Friday, April 11, 2014

Nirvana induction

Look, I'm deeply conflicted about and suspicious of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

They've done a lot of shitty things, as I touched on in In & out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The omissions are frequently lunatic. They are also very dedicated to a very specific view of "rock and roll" that does not ultimately match mine in many important ways.

And yet, the inductions do lead to wonderful things. Some of the 26 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Reunions That Actually Happened are more than a little overblown, bullshit even, but others are genuinely moving and wonderful. I particularly got misty at The Ronettes.

It seems to me that the induction of Nirvana has particularly lived up what it can be at its best.

Does it matter if the burying of the hatchet between Courtney Love and the rest of the band was a show? It was a good show. A show of the legacy being more important than the differences in the end.

And performing? I've dipped into the YouTube clips, but I mostly want to wait and really absorb the performance with decent sound when it airs on HBO. However I saw enough to get a strong impression that they captured the most important and compelling aspects of the band, at least as well as they could without Kurt, especially that blistering performance with Kim Gordon.

But really the excitement is this story: Nirvana plays surprise show after Rock Hall induction. You probably know that already.

Is there a precedent for that?

Look, I think people got excitable calling it a Nirvana concert. Dan Solomon wrote tweet that summed that up, "The same people who make fun of The Doors (w/ Ian Astbury) or Sublime With Rome are pretending they saw Nirvana last night. It’s just doofy."

Have any of those other 26 Hall of Fame reunions done anything like that?

Those other bands obviously had much different reasons for not reuniting. If The Byrds, for example, had followed up the momentum of their induction performance with a full-blown reunion, it would not have, by its very existence, detracted from their legacy. It would simply have been one of the reunions, of one sort or other, they had over the time since their break-up, or members leaving and returning.

The Hall of Fame induction provided a rather unique opportunity to pay tribute to that legacy, and I think it was great they were able to jump on that opportunity. I think it's amazing that they were able to take advantage of it and did so. That set-list is just perfect.

The people who got to see that show do indeed have every reason to be excited to see such a monumental show. I'm sure it was amazing, and I do not lack for envy at their privilege, although perhaps I feel a bit less so for having indeed seen undeniable, no quotation marks Nirvana.

More, I feel it was wonderful for Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Pat Smear that they were able to celebrate something so wonderful and meaningful to the world, and I'm sure themselves, that isn't always easy or comfortable to find a context to play those songs again and really celebrate them. That's absolutely great.

In the course of my geeking out over this, I came across Kurt Cobain would have despised his Hall of Fame induction by Sean Beaudoin.

Is that likely? I mean, he went and accepted a lot of VMAs for a guy who would have despised being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, didn't he? I acknowledge that his ambivalence toward these things was almost certainly genuine, but I think it was clearly ambivalence and not simple distaste.

I'm pretty happy to take his mom's word that he would have been proud, but said he wouldn't. That sounds about right to me.

But does that matter? Does it matter what it would have meant to Kurt or does it matter what it means now for Krist, Dave, Pat, Courtney, Frances, his mother and sister and many other personally involved with Nirvana as well as millions of fans?

I've got on Pay to play, my Nirvana Spotify playlist, and I'm celebrating my glee that Mudhoney tweeted a picture of Dan Peters, Jack Endino, Dale Crover and Chad Channing, in attendance yesterday.

That seems to me as good a justification for my full endorsement of this event as I need.

This band is the establishment now.

UPDATE: I wanted to add The Inside Story Of Nirvana's One-Night-Only Reunion by Andy Greene, which I think is a glorious and exciting account of the events.


Eddie Hardy said...

Neil! Great to see that you're still at it! You were always supportive of the work I did over at Shoot the Projectionist, so I thought you might be interested to know that I'm trying to get back into the game. Any advice for a born-again blog-virgin? The on-line world seems much different than it did just a few years ago...

Neil Sarver said...

Hey, there! I'm glad you felt that way. I certainly always enjoyed it.

I'm sorry if I took a little bit to reply. Combination of busy schedule this week and just thinking about the question.

I'm certainly not as involved in blogging as I once was. Back in the day, as you recall, I'm sure, there was kind of a big community of discussion. Most of that exists on one level or other on Twitter and Facebook, but I see a lot less direct action with my blog. Some of that is, I'm sure, because I'm specifically less active, which makes sense, but some I think faded away or scaled back.

So, from my perspective, I mostly just do it for my own amusement/expression at this point, which has its pros and cons. I suppose it inspires me to write less. On the other hand, I mostly enjoy doing it more when I do.

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