Monday, April 14, 2014

Punk Rock Gender Parity

Backstage Life
I am so happy about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame event and how it went so well. Earlier that week there were three long days of rehearsals in NYC. I feel we conjured the spirit of the band, and we could not have done that alone. This, for me, is a bittersweet notion as we all miss Kurt so much. But considering we were inducted, the show had to go on. Joan Jett was first on my list to be out front. I spoke to Dave about it and he ran with the idea of having all women lead. We felt that would be a good tribute to Kurt and what Nirvana was about. 

It was a good balance of females as Joan Jett and Kim Gordon are matriarchs of Punk Rock, while St. Vincent and Lorde represent the powerful up-and-coming women in Rock. Every one of these performances nailed a Nirvana tune in their own way. Joan - Smells Like Teem Spirit, Kim - Aneurism, St. Vincent - Lithium and Lorde - All Apologies. I had fun on the last song because I got to play accordion and all of our guests were on stage for a gala closing! Our set will be broadcast in high quality television in May so check it out.

We also did a club gig afterward that was a lot of fun. I will have more on that soon but thank you to J Mascis and John McCauley for your great contributions!!!!

Our "all female" Hall of Fame set also had me thinking about the political realm (Imagine that!) At FairVote we have done a report regarding the state of women's representation. I will have more to say about this, especially how at-large districts tend to put more women in office, at another time. Until then, enjoy this short and engaging video about the study narrated by Marie Wilson.

39 comments:

  1. Krist, thanks for this blog post! I love the idea of four females leading the vocals in the band, and the balance between old and new.

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  2. Where do you think the direction of Rock music is heading towards?

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  4. You, Dave and Pat brought tears to my eyes that night. It was simply stunning and amazing to see u guys with Courtney and His family celebrating ur legacy. Thanks for once again giving me a special moment to my life. Jorge Delou, Rio / Brazil

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  5. Krist you have no idea of the importance of Nirvana in the life of many people like me.
    Sadly Kurt left us early but, thanks to you guys He still among us!

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  6. I love that it was all ladies for your induction performances! Can't wait to watch it in May, so proud of you guys! :)

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  8. Krist, I was at the event and it was amazing! You guys made excellent choices and Kurt would have been thrilled. I was so upset that my wife and I didn't know about the surprise show...who was in the know?!? I can't believe I missed my one opportunity to see you guys live for a full set...my band [velvet] opened for Eyes Adrift at the Black Cat in DC a few years ago...it has def been the highlight of my musical "career". Anyways, my wife and I were so happy to be a part of the event and your band really helped define my attitude (a good thing) about music and culture.

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  9. Krist, do you like also a Courtney Love? That hug did seemed as a fake emotion for journalists.

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  10. Hi Krist, here's a story I wrote on you awhile back -- cheers:
    http://www.bothell-reporter.com/news/82985722.html

    -- Andy Nystrom

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  11. Would you consider a tour with Dave, Pat, and the all-star female vocalists filling in for Kurt?

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  12. when you thanked the nirvana fans first I lost it.

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  13. When thinking about gender equality how about instead of focusing on female front women which is expected in some respects, how about focusing on female instrumentalists? There are tons of us that work real hard, are incredibly proficient, yet still aren't taken seriously or are just looked at as a gimmick and are still ignored when we walk into the guitar section of a music store / talked down to.

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  14. Krist, thanks for posting. Your band changed my life, but as a lover of underground music and not pop for the most part. any sort of awards show usually makes me illicit a groan.
    That said, I think you guys handled the event with 100% integrity and aplomb. Being in a situation were you were forced to pick a guest singer, going all female was awesome, esp. Kim, Clark and Jett. Getting to see you, Dave and Pat onstage again and everyone like Dale and Dan and Chad in the same room was just icing. So congratulations! Very emotional in every direction, too bad KC wasn't there to be a part. Thank you so much for your music.
    John

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  15. I loved the girls fronting Nirvana, Krist. (then again, I would, wouldn't I?) Great call. Think kurdt would've liked it too.

    So, CONGRATS to my favorite flower sniffin', kitty pettin', baby kissin' corporate rock whores...lol I kid, I kid. So proud of you all!

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  16. I loved the performance and your chosen group of vocalists were perfect.

