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smells like teen spirit

May 6th, 2008

You know how many times the Nirvana video “Smells Like Teen Spirit” has been viewed? 11 million, eight hundred twenty-nine thousand, one hundred and 12 times, that’s how many. So far. Ah, what’s not to love about anarchist cheerleaders? So. So, so, so. Because I’m in an Oregonian-bashing kinda mood today… Did you realize the writers and editors there didn’t write shit about Nirvana until Kurt died?

I am glad newspapers are having a hard time. Serves ’em right, being so snobby all the time. Anyway, then they were all about him, once he was dead. Then they asked me (I was clerking at the time, and this was pre-Internet) could I write down all the lyrics to Smells Like Teen Spirit for them? So they could, you know? Run them in the paper? And look cool? (Me: No.) (Then called my sister’s boyfriend to laugh our asses off.) (And cry a little, cuz we were bummed out.) (Also, when you’ve had a father and an uncle commit suicide, you just take all suicides a little hard.)

It was a fun time in the Pacific Northwest, those early grungey years. It was like all the stoner guys from my neighborhood had taken over the gym (kinda like in the video) and the clubs and the streets and were rockin’ it.

And finally making some money, so they could buy something other than Top Ramen and Hamburger Helper. Then when Kurt died, it was like… last laugh on the kids who got Food Stamps. Last laugh’s on you, bitch. Ah, it harshed my mellow is what I’m saying. (You know why he named the song that, right? Cuz he was broke, couch-surfing, borrowed someone’s Teen Spirit deodorant and… there you go. Next thing you know you got a big hit song, baby.)

The buzz that went on around here, prior to Nirvana’s big break-out, it felt good. It was hot and sweaty and sexy and just felt really good. I’d already been going to the clubs for a few years (I started getting into bars, getting served when I was, uh, fourteen.) (Yes, fourteen.) (Jesus H.) (I was able to buy booze and cigarettes at the store from the time I was twelve.) (Blame it on the rain. And the curves. And the ’70s.) But the clubs during the ’80s and early ’90s — it was an especially fun time to be clubbing.

Anyway, I wasn’t a big fan of Bleach, but when Nevermind hit I was just mesmerized. I remember being at the Lotus Cardroom in downtown Portland with my girlfriend Kate, and Smells Like Teen Spirit came on. We all just went totally nuts, it was so good. It was like — punk goes disco fever. It was so fucking fun. I also loved and will never be disloyal to:

The Gits (RIP Mia Zapata, one of my favorite girls)
The Goo-Goo Dolls (don’t tease me — I saw them at the Blue Gallery and it was the funnest damn show)
Pearl Jam
Mother Love Bone
Dead Moon
The Jackals
Calamity Jane
Los Lobos
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
Public Enemy
Tori Amos
Violent Femmes
The Hellcows

Are my kids going to like all that stuff? Everything goes in these 20-year cycles, right? I better pretend, starting right now, that I don’t know or like any of it.

And they never have to know that I know all the lyrics to Smells Like Teen Spirit. By heart.


  1. Zipdodah says

    And don’t forget the TUBES! They rocked…..and so did the weekends we’d pack in my buddies beat up cadillac with pillows and jugs of wine and head to SF to hang out backstage and party, then race back to P town to make it to our ‘real’ jobs on Monday….and the O…well, you know how I feel bout THEM wm!

    May 6th, 2008 | #

  2. Vixen says

    I missed the 80s. I try to live what I missed through tv shows and my kids. But after I graduated (80), I worked a year or so. Planned a wedding and married (82). Worked a year and had the first baby(84) and second baby (86). The rest of the 80s was diapers and such. I heard they were fun and the clubs–oh the clubs! I hear, anyway.

    May 6th, 2008 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    Vixen, it sucked. You didn’t miss a thing.

    May 6th, 2008 | #

  4. BlackFriend says

    I think someone from Fishbone tried to pick me up when I was like 15 or so. Being a teen in the scene in the 80’s kinda rocked. especially in SF. Sorry hadta brag a little bit.

    May 6th, 2008 | #

  5. WackyMommy says

    BlackFriend, you know who tried to pick me up? Billy Idol in Bergdorf Goodman, New York City in 1987. That’s right. And River Phoenix, here in River City, in 1990. Don’t you even start with me Little Miss Hott 15 Year Old. (Ha! I’m all, Billy Idol!! Blech. But River? Oh, River. Damn.)

    May 6th, 2008 | #

  6. Funsize says

    Awww…memories. I loved grunge and rock back in the 90s. The music actually had substance, as opposed to what’s on the radio now. And I would’ve killed to see Goo Goo Dolls, lucky! And not all Nirvana is dead and gone, David Grohl is excellent in Foo Fighters.

    May 6th, 2008 | #

  7. BlackFriend says

    After GenX, was Billy really relevant? so sez snooty former 15 year old hot chick. I still think anonymous Fishbone dude trumps.

    but hey it’s all about dancing with the stars now, I’m kewl like THAT!

    May 6th, 2008 | #

  8. WackyMommy says

    Funsize, my friend’s kid went to an Audioslave show a few years ago — she was all, “It was only old people there! I mean… whoops, sorry.” Me: “Audioslave?” My sister, “Ding-dong — who’s in Audioslave? You don’t know?” hahahaha.

    BlackFriend, “fishbone is red hot/fishbone is red hot/fishbone is red hot…”

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  9. Zipdodah says

    Speaking of pickups…..Steve Perry from Journey and his gang tried very hard to lure me into the Paramount Theater while taking a break in the Park Blocks….while his voice was very hot, the rest of him, not so…..burst my bubble..Concerts were fun back then, the clubs were out of control.

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  10. WackyMommy says

    Zip, there was your chance!

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  11. Zipdodah says

    Yeah, daughter number one’s favorite line: “Steve Perry coulda been my DAD!!!!!!”
    uh, honey…….

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  12. Steve says

    I’m thinking, with a voice like that, I don’t think he could have been anybody’s father.

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  13. BlackFriend says

    um, Steve I’m from San Francisco. Despite my punk rawk past, I’ll cut ya behind some Steve Perry. However. . . . . it is open season on Huey Lewis.

    “he’s tearin’ you apart, oh, everydayyyyyyyyyyyyy, tearin’ you apart, oh girl what can ya sayyyyyyyyy”

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  14. WackyMommy says

    BlackFriend, with you. It’s that damn J.D. from “Scrubs.” He’s got me loving Journey in some funky way I never did in my youth. Uh. Funky? and Journey? in the same sentence, even.

    I’m thinking Journey tribute band for our 10th wedding anniversary this September.

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  15. Steve says

    Damn, ladies, if you think this is sexy, I’m gonna quit playing hockey and start taking estrogen supplements.

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  16. Steve says

    Oh, and here’s better version of that Nirvana video. Heh heh heh.

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  17. WackyMommy says

    Damn, Steve P. has a kinda ’70s slutty house-mom thing going there. Weird Al, always a delite.

    May 7th, 2008 | #

  18. Zipdodah says

    Hmmm….now I’m thinkin I’ll tell Daughter #1……hey, Steve Perry coulda been your mother….

    May 8th, 2008 | #

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