Teen Spirit Never Dies: ROP Sings Happy Birthday, Kurt Cobain!

On February 20th, Kurt Cobain would have turned 48, and to celebrate the iconic star’s legacy, Rock On Philly is hosting their next Songwriters in the Round in tribute. The performers include Nik Greely, Hayley Jane, Devon, and Rock On Philly’s Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Logue will be hosting as well as performing.

Meet us at Tin Angel this Friday! The doors open at 7:30PM, and the show begins at 8PM. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Velodyne will have a giveaway for those in attendance. There will also be free cupcakes courtesy of Sweet Ruminations that will be Kurt Cobain- themed.

We spoke with the performers about Kurt Cobain, and how much his music has had an effect on them and on the world.

Where do you think you’d see Nirvana today? Smells Like Teen Spirit is still such a relevant song, but how would they be holding up if Cobain and friends were still around and well?

Devon: Kurt Cobain’s continued touring success might have prevented the inception of the Foo Fighters because Dave Grohl most likely wouldn’t have started another band! If Nirvana still existed, I can tell you that they would still be exactly the same. Cobain always made it clear that he wouldn’t alter the band to fit into anything, neither corporate success nor public approval.

John Gilbride: Simply put, why wouldn’t Nirvana stand the test of time. Look at Pearl Jam. I know, not exactly apples to apples, but Nirvana had a loyal and unique fan base. Combine that with Cobain’s lyrical genius, and you have the recipe for what would have been long term success.

Nik Greeley: I don’t think Nirvana would have stayed together regardless, Kurt was moving in a much more acoustic/R.E.M style of sound & songwriting, it’s even been said that Michael Stipe & him were gonna get together to write songs together right after In Utero, it’s a shame we never got to hear any of it.

Jennifer Logue: To be honest, I think it would be naive to think the band would have stayed together to this day. The band was made up of insanely creative individuals that inevitably would have started new projects to satisfy their artistic urges (hello, Foo Fighters). But that’s not to say they wouldn’t reunite once in a while for a show or a new record.

Nirvana and Cobain were considered the flagship band of Generation X. Who would be the flagship band of today? Is there one?

Devon: This generation’s flagship band is probably Mumford & Sons or The Lumineers. They are to alternative rock bands what Nirvana was to the generation of hair bands that came before them. They are the backlash.

John Gilbride: It’s tough to nail down a single flagship band these days. Music is so incredibly diverse and accessible now. You have Jay-Z on top of the rap world, guitar greats like John Mayer, the timeless Coldplay, and so many bands on the rise. I’d like to campaign for Glen Hansard, Ray LaMontagne and the like!

Nik Greeley: I feel that flagship band has been Radiohead. They have redefined what it is to be a “rock” band in the 21st Century, and their influence can be heard all the way across the board from pop to rock and electronic music.

 Jennifer Logue: I don’t think there’s a “flagship band” for Generation X. We’ve gone from a top-down music economy to one where people create their own musical realities. Generation X is made up of hundreds of musical subcultures where each group has their own flagship band. For me personally, being of the singer/songwriter set, I’d have to say Amanda Palmer is an artist of major  importance. She’s broken so much ground in changing what it means to be a successful and fulfilled artist.

As a musician, as an artist, as a person, how would you want to be remembered?

Devon: I would love to be remembered as being a force for good, both artistically and in how I leverage my (yet to be defined) success.

John Gilbride: It’s an easy answer for me. In both my musical and personal life, I want to be viewed as generous, charitable, modest, and as a person who knows how to bring people together. The words I speak and the songs I sing are genuine. It’s that simple. And I’ll share with anyone who will listen.

Jennifer Logue: This is kind of morbid, Kyle! Ha. Both personally and musically, it’s important that I make a positive impact on the people in my life. I want to be remembered for lifting people up and making them feel more connected in this crazy world we live in.

Which Nirvana album or song spoke to you the most?

Devon: Come As You Are” I think really epitomized what Nirvana was, which was an unapologetic launch of the 90’s grunge movement, followed by bands like Monster Magnet, Soundgarden, and Sonic Youth.

John Gilbride: Heart Shaped Box” is one of those songs lyrically that make me look back and wish Kurt was still with us commenting on the world as it is today.

Jennifer Logue: I really love the song “Lithium.” I remember hearing it was about a man who turned to religion to avoid suicide after the death of his girlfriend. On the theme of religion, I’m not religious but I think to really be fulfilled in this life, we all need something to believe in.

Dave Grohl said they were just a bunch of kids in a garage with some cheap, crappy instruments one day before they became what they were. What was your first serious experience with music like?

Devon: I went to a Billy Joel concert when I was about three years old, and while I don’t remember a lot of the concert, I was impressed by the energy in the building and the power of music.

John Gilbride: I have to say that THIS year has to be my greatest “moment” in my life as a musician. I quit my job andI was dirt broke. I wrote prolifically, spent a lot of time away from my family an friends, and now am happy to say that I’m coming out the other side happier an better for it.

Nik Greeley: My first real experience playing music was very similar, but in my friends basement when we were 13 or 14, except they were all exceptionally good already, and had Les Pauls and nice gear. I was lucky.

Jennifer Logue: My first serious experience with music was when I left a really well- paying job to busk around Europe for close to a year. I was stripped down to the basics and it was great for my songwriting.

If you were to curate a unique mashup, who and what songs would you combine with which Nirvana tracks?

Devon: I’d love to mash up “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana’s “Something In The Way.” Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana both came out in the 90’s, and they both established their own genres. Nine Inch Nails was an early pioneer of industrial rock, and Nirvana was a creator of grunge rock. I think it’d be a cool tribute to both bands to combine their songs and their impact on the music industry.

Nik Greeley: I’d like to do a mashup of Nirvana & Lorde. She has said in the press how much Nirvana had an effect on her life, and even with her style of pop their is a bit of a melancholy undertone to it. A “Royals/Come As You Are” mash could be very interesting.

 

 

So if you ran into Kurt Cobain’s ghost at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, what’s the one thing you would ask or say to him?

Devon: If you had known how much your music would impact the world, and that your little girl would grow up to be a young woman, would you have still ended it?

John Gilbride: I don’t think I’d say much. Kurt wasn’t one for attention or celebrity at his core. I’d ask him to play a song and if I was lucky, to play right along with him. Kurt’s music was all he cared about, and I’d share the same sentiment with him.

Nik Greeley: I would tell him in the least fan boy way possible how important he was/is to me as an artist & songwriter, and that I love him.

 

Kurt Cobain was a Kraft Mac and cheese fan. Even though he probably wouldn’t like it, what would you fire up as an honorary dish to impress Cobain?

Devon: My specialty is vegan mac and cheese, but I’m sure it’s not as good as Kraft!

John Gilbride: I make one hell of a Jalapeño Popper Dip. That’s all I’m gonna say. Forget musicians being the life of a party. If Kurt and I strolled into a party with my dip, the music wouldn’t matter anymore.

Nik Greeley: As a fellow Mac & Cheese enthusiast, I would probably make him some excellent homemade Mac’s, but with a strong helping of buffalo chicken, to make it extra special.

Jennifer Logue: I can’t have dairy but I’d do it for him. And I’d make Lobster Mac & Cheese. That stuff hits the spot.

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