Showing posts with label Nirvana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nirvana. Show all posts

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Nirvana: The 'Greatest' American Rock Band

Ask anyone what the "greatest" rock band ever is, and the person will probably answer The Beatles.

That's a fair and correct answer. But if you ask anyone the greatest American rock band, and they'll most likely say an array of bands they didn't realize were British.

Then, a discussion and debate ensue. If you haven't realized it, England has a stranglehold on the "greatest" rock bands of all-time discussion.

To me, the top five "greatest" bands of all-time are: 1) The Beatles, 2) Rolling Stones, 3) Led Zeppelin, 4) The Who, 5) Pink Floyd. ... All British!

A lot of other key bands, including the Kinks and Queen, also are British. So when it comes to the United States, this is a tough list to figure.

Add to that the rugged individualism and solo acts in the United States, that it becomes even harder. Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Prince and Elvis are, thus, eliminated because they belong more on a solo artist list. ... Of course, all of this is highly subjective.

So where does that leave us? Well, Nirvana is No. 1 — kind of by default. To get such a title, influence also is a factor, and Nirvana had that.

And why make a list anyway? I can't explain this, just as I cannot explain why I would make mixed tapes of songs for girls I liked.

A list phenomenon exists, and this is pointed out in the recent book "But What If We're Wrong?" by Chuck Klosterman when he talks of "The Book of Lists" (1977).  He writes, "The library in my sixth-grade classroom contained many books that one ever touched. It, however, include one book that my entire class touched compulsively: The Book of Lists."

The "greatest" American rock bands of all-time:

1. Nirvana. Kurt Cobain passed away in 1994. There is a chance that his death ended rock 'n' roll — in the sense that it is exceptionally unlikely any "greatest" band can make the list after 1994.

Jack White and the White Stripes and/or Raconteurs is the only post-Cobain musician with a chance for that. In Klosterman's book, Eddie Van Halen says, "For generations, rock music was always there. For whatever reason, it doesn't feel like it's coming back this time."

Hip hop and pop music today has made rock an outsider for current music trends. I just don't see another band coming along that develops the significance of the bands on this list, but despite what the Internet message boards say, I am not a soothsayer.

2. Guns N' Roses. GNR holds up and in some ways is better than Nirvana. Hardly any band has an album that compares to "Appetite for Destruction," although Axl appears to be a fa-tass-e now.
3. The Grateful Dead. I was never really a Deadhead, but I got to respect the longevity, avid fans and music. I wish they rocked harder, though.

4. Aerosmith. A solid, likable band. But this crew does not belong in the same conversation as the Beatles, Stones or Zeppelin.

5. The Doors. Mojo risin'!

6. Lynyrd Skynyrd. Beyond "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama" and maybe a couple other hits, does anyone really listen to Skynyrd?

7. Metallica. Holy crap, we're old! Did you know that Metallica is in its 35th year of existence. Yes, 35th, not 25th. Yowsers!

8. The Eagles. I'm sure there are some who might argue the Eagles could be No. 1 on this list. But I just despite the Eagles. In ways I can't explain, I just really never want to hear an Eagles song.

9. Pearl Jam. Way to speak up in class, Jeremy.
10. Creedence Clearwater Revival. It's tricky here, but CCR edges Van Halen, the Beach Boys (I don't consider that stuff rock), R.E.M. and everybody else I can think. "There's a bathroom on the right."


Friday, March 11, 2016

Craft beer is dead

Craft beer is dead.

It's gone the way of grunge rock, and, man, that's a bummer because "corporate rock still sucks."

Of course, anyone enamored by the craft beer craze will say, "You've got to be kidding me, man. Craft beer is taking over the world!"

Sure. Maybe, economically. But we all know that once the frat boys like it, it's dead — especially with anything remotely artistic. And even the lamest of frat boys is liking craft beer nowadays.

Craft beer is to 2016 as grunge rock is to 1992. Grapefruit Sculpin is sold at Target now, and Ballast Point —Sculpin's Brewery —just sold for an insane amount of bones to the corporation that owns Robert Mondavi wines, Corona, Pacifico and more.

And do you want to hear the price tag for this "craft brewery"? It's $1 billion. Yes, that's a "B." Ballast Point got bought for ten times $100 million.

I'm astounded by the market value of Ballast Point. I love Ballast Point's beers, but that price tag gave me this pop culture epiphany:

The mighty tasty Grapefruit Sculpin is equivalent to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the song that took 1990s alternative rock into the mainstream, and that's what's happening with Ballast Point taking India Pale Ales into the mainstream. In the present, we may not see this, but we will be seeing Sculpin more and more. We'll look back to this sale as the apex of the craft beer explosion.

Sure, there were plenty of popular grunge songs before "Smells Like Teen Spirit." There also were plenty of popular craft beers and IPAs before the Grapefruit Sculpin. But nothing has had the impact of Nirvana and the $1 billion price tag Ballast Point recently got.

A craft beer aficionado might point out that Chicago's Goose Island might have brought IPAs into the mainstream when it sold to Anheuser-Busch for $38.8 million in 2011. Well, that price tag just doesn't hack it compared to Ballast Point's. But Goose Island is going to be successful and mainstream, and I liken the company to Pearl Jam.

St. Patrick's Day is less than a week away, and Guinness has its own "Nitro IPA" on the shelves. That company knows what's up with the marketplace. Right? No need to dish out $38 million to another brewery to do that. We're seeing more and more craft beers in grocery stores, but that doesn't mean they're on indie labels.

Hey, I'm going to love great rock 'n' roll and tasty beers forever, regardless of who makes them. But I have a feeling we're all going to look back on 2016 as a time when craft beer went from being cool to being overexposed.

In 20 years, we'll still have Ballast Point and Goose Island because of the corporations behind them. But those corporations are going to wipe out a lot of killer craft breweries.

I'm hoping Stone, Great Lakes and Ninkasi continue kicking butt and stay independent. It's hard to picture now, but who knows? In 20 years, we might be looking at them like the Screaming Trees, Mudhoney and the Melvins.

Gone and forgotten, but, damn, at the time, we loved them!