Friday, January 27, 2006

Smells Like Teen Spirit - Part Two

Grunge Lives In Our Hearts: The exciting sequel to Smells Like Teen Spirit - Part One!!

Submitted by Drunk Ted:

I did get to meet Kurt Cobain several times during the next few years. He would be at every single Mudhoney show in L.A. from '91-'92. And by then I was writing for Flipside, so I was "cool" enough to sneak backstage. The first time I met him, it was backstage at the Palace. I just found out earlier that day that Al wanted me to write a regular column for Flipside. A long time dream of mine, but I kept my cool when I found out. I was still going to San Diego on most weekends, so I would try and get my friends gigs for shows up in L.A. at Al's Bar and Raji's. I made fliers for a Drip Tank show at Al's Bar which featured a Calvin & Hobbes strip, and brought them to the show. I didn't want to waste them, so I only gave them to people I knew would be in town and would probably like them. L.A. is a really snobby place. And everyone has an agenda.

This couple had just walked in to Mudhoney's dressing room where everyone was hanging out. They looked like Kurt and Courtney, but you couldn't really tell. I mean, the guy was wearing a homemade shirt and wasn't really talking to anyone. The girl was all over the place, talking loudly and smoking. I'm thinking to myself, "No, that can't be them. First of all, the guy is wearing a really bad imitation of what Kurt wore on SNL a few months back, and Courtney is pregnant, so there's no way she'd be smoking."

I walked up to them and said "Hey, are you going to be in town next week? My friends' band, Drip Tank, is playing Al's Bar and they're really good." They said "No" but the guy took the flier anyways, examining it. I started a conversation with him, but it was really hard. Every time I asked the guy a question, the girl would butt in and be really loud. It was one of those conversations we were all kind of trapped in, but no one could get out of.

I knew they knew Mudhoney and there was going to be a big party at their hotel room, but I was alone and didn't really want to show up alone to a party where I didn't really know anyone. Matt Lukin was giving directions, and I asked "Kurt" and "Courtney" if they needed a ride. Surely, if I showed up with them, I could party a bit more (with Mudhoney!) and see if these people were really "Kurt" and "Courtney". By this time, everyone had cleared out, except for me, Kurt, & Courtney. They said they were going to take a cab to the party, and I'm going "Are you sure? Cabs cost money!" Kurt replied "We like cabs.". My chances to going to the after party were diminishing, and I knew it. I said "Nice talking to you two" and left.

While walking up the stairs to leave, I heard the girl loudly berating the guy. I couldn't really hear what they were saying, but it may have been something like "He was nice! Why couldn't you be a little more sociable?!?!". A few seconds later, someone ran up the stairs after me. Kurt held out his hand and said "Hey, my name's Kurt". I shook his hand and said "I know. My name's Ted. It was nice to meet you." They walked out after me to an empty street and hopped into a cab. I went home and called up Drip Tank to say that "I fliered Kurt Cobain for you guys!".

In retrospect, it would've been pretty embarassing for them to be in my car. I had just gotten it and put a bunch of stickers on it: "Sub Pop", "Black Flag", and "Nirvana". It was a new car too and they looked totally out of place. No wonder it was broken into 6 times in as many months until I took the stickers off.

I met, or should I say, ran into Kurt & Courtney quite a few times after that. Since Kurt was not at all sociable, Nirvana was at the top of the charts, I never really bothered him after that. Even when I had my full fledged Flipside credentials and they were name dropping Flipside and Maximum Rockandroll in almost every interview, I wouldn't go up and say "hi" to him. I actually felt sorry for Kurt. He really did seem tortured. Or maybe just bothered. Most likely depressed. And he talked so softly, that you could barely hear him.

I snuck backstage at the Sonic Youth / Mudhoney show at Castaic Lake. I was being introduced to Courtney (again) by Cake from Flipside. Courtney introduced herself to me as "GG Love" and was kind of messed up. Kurt was holding a guitar, getting ready to do a surprise solo acoustic number or two. Whenever someone would even look at him, he would just turn away with his guitar, tuning it or going over the song he was going to do ('Where Did You Sleep Last Night'). I didn't want to miss this, so I left the confines of the backstage area and went out to see him play. Security would not let me back in.

I have met Chris (now Krist) several times, but never Dave. This is despite seeing the Foo Fighters open up for Beck and Possum Dixon at Spaceland for their first L.A. appearance. I was in the front row there and got some great photos of Dave and his embroidered Guinness shirt.

I saved Courtney's ass once! This is my favorite story!

It was the Supersuckers, Claw Hammer and Mudhoney at the Hollywood Palladium. Me and about 10 other people were sitting on the side of the stage watching Claw Hammer rock out. I was sitting about 3 feet away from someone probably famous (a girl in Hole? An actress? Hell, I don't know, EVERYONE is somebody in L.A.) and there were about 10 people behind us. Someone had spilled a beer, which is why there was no one sitting in between me and that other girl.

Courtney comes over starts talking excitedly (everything she did was "excitedly") to the girl. Courtney was just about to sit in the beer. She was on her feet, knees bent, straddling over the spilt beer, teetering over whether to stay and chat or get back up. I could see it. Everyone behind me could see it. I could just tell that everyone was waiting for her to sit her ass down in the spilt beer so they could laugh at her. I didn't have the heart to let that happen, so I tapped her on her back. No answer. Tapped again. She slapped my hand away. Tapped again, she did it again only way harder. I looked to the people behind me and shrugged and said to myself "Oh well, at least I tried. I'm not going to try again if she's going to be like that."

So about another minute or so of her rocking back and forth, deciding on whether she's going to sit or not, she turns to me and screams "WHAT!??!?!" I pointed to the beer that was about 3 inches away from her butt and said "I didn't want you to sit in that." She was kind of embarrassed and said "Oh! Thank you!".

And that is how I saved Courtney's ass!