Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

The New York Public Library will be closed August 30th through September 1st in observance of Labor Day.

Popular Music

'It's safe to say... Don't quote me on that.' An interview about Nirvana

Share

My name is Jennifer and I deliver soft hitting journalism, right in your face, but it’s soft, so it doesn’t hurt. It’s like a pillow fight against knowledge… Everybody wins. Today’s topic: NIRVANA—The effects of Nirvana on a then-16 year old boy.

I’m sitting here with Bobby “I’m all about safety” Pin getting an insight on his opinions on one of my favorite grunge bands: Nirvana.

So, Bobby when was the first time you heard the band?

It was 1991 and I was 16.

Were there many kids listening to them at your school?

No, most of them were into Guns N' Roses and Metallica. Whoever wasn’t into that was into dance music.

What was the first song you listened to?

It could quassibly* have been Teen Spirit.
(*Actually said during interview. A combination of quite & possibly)

All Right, so where was the first time you saw the men behind the music and how did you feel about it?

I saw them on Saturday Night Live, they destroyed their instruments on stage. Looking back it seems a little *yawn* but back then I was like Oh this is nice.

Did enjoying this band's music have any effect on your wardrobe?

No not at all, I was already me.

Bobby… Did you stick pins in your clothing?

Hahaha.. Yeah but it had nothing to do with Nirvana.. I had this denim jacket my uncle gave me and because it was falling apart… I used safety pins to keep it together.

Why was it falling apart?

Stop, drop, and roll.

Did you have anything bad gluteus maximus on it besides your pins?

The little man from Einsturzende Neubauten, that was kinda bad gluteus maximus.

What?

It's a German industrial band.

Okay... Dude, why didn't you just sew the jacket?

...Because I didn't go to the library to get sewing books.

Good answer. How did this new music affect the kids in your school?

Well it was just me, one skateboarder kid and one other kid on the fringes that were listening to punk/hardcore music. A few months later it was an outbreak of hair dye and punk rock tees. I was like oh this is interesting. Interesting in a good way—not in an eye rolling sarcastic way.

Were there any extreme cases of kids changing their appearance or behavior?

There was this one girl, kinda mainstream, kinda pretty, one day she came into school with half of her head shaved.

ALRIGHT—well that's extreme. 
Did that make you mad, that kids were suddenly changing because of what they were seeing and hearing?

Not really, I enjoyed the fact that other people finally tuned in. It changed the cultural landscape of the school in a good way. 

Wicked, your attitude on that subject is pretty cool.
Where were you when Kurt Cobain died?

I was in a car in New Jersey and I heard it on the radio with my girlfriend.

What did you think?

...Oh well, we'll never see if he had more than a couple of good albums in him.

Haha, oh man that's cold.
Did it affect kids, did they like freak out and burn candles?

I was in my college years around this time, and it didn't really phase anyone around me.

That's pretty sad.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on.

All time favorite songs?

"About a Girl," "In Bloom," "Territorial Pissings."

You "like all [their] pretty songs," don’t you, Bobby?

Sure.

Nice. Did Nirvana influence you?

No, I was influenced by Black Flag, Minor Threat, and the Misfits at a younger age.

Oh...  

Well thanks for that Bobby..

You’re welcome. Wait... actually Nirvana did influence me. I indirectly started listening to the Raincoats because of Nirvana. I believe Kurt Cobain was a big fan which lead to a renewed interest in the Raincoats which lead to them rereleasing their recordings. I had borrowed the Raincoats self titled 1979 release from my friend and fell in love with it. I remember reading Kurt Cobain's comments in the liner notes and he spoke of the Raincoats with a reverence. I still have that CD, I never gave it back to my friend. I feel a little remorseful about that.

So Nirvana did not effect this 16 year old boy much, but they obviously changed the world he lives in—And the world he lives inis my world today.

Sliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTV Unplugged in New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Utero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nevermind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Great post!

Great post!

