Culture

Stay Classy, Nirvana

(Photo: Anton Corjin)

We’ve all been there: rolling through youtube, and you find something worth watching that takes you back to your adolescence.

In my case, I found my self looking at videos on music production – which I’ve been getting into more and more these days – which led me to Pensado’s Place, which led me to Butch Vig, which culminated in the watching of the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of a band that inspired not only my generation, but me. Nirvana.

After imbibing the nostalgia, feeling the all-encompassing goosebumps and shivers that come from reliving some of the most relevant and connected songs to my life’s soundtrack, I took a moment to reflect.

First, the songs are still fucking amazing. Tight, well-constructed, and powerful. Whether Kurt Cobain is the messiah of a generation, as is customary for media to say in hindsight, is not really relevant. His (and Nirvana’s) over the past 25 years are continually standing the test of time. Dave Grohl has continued to produce amazing music, alongside Foo Fighters and oft-cited Nirvana member Pat Smear (who is amazing in his own right). Krist Novoselic (Bog!) has contributed to the political landscape in Washington state.

What struck me about the induction ceremony was not about the music, but all about the music at the same time. It wasn’t the tears that filled my eyes listening to Lorde’s voice hauntingly reawaken All Apologies, or enjoying the hell out of Kim Gordon provide the melancholy polar opposite to Kurt’s amazing range and rasp. It wasn’t even Joan Jett (who I agree, should be in the fucking HOF) and her awesome pickscrapes to Smells Like Teen Spirit.

The best part of the induction was that for each performance, the guys chose to represent. They shared the stage with awesome women who in their own right have had, and continue to have great careers in music. Quite simply, it was a very classy move from my teen idols; guys I grew up with, playing along to their songs, memorizing each line and drum and bass note. A fucking class move from some classy guys, straight up.

Watch the collection of videos here:

I thought of my friend and co-conspirator Bandana Singh, and how she would have belonged on that stage. Check out my post on why I play in a female-fronted rock band to learn more.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share with you all out there. What are your thoughts? Classy move? Should they have gone with a male performer? Let me know!

PS – on a related note, this 2012 Kennedy Center Honours performance of Stairway to Heaven by Heart, actually moved me (and Robert Plant) to tears. There are no words. Just watch – if you don’t have 7 minutes, try starting at 5:00 and wait until after the solo. Trust me:

I mean how on her game is Ann Wilson! Incredible!

10 Songs that Explore What it Means to be a Man

(Photo: Danny Clinch)

The exploration of the question – what makes a good man – cannot be completed without some input from the arts, and in this case, music. Below are several selections that attempt to define the term from multiple perspectives.

1. Muddy Waters – Mannish Boy

A timeless blues standard, and a self-affirming pep talk that could be used equally either before a sports event or speaking in public.

2. The Heavy – What Makes a Good Man?

Truly, it’s what I’m trying to discover, too.

3. Raphael Saadiq – Good Man

You might remember Raphael from Tony!Toni!Toné! or Lucy Pearl, but he’s pretty much trumped all of that on his own.

4. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – How do I let a Good Man Down?

Can Sharon Jones please run for president?

5. The Philosopher Kings – I Am the Man

Put Jarvis Church in front of a mic, and you’re usually guaranteed awesomeness. Case in point; we’ve been blessed here with another self-affirming strut-walk of a song.

6. K-OS – Man I Used to Be

“Ya holler and ya holla/ you folla you fall”. Damn, ain’t that the truth. A great introspective account of what can go on inside our heads.

7. Nina Simone – Sinner Man (Felix Da Housecat Remix)

A very literal interpretation of the video, which blends in the 7 deadly sins, and of course, running.

8. Cinematic Orchestra feat. Roots Manuva – All Things to All Men

The line that gets me is “be a man my dad said/ but what the hell did he know?/he lost his dream/lost his flow/and I don’t want to be alone/I’m born KING so where’s my throne/I’m too intense/I’m too deep/I’m too nice for life/so what makes this place so nervous?”

Also, the album Everyday is probably one of the best, ever.

9. Pearl Jam – Better Man

The apparent story here: “before a performance of the song at Pearl Jam’s show on April 3, 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Fox Theatre, Vedder clearly said ‘it’s dedicated to the bastard that married my Momma.’ He was referring to the man who helped raise him and later divorced his mother.”

10. Tom Waits – Little Man

Nothing like the epicness of Tom Waits sharing his take on fatherhood. Some good pieces of advice in here, even for those of us who are no longer ‘little’.

What are some other songs we should have included? Let us know in the comments box below!