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  17. Dear Chris
    Watching everything connected with Nirvana is still so emotional… Last week’s interview on the tonight show and most of all :the hall of fame..! My God… To see you and Dave and Pat playing those songs again…the accordion, that colorful guitar, your faces…that brought tears to my eyes, heartbreaking..I can hardly imagine how You must have felt…!……..that gives me goose bumps I feel like giving all of you a big hug.. love you guys! Thank you! And to choose ladies to sing that was genius! It think it was out of respect for Kurt….I have to say this: I’m one of those whose lives have been enriched because Kurt lived and because of the music You have created together! Chapeau bas! I wish you all the best!

    If you could also send this whole message to Dave I’d be grateful beyond words! The things I told you here I want to tell him as well.

    best regards
    Magdalena
    From Poland
    Ps I was very lucky to meet Dave in Poland in 1996 when he played here in Sopot and I have so much to thank him for but I don’t want this letter to be too long so I’ d rather stop here

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  18. Krist

    Congrats on Nirvana's Hall of Fame induction. Having such great female artists like St. Vincent and Joan Jett fronting the band was pure genius and turned a very bittersweet moment into an inspired tribute to the spirit of Nirvana and Kurt. I was truly moved.

    I have fond memories of the pre-Nevermind Nirvana crashing at my house on your first tour through Ann Arbor, MI. You guys were so cool and down to earth. Ben Shepard was with you as well and would soon join Soundgarden and become a rock star too! Couldn't have happened to a better bunch of guys!

    Thanks for the memories and the incredible music.

    John Burke

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  19. KRIST

    As someone who think about KURT everyday, and ever since your music came in to my life in 1991, I've been "carrying" KURT's spirit in ideals and attitude, I feel this performance was a blessing.

    I have been waiting for that day, 10.04.2014, since the possibility of NIRVANA joining the "rock & roll hall of fame" was announced and when it finally arrived, it really did feel as if NIRVANA came back to life as much as possible.

    Words cannot begin to capture what your music has brought to me,
    and for that I truly love you.

    EYAL

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  20. I think this was a great move. As Nirvana Were fighting for gay rights, Removing sexist masculine Male dominated thinking and of course there charity work for the poor female rape victims of the Bosnian wars. great to see you guys rocking out to NIRVANA tunes again. Pity Im the sames age as Frances and i wasnt old enough to experience the band but as an adult now i think NIRVANA is just timeless and your music really appeals to teens and young adults to this day!

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  21. A particular brilliance has always defined Nirvana, which all the leads characterized. They were perfect, and it took me awhile to realize how perfect they were, and why. The warmth that came through in your interviews...can't thank you enough for it, Krist. As a fan from the start, it meant a lot. A whole lot.

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  22. All Apologies turned on my waterworks. It was so intimate and beautiful with everyone up there together in support of the music, each other, and Kurt.
    You, Pat, and Dave sounded so good together too. I hope you don't stop making music together. There's a magical chemistry that you still have. Thank you, Krist. :.(

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  23. I know you've heard it millions of times, but here it is once again: Thank you for the music :) Nirvana are more than a band to me, the way I see the world and hear music changed from the first day I heard a Nirvana song.

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  24. krist
    if you go through coeur d'alene stop for a beer. would mean the world to me if we could play a few songs together in my dirty old garage/bodyshop, you could see my work and dusty vintage jcm..yes! i have a really cruddy bass you could use :) but you might want to just hit me in the head with it though....yeah, its that bad!
    after serving overseas i have come home without my passion for playing... i really want it back...it was my drug! maybe you could help.

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  25. Can't wait to see the performances on HBO (as the YouTube cell phone cameras don't do the music justice). The small club gig sounds like it was awesome. Heard there were cameras set up? Hope we get to see.

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  26. Very cool, I'm fan of the sound that you did before. Never let it die, by God's amore!!!

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  27. Please don't do that again! These kind of celebrations only work properly once in a lifetime. The idea of you touring these "new" show is not so good to someone who saw Nirvana alive think about. Today I read an article saying that Kurt Cobain would join you on stage as hologram. Please don't do that for money! Please don't do that as a reverence. It's kitsch!

    The fans that cheer you up today are people who don't have the opportunity of seeing you alive. Seeing this "new version" of Nirvana with Pat Smear playing the lead guitars is terribly awfull.

    In the name of our Jesus Grunge please don't do that again, especially by now.
    Sorry for being so unpleasant.

    Cheers,
    Marcus

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    1. The Kurt hologram is a hoax.

