Recently, @nirvanaguitars (aka Eric, a fellow Kurt Cobain gear enthusiast) used our Mission Control knobs to help complete a stunning replica of Cobain’s "Unplugged" Martin D-18E. Seeing a remake of Kurt's guitar brings back many memories, both happy and heavy. I figured I’d share.
Spring Break, April 1994, visiting my dad. At my mom’s, I did not have access to the single greatest source of media that defined youth culture at the time: MTV. But, my old man did. As a kid who absolutely loved all things music, I was so hyped for this visit. I even brought a few VHS tapes to record my favorite music videos so I could take them back with me at the end of spring break.
Kurt Cobain was found dead on the last day of school before break: Friday, April 8th. But that news never made it to school, so I didn’t hear about it until I woke up that Saturday and fired up the cable box (with the fake wood print and red LED display) first-thing--before I had even poured my bowl of Kix cereal.
MTV pretty much ran “Nirvana Unplugged” on a loop until I had to go back home. And yeah, I still have that VHS of the show where Kurt Loder's stilted and awkward "breaking news" moment greets the viewer after every advertising break. That week was one of the single biggest developments in my music life. I guess “man crush” is the word for the non-romantic obsession that I developed for Kurt that week (And, side note: We need a better term for this).
I must have watched that performance thirty times (if you’d like to as well, I uploaded a VHS rip of my actual recording here). I even transferred it to cassettes for my friends. "Unplugged" wasn’t released on CD/tape until November of 1994, so we felt pretty cool pulling up to high school blasting, "The Man Who Sold the World" when no one else could.
@nirvanaguitars shows off his guitar, re-made to be as close to the Martin D-18E as possible. So cool!
It’s interesting how music gear fetishes (again, for lack of a better term) occur. When I worked at a music house in my 20s, I was with a bunch of Gen X composers, and The Edge was their guy. Anything new about him and U2 was discussed endlessly. Remember when Apple installed a U2 album on everyone’s iPhones without asking? That was an entertaining work week of arguments between them and us elder millennials over who was the better guitar player: Jonny Greenwood or The Edge.
I wonder who or what will be the gear and musician influences for impressionable teenagers coming up now? Got some predictions? Share 'em with us!