Friday, February 15, 2013

Seattle. Cobain.

The rooftop in this photo is of Kurt Cobain's house, the home where he shot himself in 1994. While passing through Seattle last summer we decided to take a detour and stop here. It wasn't really out of the way considering we were catching the ferry across the Puget Sound.

I listened to Nirvana in high school...still do on occasion. Since 6th grade I was collecting cassettes and records by Minor Threat, Black Flag, the Dead Milkmen, Rollins Band, the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, and other such bands. I was influenced by skateboarding and what I saw in Thrasher Magazine therefore whenever I would find one of these bands items in a record shop, usually the Mom & Pop store Record Swap on the U of I campus, I would snatch it up. Living among the cornfields in Central Illinois this was my connection to what was going on elsewhere. Stores like this and magazines like the one mentioned were where I could find the things, be it art, music, what-have-you, that interested me and that I was drawn to. When I first heard Nirvana I was in 9th grade. Their video for "Teen Spirit" came on the Headbangers Ball and it was so different from the other stuff MTV was showing. I got my Danzig, Suicidal, Slayer, and Metallica fix from watching the Ball, but it wasn't like the punk rock that'd I'd been listening to...albeit close (especially since many of those bands came from those roots). When I first saw that video, heard that song, I thought "Damn, this is more akin to punk rock than any of this other shit".

Love 'em or hate 'em, Nirvana turned popular music of the early 90's on its ear. As mentioned, I was in tune with the underground in Jr. High thanks to rags like Thrasher and being involved in skateboarding, but at that time commercial airwaves were hocking shit like Warrant, Rick Astley, Poison, Terrence Trent D'arby and other such drivel to us kids. I don't think anyone could relate to that garbage. Not even the kids that wore their t-shirts! All of a sudden there was this rise of "underground" bands going mainstream and reaching kids that would have otherwise never have heard them. On many levels this was a positive thing. It made us youth of the 90's realize there was more out there than what was being forced upon us. I do have mixed feelings however, because it also opened the floodgates for a lot of other useless crap to hit the airwaves and be accepted (but thats the curmudgeon in me speaking). Record companies were trying so hard to find the next "Nirvana" and cash in...often times at the expense of musician's who's hearts may've been in the right place, but were detoured by the almighty dollar. Then there the bands that just plain sucked and rode the magic carpet into the limelight.

But I digress. The best part of my story is that I encountered a dude at that park bench in this photo. We pulled up to the house as post-work traffic was rolling by. It was a well-to-do, off the beaten path neighborhood, so it wasn't that "busy" but there was really no where to get off the road besides actual driveways and there was a speed bump directly in front of the Cobain house so everyone was passing very slow. Jen and I pulled up against the curb and I noticed this guy, about my age, with a mountain bike, posing himself around the bench and against the tree with the house in the background. I realized he was there for the same reason we were...or I was, as the case may be.

We killed the bikes and crossed the sidewalk into the grass. "Hey buddy, want me to snap some pics of ya?" I asked. His English wasn't perfect, he was from South America, but we understood one another. He nodded as he said "Yes, yes". He handed me his iPhone and positioned himself while displaying the universal sign for metal and making a "rock face". I snapped a few pics of him and after each one he checked them for accuracy (I would have done the same). He thanked me profusely for lending a hand to his endeavor and I felt good for being able to produce a better memoir for him than he could have accomplished by himself.

After a brief conversation I discovered that he'd flown into Seattle from Brazil, solo, and rented a bicycle to explore the city and see some landmarks that he'd wanted to see for years. Kurt Cobain's Seattle home being one of them. Shortly after I shot the photos for him he thanked me for my kindness and hopped onto his mountain bike to head back into city. As he rolled over that speed bump he looked over his left shoulder and gave me a thumbs up. It's eye openers like this that remind of how big of a world we live in.


  1. Superbly written, kick arse read man, thanks.

  2. Thanks for the compliment man!
    I appreciate it.

  3. Yes man, good writing. The album will always be great. The first one, Bleach, is one of my favorites. Super raw bug so well put together. That article brought back memories.