That summer was my own personal season in Hell. I’d just finished my freshman year of college and found myself back in my hometown not for another summer hurrah, but working third-shift at a soap factory while my friends were playing lifeguard at the local pools or hustling ice cream to suburban moms. To top it off my girlfriend had just dumped me…again.
The first time could be forgiven since we’d never broached the subject of exclusivity. I guess that was because I assumed she was as enamored with me as I was with her and simply couldn’t contemplate another person in the mix. I was wrong.
I first found out about it at a bonfire party out by the gravel pits on the outskirts of town. Someone had a boombox that was blaring “Life is a Highway” while the Coors Light and wine coolers took hold. Some people tried to feign horror that such a song would even get air-time but the truth was that song and so many others like it were the life blood of the radio dials. It was awful, yes, but it also held a supreme position on the soundtrack of that summer despite not even being a new song. It was inescapable.
It seems silly now, ludicrous even, but at the time I swear it was not only plausible…it almost worked.
In December 1991 I flew to the UK to meet up with Jake, who was on foreign study in Aberdeen, Scotland. It was my first solo foray out of the country and the realization of a lifelong Anglophile dream. The foundation of my friendship with Jake was based on our mutual love for The Beatles, and by extension, British musical culture. Our obsession for the Fabs morphed into an obsession with The Smiths and eventually Madchester bands like The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays. High on our list of tour stops was Manchester, the home to so many of our heroes.
Some say Kill Your Idols but we all know that’s silly. We want to BE our idols, that’s the whole fucking point.
Well, now you can at least dress like your idols. Worn Free has some sweet reproductions of famous vintage tees seen on stars from over the years. No, these are not dopey vintage concert tee remakes, these are shirts that have graced famous photos of your favorite rock stars.
Not sure how some of these icons would feel about the monetization of their dirty clothes hamper (especially at $50 a pop!) but the site says “All of the t-shirts and images that we use are fully licensed from the estates and individuals concerned. We have clearance to use all the photo imagery that we use on our site.” Plus, I think they’re kinda cool.
According to Rolling Stone, Charles R. Cross was granted unprecedented access to Kurt Cobain‘s archives for a new book, Cobain Unseen, out now.
“It was like a James Bond movie,” Cross says of the high-tech Seattle bunker. “But once you got past security, all his possessions were just in boxes.” With these artifacts, put into storage following Cobain’s 1994 suicide, Cross pieced together a remarkably revealing visual history of Cobain’s private life — from his childhood drawings to snapshots (taken by Courtney Love) of Cobain and daughter Frances Bean.
Courtney’s very presence was a metaphor for the end of one era in the band’s life and the beginning of another. Often she was just a mouthpiece for what Kurt himself wanted and didn’t feel like asking for. Although I knew Courtney could be difficult or irrational, it was also obvious that Kurt’s attachment to her was no passing fancy. The weekend in January 1992 that Nirvana did ‘Saturday Night Live’ for the first time was a turning point that put into focus the heroin problem that was to haunt Kurt for the rest of his life. (He dyed his hair pink for the show, which somehow added a sense of dissolution.) Courtney called me at home the morning the show aired and asked me to get Kurt $5,000 in cash so they could do some “shopping.” I felt pretty uncomfortable as I delivered the package of $100 bills to her at the hotel. Abruptly, the dark cloud of drug excess had entered the band’s life. I was confronted by the baroque facade of lies and the awful glassy-eyed deadness that regular heroin use provides. I resolved to confront them about it after we got through the next few days in New York.
Courtney Love claims that the ashes of her late husband, Kurt Cobain, have been pinched. Rolling Stone reports that Love was storing the ashes in a pink bear-shaped handbag that was hidden in the wardrobe closet of her Hollywood home and believes the bag was taken by a former friend.
Apparently, most of Cobain’s ashes were spread at a New York Buddhist temple and in Washington’s Wishkah River, but Love said she kept a small amount (as well as a lock of his hair) for herself.
“I can’t believe anyone would take Kurt’s ashes from me. I find it disgusting and right now I’m suicidal,” Love said.
Yes, we know how closely Courtney guards Kurt’s most private things. Like, say, his notes in a diary. What’s more safe than scribbled across a million pairs of Chuck Taylors?
I love Converse shoes and have several pairs of Chuck Taylors and lament my giving away a pair of One Stars several years ago to GLONO co-founder Sabu. So it’s with mixed feelings that I read about the announcement of a limited edition Kurt Cobain signature shoe from the now-Nike owned Converse.
The shoe is set to feature Cobain’s name, lyrics, writing, and signature to mark the shoe’s 100th anniversary. The Cobain shoe is the latest in a line of subversive celebrity signature shoes from Converse. Other artists featured include Ian Curtis, Sid Vicious, and apparently Hunter S. Thompson, though I can’t find any evidence that Thompson’s shoe was ever actually developed and released.
Converse apparently made a better offer than Doc Martin to Courtney Love in securing Cobain’s likeness for this shoe line. When an ad campaign by Doc Martin appeared that featured Cobain in a pair of their iconic boots, Love released a statement in which she said it was “outrageous that a company is allowed to commercially gain from such a despicable use of her husband’s picture.” I guess it’s not as despicable if she’s getting a cut of the action.
So, the question is: is this cool or does it suck? Is it cool that once marginal artists (Cobain excluded) are now being honored left and right by mainstream culture? Or does it suck that subversive culture is consistently co-opted and neutered for corporate profit?
Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Clichéd, sure, but also apparently true. A recent study of 1,050 American and European music artists between 1965 and 2005 shows that rock and rollers are twice as likely to die young as the rest of us working stiffs.
While the idea that rock stars tend to die young is nothing new, this is apparently the first study to scientifically document the trend. According to the report published in Britain’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (PDF), a quarter of all the musicians’ deaths registered during the study period were due to drug or alcohol abuse.
What’s interesting is the data. One hundred stars, of the 1,050 observed, died during the 40 year study. And while 27 is often thought to be the rock star’s average shelf life (See: Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain—all dead at 27), the actual average age at the time of death is 42 for American rockers and 35 for Europeans.
No word on how undead rocks stars like The Rolling Stones threw off the average.
As if selling licensing of Kurt’s songs for video game ads or shitty TV shows weren’t enough, Courtney Love now plans to sell off nearly all of his remaining possessions under her control. I guess the massive money dead celebrity auctions is taking in these days is just too much to pass up.
Would selling off all her father’s keepsakes ultimately rob daughter Francis Bean of her birthright? “My daughter doesn’t need to inherit a giant hefty bag full of flannel fucking shirts,” said Love. “A sweater, a guitar and the lyrics to ‘(Smells Like) Teen Spirit’ — that’s what my daughter gets. And the rest of it we’ll just fucking sell.”
And Courtney drops further in the collective eyes of Nirvana fans…
Question of the Day: When Courtney dies, what are the three things you think Bean should hold onto?