I have no idea why, but of all the dead rock stars and other members of “The 27 Club”, I occasionally think about Curt Cobain. He was from a small town like I was – his town (Aberdeen, Washington) was about twice the population of Newton, NJ). He also was a shy self doubter who worked extra hard to make sure he was doing his best.
The only other musician who saddens me this way is Amy Winehouse. When I posthumously checked out her music, I was blown away.
OK – Grunge Rock. In many ways its tied for #1 rock style with some forms of Americana – and by that I mean R.E.M. and Uncle Tupelo / Son Volt. There is one person who ties these seemingly disparate threads together – Neil Young.
Neil Young is the “Godfather of Grunge”. From his Harvest Moon album – one of the best rock albums ever – to others like Rust Never Sleeps, I love how he can play country or folk twang and then get really gritty and grungy. Pure brilliance.
Curt Cobain listed Neil Young and R.E.M. as influences, and his list overlaps and dovetails with mine. I guess I feel some kind of affinity with him.
He reportedly had terrible stomach pain, and hence got on heroin, an opioid. I’ve had chronic back pain since 1995 when I had half a disc removed, but took up cycling and yoga to stave off what could be crippling pain. Its a damned shame he couldn’t find a different way through. During these knee replacements I’ve been ultra vigilant about the Oxycodone they gave me and am using it very sparingly and will stop taking it soon. Its easy to use a crutch when you are in pain. I am empathetic with others who get hooked on this shit.
Anyway, a few songs back – “New Moon Rising” is exactly what I have envisioned for years but had no idea how to write it. It was trapped in my brain and couldn’t get out. The guitar part is Neil Young influenced, and the Piano is Mike Mills from R.E.M. Bet you didn’t know R.E.M. could be a catalyst for learning to play piano – but if you go back and listen to some of their songs – the piano part makes the song. “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” is one of the obvious ones, but there are many that are much more subtle, but no less impactful.
When I listen to my latest Grunge Lounge music while looking at my old photos I finally have combined the art work I love making in a way that I feel really good about – because for the first time ever its the complete way I feel – these things are me.