Young Spuds in a Longhorn Daze

Steve Perry, April 24, 1985

 

Sub Pop's new big deals Nirvana don't just copy Soundgarden's destructo-throb--they worship it. As a result, Bleach, with the exception of a couple of tracks, is totally worthless.

John Dougan, March 21, 1990

 

When I first heard the single "Smells Like Teen Spirit," I was catapulted back to my first punk rock show; I remember how amazed I was to find people like me--self-conscious, alienated geeks--making a noise, a celebration out of their loneliness. In a room bulging with discontent, we saw ourselves in each other's faces, and all that shame just melted into a healing rage. This song is that huge--cleansing, drenching guitar chords cascading out of delicate, hoarsely melodic verses, drums flying everyplace as the band lunges into the chorus: "With the lights down/It's less dangerous/Here we are now/Entertain us." This isn't "The Kids Are Alright" or "Won't Get Fooled Again"--Nirvana knows the kids aren't and will. But "Teen Spirit" is brighter than, say, "Welcome to the Jungle" in its desperate trust.

Terri Sutton, October 9, 1991

 

[I]f, to quote Michael Stipe, everybody hurts, Cobain does so louder, more acutely, and more tunefully than the rest of us, making his anger catharsis-ready for a shockingly wide audience.... Of course, it stood to reason that the megastardom that followed would prove antithetical to what Cobain's art was all about, which was the exorcising of childhood demons and the preservation of a childlike state of innocence.

Will Hermes, December 8, 1993

 

Whether he liked it or not, Kurt Cobain changed my life. He changed yours too, whether you liked it or not. Anybody who goes around wanting to change lives through their music is full of shit; Kurt just did what he did and it changed people because he was not full of shit....I don't think any rock star has made so much of being who you are, despite the consequences, except John Lennon, and the same kind of reactions followed each of their deaths. The difference is that Lennon became a martyr. Cobain will never be one. He was so unsentimental that it's hard to imagine anybody who really loved and understood his work making him one.

Michaelangelo Matos, April 20, 1994

 

[Matt] Wilson's strategy for Burnt, White and Blue involves releasing his album independently across the Midwest, between Chicago and Kansas City, while shopping the release to labels on the coasts. This procedure, however well-planned, seems the rough equivalent of conducting a public ritual to lure the idiot rock gods from the 808 area code where they anoint themselves at poolside with ablutions of absinthe and Bain de Soleil whilst half-naked Ivy League interns fan them with back issues of Billboard.

"If I had to predict what would happen," Wilson says, "I would say that I'll probably end up selling 3,000 CDs. And then it will either trickle off from there, or that will cause something good to happen and maybe it will get picked up by someone...."

"Just having the record out is a wonderful thing for me," he adds over the phone a few days later, while noting that he's already ordered a second pressing of 1,000 copies. And though he doesn't recite the Serenity Prayer, Wilson suggests that measuring the success of the project based on the whims of the market is not a tenable position. "To remain a musician you have to maintain these blind spots, because it's too painful to know about what goes on. I'm genuflecting on the earth right now just to have the record done."

Michael Tortorello, April 22, 1998

 

The rise of electronica is allowing creative DJs to populate Entry and Mainroom bills [at First Avenue] like never before. The dance scene itself might be the strongest province of the new all-ages generation. Especially as rave and techno edge closer to large-scale acceptance, younger audiences may be developing more interest in turntables than in guitars--and, more important, be less interested in watching bands perform onstage that in performing themselves on the dance floor, and in watching each other....

Ultimately, there seem to be two ways to run a nightclub in Minneapolis: Have a small room geared to a more specific audience (like the Cedar, the Front, country/roots bar Lee's Liquor Lounge, and to some degree the 400), or have a large, multiplex venue that reaches out to a number of specialized (but not too specialized) audiences. The solution for a big, scene-defining venue like First Avenue comes down to figuring out, as Steve McClellan puts it, "what street-level music's going to rise to the clubs." If a venue can't afford to advertise with a radio station, McClellan reasons, it shouldn't be courting its format. And with "alternative" radio stations in an increasingly powerful position, the extent to which labels need a national network of clubs like First Avenue to market their alt-rock bands has subsided. All signs say that now is a transitional era, time for a new approach.

Simon Peter Groebner, August 20, 1997

 

The music was endless and everywhere. Bass-heavy ambient techno wafted over from one campsite, old-school breakbeats from another, hi-tech dub from yet another...the effect was that of a perpetual sonic Disneyland. Of course, the bands were tangential to the DJs, who took the main stage in force about 10:00 each night and dropped beats until 8:00 each morning....And listening to the mad roars each time Phantom stopped the record to allow a few beats worth of sonic freefall, it was impossible not to see that the music being made was easily as exciting, and vastly more revolutionary, than anything commonly called "rock."

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