Kurt Cobain

When Kurt Cobain died, I was in junior high school & the teachers turned all the TVs on in the cafeteria so we could watch the news. I remember people crying & hugging each other. It was intense! Also, I just saw the Raincoats a few months ago at MoMa! They still rock & have new songs that are amazing.

Kurt

I was just out of college and living in Seattle. I was at work downtown when the news came and none of us could believe it. We thought it was a hoax at first and when we realized the truth we all just started crying. A few days later I went to the vigil at Seattle Center and it was so intense and nuts. There was a mosh pit and people singing Nirvana songs and someone read out messages from the other band members. It was a day I will never forget.

In the early 90's, I was in a

In the early 90's, I was in a band with two of my fringe-element skateboarding friends. Two things that made me stand out was that I am a girl, and was a straight A student. The benefits of that played in when I was able to persuade one of the teachers in the school that they should let my band play at an awards ceremony. As soon as the first few notes of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" played through the amps- the crowd erupted. We actually received a standing ovation! Now you might think this is a story that has been enhanced with the passage of time, but it's not. There is video taped footage to prove it. Thanks Kurt! It was a great little taste of the musical spotlight!

Another one of Kurdt's

Another one of Kurdt's favorite bands that became one of my very favorites is <a href="http://catalog.nypl.org/search/Yvaselines">the Vaselines</a> from Scotland. Nirvana covered "Molly's Lips," "Son of a Gun" and "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam."

I love me some Vaselines

I love me some Vaselines too.....so I almost feel sacrilegious saying this....but Nirvana's Molly's Lips is better than the Vaselines Molly's Lips.....and I concur sunbeams are not made like me either...

Great Blog! Keep up the good

Great Blog! Keep up the good work Jenny!! P.S I'm pretty sure I know Bobby

I love love love your blog!

I love love love your blog! Good job Jenny =) P.S I think i know Bobby.

AWESOME BLOG!!!! LOVES ITTTT

AWESOME BLOG!!!! LOVES ITTTT ! Nirvana Rocks ;D

Nirvana!!!

AWESOME BLOG!!!!! Love it Nirvana ROCKS! ;D

this is amazing , great job I

this is amazing , great job I really enjoyed this !

Interesting read,keep up the

Interesting read,keep up the good work! How often will you be updating your blog? I would love to see more :)

Ohh yeah.... ;)

Ohh yeah.... ;)

If there has ever been a good

If there has ever been a good reason to introduce Umlauts into the English language, Einstürzende Neubauten is the one.

Awwwwwwww umlauts.....I'm

Awwwwwwww umlauts.....I'm sorry for not realizing your place in all of this...my apologies !!

AY BOBBAY

Bobby Pins, your interactions make me giggle! :D

One worth= Earth, "Divine and

One worth= Earth, "Divine and Bright".

whoops that is more than one

whoops that is more than one word.

So.....

You guys need to start an at least bi-weekly Podcast called "Bob and Me".

Oh yeahh

and we'll have guest stars naturally..

Where Were You When Kurt Was Shot?

I first heard Nirvana in 1989, on WNYU radio. Their album Bleach quickly became a soundtrack to that era. My friend Chris and I flew out to Seattle for Spring Break in April 1995, a year after Kurt's death. We rented a car and drove down the coast to Aberdeen, WA where Kurt grew up. We asked random people in the town, do you know where Kurt Cobain lived? Pretty much no one knew who we were talking about... So strange... It was a small town, and eventually we found "the bridge" of "underneath the bridge lore". It was turned into a shrine, with pages of Rolling Stone torn out and plastered on the walls, lots of graffiti, and RIP type stuff. A worthwhile pilgrimage.

You never told me that story

You never told me that story !! And look at you and your street cred...listening to them in 1989 !!

Nirvana caused one young man

Nirvana caused one young man to lose ol' bob for a friend AND a swell Raincoats album!? This is a tragic tale!!

Post new comment