Even though the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death loomed over this week like the winter clouds that are finally starting to melt away, plenty of other things happened in the world of music. Although Queens of the Stone Age drama has seemed to dry up, there is still enough going on in the file sharing and drug abuse departments to entertain you until Homme and company’s next volley of insults and low blows.
Pill Popper Tweedy
In the grand tradition of Rush Limbaugh, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has cancelled a personal vacation to Europe to attend rehab, wanting to kick his dependency on prescription painkillers. As a result, their forthcoming album A Ghost Is Born will be released later than planned, on June 22. Their tour schedule remains intact, however.
Unfortunately for Wilco, it doesn’t matter when they release their new records, since it’s already making the rounds on those darn file-sharing networks. But there’s a twist to this old story: the fans responsible for the album’s release via P2P have set up a website called justafan.org, where those who’ve downloaded the album can donate money to a charity of Wilco’s choice, Doctors Without Borders.
“Ha!” you say. “Everyone knows that file-sharers are a selfish, greedy bunch who would never pay for anything they could easily steal.” This ended up not being the case, however, as the site brought in a whopping $1,500 on the first day.
Far from being incensed about the leakage of their material, Wilco have come out to support the website. Guitarist Tweedy summed up their feelings on the justafan.org site, “the impulse to make music is as strong as it ever was… making CDs is not our reason to exist. We’re a band because we like to play together, and feel good about playing in front of people, and we’ve always made our living doing that. That isn’t going to change.”
Gross news! Bob Dylan is appearing in a-get this-Victoria’s Secret TV commercial! But don’t worry, you’ll be spared the sight of his flabby folds of folk-flesh, since his only role in the ad is to leer at some scantily clad women, wear a very sleazy looking mustache, and artistically sell out by allowing the lingerie retailer to offer a special 9-track CD of his music.
Incidentally, this actually coincides with his “spokesman of a generation” tag, since his generation horribly sold out many years ago. Better late than never, I guess.
Drugged Love, Again
Drugged-out loser Courtney Love admitted to taking some OxyContin on the night of her latest arrest, surprising no one. The cop that arrested her as she lurked around her ex-boyfriend’s house seconded her story and gave a graphic description of the signs of Courtney’s intoxication, speaking of the disgusting mucus that oozed out of her nose as she stumbled around in an opiate-induced daze.
In case you didn’t know, she is also facing charges and a lawsuit from a recent show where she threw a mic stand into the audience and nailed some poor sap in the face with it.
Ten Years Ago Today
Kurt Cobain’s body was found ten years ago today in the greenhouse of his Seattle home. Every publication and media outlet has rushed to cover the tenth anniversary of his death, speaking about what a tragic genius he was.
You’ll likely hear all the same stories, about how Unplugged in New York’s funeral decorations were an eerie portent of things to come, how the fragile, sensitive Kurt was thrust into a spotlight he neither wanted nor was ready for.
These things may be true, but they shouldn’t be what we remember about Kurt. He was a man with many facets; from painter to feminist to music geek to fire extinguisher-spraying troublemaker, and these sides all too often are overlooked in favor of the traditional tortured genius angle.
You can tell the interviews with people who really knew Kurt in a personal capacity, because they don’t talk about his pain, or his divorced parents experience or how he couldn’t fit in. They talk about Kurt and Krist Novoselic drunkenly pushing each other around in giant wire spools.
People make a big deal about Kurt’s love for the Melvins, but forget sometimes about his even more massive love for the Beatles. It’s easy, when listening to his music, to only hear the sadness and malaise in his voice and lyrics, and to miss the tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that hides in the Nirvana catalog, waiting for a careful listener to discover it and smile wryly to themselves, feeling a little bit more understanding for this unique and beautiful person than they had before. I can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s the way I want to remember him.