Kurt Cobain Lives – Part 4
In 1994 Kurt Cobain faked his own suicide. 22 years later he’s ending his self-imposed exile.
This is part 4 of an ongoing serial fiction. Part 1 can be found here.
When we stop laughing, long enough for us to take a normal breath anyway, I ask Kurt what he’s talking about. What does he mean when he says Dave Grohl is a “clown” and “out of control?” Even as I ask though, I’m pretty sure I know what he means.
“Hubris, man. Fucking hubris,” Kurt says simply, as if he’s said all he needs to. And to me, he has.
“Huh?” Martin asks.
“That was the one thing that we swore to each other, to never to take ourselves too seriously. The music. It was always and only supposed to be about the music.”
“And you don’t think that’s case with the Foo Fighters?” Martin asks.
“Fuck no, man. Not for a long time. Dave’s become a parody of a rock star.” He adds, “And I understand how it can happen too. I didn’t want any of that back in the 90’s and the system, the hype machine is gonna do what it’s gonna do, so I don’t blame him for that part of it. . . it’s the approach, the attitude that’s gotta go. They got him believing his own fucking press.”
“Wow,” I say. “I get it, but that brings up a lot of shit, man. I understand what you are saying. . .” I pause because I want to be careful about what I say here.
“What?” he asks.
“Isn’t this, at least partly, kind of your fault?” I take a second to let that sink in. “I mean if you hadn’t gone out like you did, do you think Grohl would have the same soap box? If you were still here, he wouldn’t have had the space to grow into the monster he’s become. And don’t get me wrong, because I agree with you, he is totally guilty of ‘Seger-itis.’”
“Ha!” Kurt busts out laughing. Martin sits silently on the couch. My guess is he’s not following the nuance of the conversation. I imagine you need to be an American and of a certain age to understand the nuance of ‘Seger-itis.’
By my count it’s pretty much an objective fact that Bob Seger is the most bloated parody of a rock star there is. He’s an overweight, alcoholic, brutish, macho, unable-to-see-his-true-self-in-the-mirror example of what an unexamined life, one where your worst, most destructive and base desires are indulged and even encouraged, will get you. Who knows really, maybe he’s a great dude, but his music and persona and some of the stories I’ve heard, paint him as a sexist, egomaniacal, piece of shit.
“I think I’m goin’ to Katmandooo,” Kurt howls parodying that most egregious and absurd of Seger anthems. We both crack up laughing. “Seger-itis… that’s a good one!” he says.
“I mean honestly, if you had stuck around. I hardly think anyone would have had the time, never mind the inclination, to listen to the Foo Fighters.”
“Well, I’m not sure I agree with that but I can see your point,” Kurt says, “and I can recognize that I have the advantage of you know being… dead! Which means that, by default, I’m not gonna disappoint anyone. But Dave and Chris and I, we made a promise to one another back before Nevermind. . . We were gonna stay true to our roots. Punk fucking rock, man. That’s what it all comes back to. Punk fucking rock. And nothing Dave does these days says punk to me. Seger is a great example. Dave is as bad as Seger.”
Judging by the look on his face it’s clear we’ve really lost Martin. “What are you two talking about? David Grohl seems like a good guy to me,” he says.
“Martin, that’s the problem. He is a good guy,” I say. “You can’t have it both ways. Punk isn’t an all-inclusive thing – or it is – but then it isn’t. It’s about staying true to your ideals. It’s about accepting people where they’re at. It’s for the freaks and the weirdos. Not the fucking cool kids.”
“Yeah,” Kurt says, “and to his credit he’s more or less stayed true to that aspect. The music is too macho, way way too cock-rocky for my taste but then, he’s not about prejudice or being over-the-top sexist for the most part. But I’m talking about the ego. The bloated rock-star part of all of this. The fact that he’s everywhere. I mean it wouldn’t surprise me if he showed up on “Dancing With the Stars.” Know what I mean?”
I can only nod emphatically. Kurt continues, “And then there’s the fact that the music pretty much sucks. My god… that throne when he broke his leg… talk about embarrassing. I wanted to jump through the computer and strangle the guy. I mean just look at this…”
Kurt spins and clicks a few keys on his keyboard and then makes the Youtube window fullscreen. In the video player, the Foo Fighters are playing some coliseum somewhere. Dave is center stage between numbers, screaming with his big buck teeth doing a call and response thing with the crowd, “Are you ready to Rock!?” It is crazy cheesy! I cringe just watching it. Dave puts his open hand, palm out and nods when the crowd screams, “Yeah!” He repeats himself, “Louder! I said, ‘Are you ready to rock?’” After saying it 3 or 4 more times he finally breaks into “Monkey Wrench.”
“Yeah, pretty fucking cheesy,” I say.
“And that is one of the few half-decent songs he has. They go downhill from there,” Kurt says, clicking the window shut.
“I still don’t get it,” Martin says.
“Martin, it boils down to passion,” Kurt says. “Punk rock, hell, any kind of good art in general now that I think about it, is about passion. You can be the shittiest artist in the world and, I wouldn’t care. If it’s coming from some place real you’ll have my respect. Dave’s art, maybe not at the beginning, but for a long time now has had no fucking passion. It’s been paint by numbers macho posturing bullshit.”
“So what? You plan to correct his ways?” Martin asks.
“Nah man.” Kurt shakes his head slightly. “Nah. I just want to remind him about where he comes from. . . And scare the living shit out of him.” He smiles.
Want to keep reading? Here’s part 5. Consider leaving a comment if you like what you’ve read.