Here We Are Now, Entertain Us | Nirvana and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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It was lightning in a bottle, igniting a genre to the point an icon was created almost instantly.  And in a flash of brilliance and torment a legend was born among the swirl of black smoke and the smell of gun powder.  It was tragic, and yet we are left to wonder if could have really been any other way.  Even their name was ironic providence…

Nirvana.

From the first dirty chords of the band’s breakout hit Smells Like Teen Spirit, the mumbling poetry, the pent up rage like an evangelist not seeking your redemption, but seeking your acceptance, the rock trio turned the back alley sub-culture of grunge on its flannel and never looked back.  They were the closest thing to self un-aware punk as there had been in twenty years.  It wasn’t a fashion statement.  It was an exclamation.  Youthful angst had burst from the packages of bubble gum boy bands and glimmering MTV and was laid bare for the world to see.  With their cheap instruments and distorted reverb, Nirvana opened the garage door with a sound so hard yet so neatly wrapped with pop sensibilities that it managed to piss off the parents and still become a marketable, profitable product.  It was a dichotomy the blond mop headed singer would struggle with the rest of his short and tortured life.

Kurt Cobain, the strangely handsome, shy, lyrical pied piper behind not just a musical band, but a movement.   A new John Lennon for Generation X, for Nirvana was every bit the Beatles to millions of American teens who were ready to stop listening and ready to start rocking.  Dave Grohl, the backbeat foundation of a group destined to implode.  A man so grounded in the lessons of his friend that he would carry on a musical legacy decades past the spark of what once was.  If Cobain was Lennon, Grohl most certainly was McCartney, the bearer of the torch when all others had faded from sight, but not from memory.  Krist Novoselic, the quiet, mystical clown that lumbered in the background and yet remained an integral corner of the rock and roll trio.  He was George and he was Ringo.

Twenty five years later the band has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It almost seems trivial the formalities are even necessary.  Nirvana transcended a genre with their approach to what was considered alternative music or popular music.  In many ways their sound, lyrics, videos and album covers transcended an art form.  Their grinding guitar, pulsing bass and stomping drums etched their names into the plaque years ago…

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