      Anyway, the real story here is women in punk and politics, let's not forget.

      http://socialnewsdaily.com/35010/kurt-cobain-hologram-hoax-nirvana-is-not-playing-coachella/

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  29. Hey Krist,

    Thanks. I wish I had the presence of mind to write something 20 years earlier, but being a self conscious kid at the time I was totally absorbed in just relating to the entire experience that was going on, and being put on display. All the times picking up a guitar, stepping up to the mic, rocking out with friends in high school, and desperately trying to belt out a tune that was worth a shit in front of a few friends in so-and-so's mom's living room I look back and the group that showed me it was OK to just rage and not give a shit and not feather my hair and listen to Rush was you guys. And now 20 years later I find myself living in the last place I thought I would ever be, and I figure maybe I should say thanks now. Pass it on to Dave and Chad if you would as well cause both of them were part of it.

    Glad you guys got inducted. Of course it was never a question.

    If you're ever in the dirty deen, and see a middle aged punk wandering around town in a spotted owl hat, say hi. I'll buy you a beer.

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  30. Krist,
    hearing you speak so genuinely and affectionately of Kurt over these past few weeks has really touched me and warmed my heart. I can feel how much you miss Kurt. Thank you for your openess and kindness, and inclusivity. You have such a generosity of spirit, and it's so beautiful to see you play those songs again. It made me realize again how much you brought to NIrvana, how that joy and inclusive quality that lives in that music is very much from you.

    I miss Kurt even though I never knew him and was too young to know him, and even though I didnt know his music until after he was gone, his music touched such a deep part of me, when I was so confused about life and myself and bewildered at the insanity of the world, Kurts words and music made sense.

    Nirvana changed my world completely...almost ten years after the fact, I was born in 1987, but I remember the exact day so vividly, when I first listened to Nevermind, and how I laid on my bed at age 13 with headphones on listening to it again and again and again all night, in awe. My world was completely changed. It woke something deep in me, that said THAT is what I have to do.

    Kurt's spirit shine's so deeply through his art and and all the people he has touched. His presence was so strong that night. He lives in so many hearts.

    Thank you Krist, for being so open, and respectful and kind in carrying on Nirvana's legacy.

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    1. I felt the same way about Krist's poise. I'm only a little younger than the band members themselves, and encountered them before they became famous. Nirvana deeply affected me in each stage of their career, bringing something unexpected each time, astounding me. I looked up to them, and Kurt, especially, as the front man. I never filled that gap with any other artist.

      The anniversary has dredged up some difficult feelings of loss I've ignored for 20 years. Krist gentle references to Kurt were soothing. I'm glad you felt the same way.

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  31. Thanks Krist for posting. I was just reading an interview with Kurt Cobain, Aug 10, 93, then stumbled across your blog! His observation was that female equality in rock bands had definitely increased from the couple years prior. Kurt would have been so very pleased to have had the 4 women singers fronting Nirvana for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Very nice. :>)

    http://www.livenirvana.com/interviews/9308lr/index.html
    August 10, 1993 interview in Seattle by Laurence Romance / LiveNIRVANA.com

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  32. For a woman who was a teenager in the early-mid nineties and whose life was shaped by the mix of feminism and music of the era (including your band!) this was an incredibly moving performance. Thank you for representing that part of your cultural and musical heritage in this celebratory moment. You were such an important part of a sonic, feminist and cultural movement that affected young women, like myself, so positively and it means a great deal to see you still embrace these values and execute this event with such integrity. Thank you for always educating your fans and opening the doors for greater gender equality in music. Beyond the music, this is part of your lasting legacy.

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  33. Dude, I wept during that show. It was like a wake or something. Happy gardening.

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  34. I don't normally like the RNRHOF but i did check out the grainy sometimes far away clips on Youtube! would love to see the performances on TV! I'm a somewhat fan of Sonic Youth atleast since Cool Thing came out! I was still a kid back then never really paid atn to them beforehand but I remember the 1st night I saw it on MTV its premiere the vcr happened to record it & well that song still feels good to me all these yrs later! & played that video over & over! Anyways was great to see Kim doing Aneurism! and seeing Joan Jett do a grunge song showed me how much Courtney was inspired by her! She kinda reminded me of Courtney a little singing it lol! Thats not meant as an insult I enjoyed it. Still not sure how Kurt woulda seen an induction of the HOF though? I think he'd be proud of how it all went down! He was a huge fan of women punk groups! I remember the interviews where he'd tell the records he had purchased at the time!

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