There is a defining feature we have as human beings. We will get old. You’re getting older. I’m getting older. Just sitting here, reading this blog – we’re getting older. To be honest, I don’t feel old. I can tell you when I will though. I can tell you the exact date in fact – September 24, 2011.
No, it’s not the dreaded 40 mark. Not any birthday, or date of any real significance actually. But on the 24th day of September 2011, I will unequivocally, irreversibly and officially be old. Why? Because this day my friends, marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind.
To this day, I can remember the first time I heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on the radio. It was the JJJ breakfast show with Mikey Robbins and Helen Razor (yes, that long ago!). My first reaction was along the lines of – What. Was. That. Helen was trying to figure out the last lines Kurt was screeching (‘a denial, a denial…’). I was trying to figure out how I could hear that song again – as soon as humanly possible.
The song and album came along at the exact right moment for me. I was beginning to challenge ideas, extricating myself from the childish influence of my parents and forging my own identity. Nevermind catapulted that idea into the stratosphere. New Dave was born on that day.
I was one of the very few lucky bastards to see these guys play live. It was early 1992 at the now defunct Palace Theatre in St Kilda. The support was the sadly neglected Meanies (anyone remember them?). Nirvana lived up to my expectations – and then blew them out of the water. The raw guttural power of Kurt, Dave and Krist would not be restrained by four shoddy concrete walls. Their brilliance far outstripped the sum of their musical parts.
In some ways, 20 years ago seem like, well, 20 years ago. A lot has happened in those intervening years. I’ve changed a lot since that young kid staring at the radio in his bedroom hurriedly twisting the radio dial in the fruitless hope that a commercial station were playing Nirvana (it would take many months before they would). That Dave had less confidence in himself. He was too eager to please. Reluctant to share an opinion. Oh how times have changed, hey blog reader?! In many ways I don’t think I’d like to meet that Dave, he’d be undercooked. Not yet whole. Nevermind helped leave that Dave behind forever.
I’ve played that album, at a guess, several hundred times. Sure, there are albums that are perhaps technically better – Radiohead, Jeff Buckley or Las Ketchup for example, but none have had the profound effect that this one little album had. Overnight big hair bands like Poison and Warrant became passé. And everyone stopped using the word passé. Instantaneously, garage bands formed, disbanded and reformed without the arsehole lead singer. I won’t even subject you to my (thankfully brief) journey into banddom. Let’s just say at the first day rehearsals there were three drummers and a guy with a flute. Nuff said.
So, this rapidly approaching date – why does it freak me out so much? It’s only a date that will pass most people by as just another day. But for me, it’s not just another day. For me, it’s a date that marks the point at which I have to reach a conclusion – that I’m a sad old bastard.
Oh well, whatever, never mind.