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A Vaseline Nirvana

February 25, 2009

My pre-teen years were very influential for me, musically.  They represented my break from the well-beaten path of Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals and the oldies station to pop music.  It’s when I started listening to Ska and Punk Rock, and (more importantly), it’s when I first began to listen to Nirvana.

My good friend Zach, who I hung out with a lot as we started to learn the guitar together, first turned me on to Nevermind when I was about 11 or 12 years old.  While this would not end up being my favorite Nirvana album, it was the one I first became obsessed with.

While there were some very unfortunate side-effects of my new fandom, it was also a very big stepping stone for turning me on to new music.  This is where I actually get to the point of this post.

Nirvana’s album, Incesticide, was my favorite album of theirs.  “Why?”  You might ask–“it didn’t have any of their hit songs!  It was just a collection of B-Sides!”  It did, however, have a sound that was distinct from most of their music:


It had that persistent beat and high-energy 3-chord progression that I would later identify as “punk.”  I remember when i first heard these songs, I thought to myself, “Damn.  This is what electricity is supposed to sound like.”  This, combined with my increasing interest in 3rd Wave Ska, drove me head first into the world of Punk Rock.

However, it wasn’t until years later that I realized I had also been exposed to an entirely different genre during this period: Indie Pop.  No, no, not the twee indie pop that we’re familiar with today, but a more avant-garde version that remained fairly underground throughout its entire existence.

I was exposed to The Vaselines.

This was an important revelation to me, because I had known of their existence for years (seeing the parentheses after my much-beloved Nirvana songs denoting the fact that it was a cover song), but had never actually gone and sought out the original music.  Just before my college years, when I was delving more and more into indie music, I came across the name again, and was forced to evaluate my current taste with that of my pre-teen self.  This is what I was confronted with:


Quite a different sound, but I loved it just as much–if not more!  Not only that, but another of my favorite Nirvana songs (during my angsty days), Jesus Don’t Want Me for a Sunbeam, was actually a Vaselines track.

It was amazing for me, that so long after my Nirvana fanaticism wore off, I was brought back around to face it once again in a new form.

Anyways, I thought I’d share this with you as confronting old ghosts has been on my mind recently.  Here’s a video of Eugene Kelly’s guest appearance during one of Nirvana’s sets in 1991:


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mustaqim permalink
    March 3, 2009 11:08 pm

    First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

    Are you tension? panic?

  2. Elise permalink
    July 13, 2009 10:38 pm

    You have not updated in so long lor!

    • atrainv permalink*
      August 3, 2009 1:25 pm

      I know! I know! I’m sorry… I just lost steam after a while. Maybe once work slows down in a couple weeks I’ll try to pick it back up again.

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