I was a teenager in the early 1990s. I wore flannel, had long hair (bad idea) and I loved so many of the grunge bands of the era. I saw Pearl Jam and Soundgarden open for Neil Young in 1993 at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, where thousands of fans hopped out of the grandstand and onto the field when PJ started playing.
I also saw Nirvana perform their final Toronto show, at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was November 4th, 1993, one day after my best buddy’s birthday. We were asked if we had any drugs to share by two girls about our age. We didn’t. And really, we didn’t look like we would have any, so I’m not quite sure what the girls were thinking.
That night, Nirvana played songs from In Utero, which had just recently been released. The show was loud. The fans were raucous. And, not surprisingly when you think about, Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and some kid named Dave Grohl chose not to play Smells Like Teen Spirit, the song that had started them on their way to icons.
Less than a year later, Kurt was gone, and Nirvana was no more. As a kid, the notion of an artist I admired killing himself was unfathomable. He was a rock star. He had a cool wife. He had a child. How could this happen? Of course, you then get older and start to understand how we’re all wired differently, and that everyone has their own pain that they they deal with.
One of of my go-to channels on SiriusXM is Lithium. It takes me back often to my teenage years – the good parts, anyway, because there were a lot of extra crappy ones as well. But Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains and Nirvana really only conjure up the good memories for me. And with what would have been Kurt’s 49th birthday coming on February 20th, and with the 25th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind later this year, my dial is going to Lithium more and more.
I’m getting older, but the music doesn’t ever feel like it is.