People like to compare Kurt Cobain to Jesus, except Justin Bieber, who likes to compare the former to himself. My mom never believed in Cobain — upon seeing me thrash around with my headphones — and the Jews (the people, not the band) never believed in Jesus. As for the Silver Jews, there’s a line that goes: Hey dad, Jesus had long hair / and dad says, that’s right son / but Jesus walked everywhere. Few believed Jared Leto, in Chapter 27 (2007), when he played Mark Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon, the latter who Kurt has also been compared to. The real Chapman was carrying The Catcher in the Rye, the teenager’s bible, and one may recall Franny, in another Salinger book, carrying The Way of a Pilgrim, a monk’s and/or self-absorbed depressed girl’s bible. And now Jared Leto has played Cobain, rather well I admit, actually singing “Pennyroyal Tea,” (In Utero, 1993) resulting in a quick Google yield that presented me with Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars, as I was not aware the dude could sing. Yes, pop gets confusing and incestuous after a while. Too many creative freaks inside the kiddy pool.
Buddha was bald, Jesus had long hair. This east-meets-west haircut war may be the metaphor of our time. Buddhism is sponsored by nothing, whereas Christianity — in its inextricable Americanness — made a deal with Dove shampoo (for sensitive hair). What’s left — after gunshots to the face and back of the head, after the books or movies we did or didn’t read or see — are two somewhat annoying widows, Courtney Love and Yoko Ono, who have successfully marketed their screaming. That sounds really mean, but mean started when we nailed a long-haired gentle hippy to the cross. The argument over whether or not he has risen has caused millions to die, mini auto-crucifixions of our time.
I remember the first time I heard the opening chords to “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” in the backyard listening to my high school radio station 90.5 KVHS Sunday afternoon while forced by my dad to water the roses. When Grohl’s massive drums kicked in, it was, well, nirvana. Punk may have died long ago, but something in me came alive. This seems cheesy to say, but trust me – my cheese is aged well. David Grohl went on to head the Foo Fighters, whose drummer looks rather like Jared Leto playing Kurt Cobain playing the warmest chord that ever lived. The tales we tell each other never end. I had a Cobainian haircut in college, and I annoyed the fuck out of those living on my dormitory hall trying to sing Pennyroyal Tea’s “teaaaa” at the high-B?, my fingers locked at the 6th fret, the rigamortis of a teen going on 20. I will admit I was severely off key. “Jesus Christ,” someone said, a girl no doubt, another dumb band.