JUNE 25th, 2011
Today I ventured out to Lake View cemetery to pay my respects to “The Little Dragon” Bruce Lee and his son Brandon Lee. One a true legend, the other on his way to becoming one.
Bruce Lee died on July 20th, 1973 at the age of 32 (from an acute cerebral edema due to a reaction to compounds present in the drug Equagesic), he was still finishing the movie Enter The Dragon at the time of his death. Brandon Lee died in 1998 at the age of only 28, he died before the film he was making was complete (The Crow). Brandon’s death was due to a mishap on the set where a discharged bullet remained stuck in a gun barrel, the gun was fired later in a scene using blanks, the blast dislodged the bullet and Brandon was accidentally shot in the spine! He sadly died during a 6 hour operation to remove the bullet. It is a strange coincidence that they both died at an early age in tragic circumstance before a film was completed, these events bought up tales of an old curse on the Lee family!
Bruce Lee’s Game Of Death was released a few years after his death, but he had only partially completed filming before making Enter The Dragon,so like Brandons The Crow a stunt double was used to complete the remaining scenes (apparently only 15 minutes of the film are actually Bruce in that famous yellow track suit).
For me I will always remember growing up watching Bruce Lee movies and being fascinated by his skill, speed and strength. Way Of The Dragon (epic fight with Chuck Norris in the Colosseum) and Enter The Dragon (awesome fight in the room full of mirrors) were by far the best. The legend will never die!
Kurt Cobain and Nirvana
In keeping with this slightly morbid topic, I then went over to Lake Washington to Viretta Park or as known to some “Kurt Cobain Park”. This park is next to Kurt Cobain’s old house where he sadly committed suicide on April 5th, 1994 (he was found 3 days later by an electrician). The park has a bench where Cobain allegedly used to sit and ponder life, it has now become a defacto memorial and is covered in grafitti tributes.
Nirvana had released 3 amazing grunge studio records (“Bleach” 1989, “Nevermind” 1991 and “In Utero” 1993) and set the music world on fire, unfortunately Cobain had lost the desire to go on (“I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away”) and Nirvana were no more. Nirvana had a few drummer changes during their far too brief history (1987-1994) but the classic line up was 1990-1994 with Kurt Cobain (vocals, lead guitar), Krist Novoselic (bass) and Dave Grohl (drums – he has since had great success with The Foo Fighters and Them Crooked Vultures).
Nevermind remains one of my favourite albums (listening to it as I write this). 12 tracks and something rare for any album they are ALL excellent songs (sold over 30 million copies world wide – ten times platinum in America alone >10 million sold). Here’s my take on the album for what its worth:
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit – The opening guitar riff is instantly recognisable and nothing further needs to be said, a classic!
2. In Bloom – Deep voiced Kurt at the start, tone of voice lifts “but he knows not what it means, knows not what it means”, a hit in it’s own right (great video set in a 1950’s/60’s TV appearance with some weird twists).
3. Come As You Are – Again that opening guitar, then the drums kick in….”Come as you are, as you were”…..brilliant! The album just keeps getting stronger track to track…something about the lyrics “I swear I don’t have a gun”…if only that had been true.
4. Breed – That feedback at the start, heavy repetitive guitar and drums, almost a punk song “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care…..”. Works so well!
5. Lithium – Memorable for that sing along at the top of your voice moment “Yeah yeah yeaaaaaaaah yeah…..”.
6. Polly – Slows things down in a good way with a bit of acoustic guitar and softer lyrics. It is a bit bizarre too “Polly wants a cracker, I think I should get off her first”!
7. Territorial Pissings – Starts with distorted guitar and Krist singing through what sounds like a loudhailer, rolls into a fast paced punk like track with those classic strained almost crazy like lyrics “Gotta find a way, a better way, I’d better wait….”.
8. Drain You – So different from the other songs, almost experimental, lots of drum cymbal, great lyrics and guitar riff.
9. Lounge Act – Low guitar rumblings to start, then that fast constant paced delivery of lines. Great song!
10. Stay Away – Queens Of The Stone Age have pretty much reused this formula endlessly – simple reason its quirky, catchy and it works….the “Monkey see, monkey do” lyrics could not be more apt (p.s. I love QOSTA too!).
11. On A Plain – That famous distorted guitar, leads into that simple but unforgettable chorus “I’m on a plain, mmmm, I can’t complain, mmmm, I’m on a plain, mmmm”.
12. And finally Something In The Way – Slow and sorrowful, but a brilliant way to end the album. On some versions of the album this was followed by a “hidden” track Endless, Nameless. A track mostly played with distorted feedback and drums. If it was on the album you had to wait 10 minutes after the last song to hear it (it is not on the CD I have).