Regardless of personal feelings about the band, there is no denying the impact the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind had on the hard rock community. That album changed the way music was heard. It pushed the boundaries of what was expected from a hard rock record. Nevermind changed the entire landscape of rock music and countless bands would follow hoping to emulate that sound and that market share. Nirvana would become known as leaders in the “grunge” revolution, but I think what gets lost in the re-telling of the story is how fantastic of an album Nevermind really is.
Sure, Nirvana is often referred to as the band that killed hair metal, or the band that launched grunge, or the band that started the wave of “feeling sorry for myself” rock music, but beyond that, Nirvana released an album that touched the senses in a way not many before had. Take a look at the gigantic first single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The first time you heard the choppy guitar riff followed by the crashing drums of Dave Grohl that sounded like a fireworks display grand finale, you had to hear more. And more importantly, you had to own this album. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was something different, as was the entire Nevermind album.
Over the course of the last twenty years, we’ve all been caught up in the death of Kurt Cobain, the speculation of what could have been had he not committed suicide. We’ve been fascinated with the conspiracy theory of whether he was murdered. We’ve been entrenched in looking for long last demos and unreleased material. What we’ve forgotten though is the complex brilliance of Nevermind. As a young man listening to Nevermind for the first time, I connected with songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” On A Plane,” and “Territorial Pissings”. Finally! A platform where I could shout about the bad things in life and release my pain through primal screaming thinly veiled as rock music. It was an amazing experience.
Don’t get me wrong. The hair metal of the time was exceptional music in its own right. Singing about women and sex and booze and partying had its place, but finally having an outlet to unleash my inner anger without having to burp, grunt, and growl incomprehensibly (ala Death/Doom Metal), added to my already growing feeling of invincibility and immortality. If I were to hear Nevermind for the first time today, I would certainly like it, but I can’t guarantee that I would embrace it the same way I did in my late teens. Nevermind was a calling to all the youth of the nation that it was ok to explode from time to time and that life wasn’t always about the party. Nevermind was a reminder that there is anger inside of us all and that occasionally, that anger needs to be released, vented, and distributed into the world.
There aren’t many albums that affect me the way Nevermind did. The pure unique sound and style, the band’s desire to be decidedly different, their willingness to embrace their independence is something that I was enamored with. Nirvana was truly unique, and my first exposure to Nevermind cemented me as a fan and secured my love for the band. It’s a shame that we never got to see a deeper body of work, but I will always appreciate what we do have and will never forget how groundbreaking Nevermind was and how it shook the rock world to its core, slapping rock music in the face, and waking up the sleeping masses. Yes, we had to endure several copycats and a lot of not so great bands, not to mention endless songs about hating yourself and hating life, but it was all worth it. There are few albums as grand as Nevermind.
April 5th is a horrible day for hard rock. On this day, we lost not one, but four hard rock greats that I will not soon forget.
Cozy Powell (Black Sabbath) 1998, Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) 1994, Mark St. John (KISS) 2007, and Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) 2002 all died on this fate filled day.
Far too may rockers have died on this day! Their incredible legacies have left behind some awesome tunes for us to enjoy. Check out Black Sabbath’s “Headless Cross”, “Heaven’s on Fire” from KISS, “Man in The Box” from Alice in Chains and “Lithium” from Nirvana in the videos below.
During the recording sessions for their new album “Consciousness”, which was released through F.O.F Label Group/EMI earlier this year, Smile Empty Soul recorded a cover of Nirvana’s “Aneurysm”. The track has never been released before and is now availible as an exclusive FREE download through AOL music at http://aolradio.podcast.aol.com/aolmusic/mp3s/smileemptysoul_aneurysm.mp3 “Nirvana was one of our biggest influences growing up,” commented Smile Empty Soul’s Sean Danielsen. “Nirvana was just one of those ‘voice of a generation’ type bands that we all loved, so we would cover this song live once in a while to do something cool for fans. We never planned on recording it, but when were in the studio making ‘Consciousness’ our manager said we should do a cover and this one immediately jumped out. We recorded it pretty true to the original and hopefully we did it justice.”
Smile Empty Soul re-released their long lost sophomore album, “Anxiety”, digitally only through ITunes and other digital retailers on November 10th. Anxiety’s 17 tracks were originally recorded in 2005 as the follow-up to the group’s gold certified 2003 self-titled debut. The album is currently on sale though iTunes for $9.99 at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/anxiety/id338004197
Jan 05 – San Antonio, TX @ Scout Bar
Jan 06 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
Jan 07 – McAllen, TX @ Smoking Aces
Jan 08 – Dallas, TX @ Tree’s
Jan 09 – Houma, LA @ City Club
Jan 10 – Orlando, FL @ Firestone Live
Jan 12 – Jacksonville, FL @ The Pit
Jan 13 – Tampa, FL @ Gasoline Alley
Jan 14 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
Jan 15 – Jacksonville, NC @ Hooligans
Jan 16 – Farmingdale, NY @ Crazy Donkey
Jan 17 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theatre
Jan 18 – Rochester, NY @ TBA
Jan 21 – Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s
Jan 22 – Columbus, OH @ Al Rosa
Jan 23 – Detroit, MI @ Harpos
Jan 27 – Rockford, IL @ Bar 3
Jan 28 – Chicago, IL @ Roadhouse
Jan 29 – Cedar Rapids, IA @ 1st Ave Live
Jan 30 – Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
Jan 31 – Traverse City, MI @ Streeters
Feb 03 – Columbia, MO @ Blue Note
Feb 04 – Appleton, WI @ Revolution
Feb 05 – Dayton, OH @ McGuffys
Feb 06 – Ft Wayne, IN @ Pierre’s
Hard Rock Hideout posts the latest rock videos every day. Each week we will post a Sink or Swim Video.
If you say SWIM, we will review the disc at Hard Rock Hideout.com. If you say SINK, we will pass on reviewing the disc. You will have one week to decided the band’s fate!
The first week’s SINK or SWIM video, is OTEP doing their cover of the Nirvana song, Breed. This is off of the new OTEP CD, The Ascension.
You Decide! Sink or Swim!