New Cobain Tribute, More Controversy
I’ve never been to the tiny shipping community of Aberdeen, Washington. Apparently it’s so close to Seattle that some fans of the grunge band Nirvana don’t even know that this is actually where alt rock legend Kurt Cobain hails from. And 17 years after his death, the city has finally decided to memorialize the singer alone (a controversial monument is already in place to honor the band as a whole). But instead of a statue of Cobain that went with…a guitar.
The city has constructed a small concrete guitar in park near the water to honor one of the most iconic figures in rock history. Now this is a nice gesture but there are a couple big problems here, the first being the timing.
17 years after a controversial suicide may seem like an appropriate time to wait for some to distance themselves from the tragedy, but really, it’s a little late for the rest of us. I’m not saying Nirvana isn’t still popular, that’s not the issue. Is this really the generation of kids, though, that will be enamored with Cobain? I think ultimately the city needed the monument a long time ago, before one dedicated to the entire band in fact, when fans of the artist were actually visiting and even relocating to the small harbor town.
The piece would be much more commendable if they hadn’t used a simple guitar structure as well, and certainly not one that Cobain only used imminently on tour before his death. I think if you’re going to pay tribute to a native son who came to personify a whole movement of alt-rocking Generation X kids you can do a little better than a guitar. Cobain’s look and image were important to the development of rock and roll as well, and more of an influence to some than his skill as a guitar player.
I guess if the guitar gets people to visit and pay their respects it services its purpose for the city, but not for the rest of us. Let’s hope that it’s not too little too late to help preserve the image of Kurt Cobain before these auto-loving teens turn them into some form of “classic” rock.