…performing songs from their brand spanking new release, the self-titled cd, Pearl Jam.
Watching them perform brought back a rash of memories of the me that used to be.
It was the early nineties and I was still in Corporate America, not yet embarking upon my current career as a published author, and I loved myself some grunge music.
Mind you, I wasn’t a goth chick (which is more metal and punk anyway) or one of those girls who didn’t wash her hair for weeks or anything like that, although I did rock Doc Martens, cutoff jean shorts and the like (when I was away from the office), but it was more the fashion of the time than an immersion in being a hardcore grunge-biter. I’ve always been a music-head, so I was listening to all manner of stuff. Some of the best hip-hop ever made was hitting back then, and I was all over that, too.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was totally into what was coming out of Seattle. The music…oh my goodness…it made my creative head and heart just swell. The lyrics, the arrangements, the grit, the brutal honesty (I mean, how can you top words like “I’d rather be with an animal” in Pearl Jam’s hard-driving tune about being in a torturous, punishing relationship?).
…also possessed a voice that was simply astonishing…real, pure, gritty, soulful—had the phenomenal album, Superunknown.
This, plus lots of others I haven’t mentioned, like REM and Alice In Chains (not all were from Seattle), and scads of hip-hop and Prince (lots of Prince), was some of the music I wrote a lot of my first material to. There was a liberation to it all. What made the above four bands so special was they were each fronted by charismatic singers (Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Scott Weiland, respectively), who could really sing, and they all had songs that were dominating the charts. Chris went on to front the ridiculously fantastic supergroup Audioslave (which also features former members of the popular political rock/rap group Rage Against The Machine), and Scott Weiland went on to front the supergroup Velvet Revolver (made up of him and three members of Guns N’ Roses).
I had certain friends who rocked out with me in my appreciation of grunge music, like my long-time buddy, Troy Mathis. And I found out earlier this year that my fam, comedian CortneyGee, was a grunge-head, too.
As I drove him to the airport after he popped in for a visit, we were headbanging to Audioslave’s “Like A Stone” (if you don’t know that song, you surely, surely don’t know what you’re missing), and an assortment of Nirvana hits, from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to “Heart-Shaped Box.” Cort and I both knew the words and were gleefully singing along as I raced down the 5, to the 110, to the 105 (L.A. is a series of interconnected freeways that all lead straight to Hell), rushing to get him to LAX (Hell’s actual address). Singing those songs in the car like a couple of rebellious fiends was both great fun and a great mutual discovery.
I still pull out my old grunge when I need to let loose. And while the music of that era spawned an avalanche of indie rock and mainstream major label garage bands (doesn’t that phrase cancel itself out?) that I can’t even begin to keep up with, there was a magic about the early nineties and so-called alternative music. I miss those days. I miss that cutoff shorts-wearing…
…Doc Martens-rocking girl.
But every now and then she comes out, headbanging, grunge a-blasting, and some of my friends look at me like, “Whodaf*ck are you?????”
I smile proudly, and say, “I’m Lolita.“
And then I bang on.