.