Monday, September 14th, 2009 | musiX
Of all Kurdt Kobain‘s issues—the self-loathing, the heroin addiction … those unhealthy obsessions with Frances Farmer and The Vaselines—the thing that perplexes me most to this day is how he ended up with Courtney Love.
I bring this up in light of Love’s most recent attempt (and certainly not the last) to make a buck off her deceased husband’s name in what is probably the last thing Kobain would ever want to be associated with—a video game. Guitar Hero 5 was just released, and with it a digitized version of Kobain sporting his ratty cardigan and Daniel Johnston T-shirt performing two of Nirvana’s hits “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Lithium.” Creepy enough. But you can also toggle Kobain’s likeness (whose face sort of resembles a young Stephen Baldwin) to strike B-Boy poses along to Public Enemy‘s “Bring The Noise,” or perform (guitarless) songs by Bon Jovi, Billy Idol and—of all bands—Bush. Geez, might as well throw him into a pair of assless chaps while performing a Guns N’ Roses song (Maybe “One In a Million”?). Of course, Love is now denying she gave the game’s publisher Activision permission to use Kobain’s image and is threatening to sue. Kobain, meanwhile, is looking at all of this probably wondering, “What the fuck was I thinking?”
But I’m here to talk about happy things. Sub Pop is set to release a remastered reissue of Nirvana’s Bleach—you know, their first record … most people don’t own it. It’s been 20 years (to put it into perspective, Bleach came out the same year Milli Vanilli released Girl You Know It’s True). I am We are old.
If In Utero is Nirvana’s best album, Bleach is the most compelling and raw, taking the extremes of punk rock, pop and even metal (double-bass on “School” and “Scoff”!). It’s a rather unsettling and ugly record where melodies miraculously emerge from beneath an unruly tangle of riffs and feedback. Kobain’s vocals are more often slurred than sung, and lyrically he was at his most esoteric (even for him) and wrote a lot of the lyrics the day before recording. With Jack Endino manning the board, the album’s 13 songs were recorded over the course of 30 hours for about 600 bucks.
The Sub Pop reissue, which was overseen by Endino and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, will be released Nov. 3. The first run will come on white vinyl (like the original) and will include an unreleased live recording from 1990 of a performance at Portland’s Pine Street Theatre.
It’s interesting to think that when Bleach was released on June 15, 1989, the members of Nirvana were just a bunch of young punks in their early-20s probably wondering if the band would even make it three years—let alone change the world. Am I naive to think I will never see the day when Kurdt Kobain’s face is plastered on a lunchbox, or “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle” appears in a Chevy commercial? At least I can sleep soundly knowing that Love, in fact, has got everything to do with it.
“Blew” – Nirvana
“Love Buzz” – Nirvana