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I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nirvana, Michael Stipe (REM), Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

Excerpts from Michael Stipe's speech prior to the induction of Nirvana into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

I’m Michael Stipe. I’m here to induct Nirvana into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

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Like my band REM, Nirvana came from a most unlikely place. Not a cultural city centre like London, San Francisco, Los Angeles or even New York or Brooklyn but from Aberdeen Washington...a largely blue collar town just outside of Seattle.

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We were a product of a community of youth looking for a connection away from the mainstream. Dave Grohl said: "We were drop outs making minimum wage, listening to vinyl, emulating our heroes - Ian Mackaye, Little Richard – getting high, sleeping in vans, never expecting the world to notice."

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Keep in mind the times. This was the late 80s, early 90s. America, the idea of a hopeful democratic country, had been practically dismantled by Iran Contra, by Aids, by the Reagan-Bush snr. administrations. But with their music, their attitude, their voice, Nirvana blasted through all that with crystalline nuclear rage and fury.

Nirvana were kicking against the system, bringing complete disdain for the music industry and their definition of corporate mainstream America, to show a sweet and beautiful but fed up fury coupled with howling vulnerability. Lyrically exposing our frailty, our frustrations, our shortcomings, singing of retreat and acceptance ,of our triumphs,of an outsider community with such immense possibility...not held down or held back by the stupidity and political pettiness of the times; they spoke truth and a lot of people listened.

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When an artist offers an idea, a perspective, it helps us all to see us who we are. It wakes us up and it pushes us forward towards our collective and individual potential. It make us, each of us, able to see who we are more clearly.

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I’m purposely using the word artist rather than musician because the band Nirvana were artists in every sense of the word. It is the highest calling for an artist, as well as the greatest possible privilege, to capture a moment, to find the zeitgeist, to expose our struggles, our aspirations, our desires;to embrace and define their time. That is my definition of an artist. Nirvana captured lightning in a bottle.

***

Solo artists almost have it easier than bands. Bands are not easy. You find yourself in a group of people that rub each other the wrong way and exactly the right way and you have chemistry, zeitgeist, lightning in a bottle and a collective voice to help pinpoint a moment, to understand what it is we are going through. Nirvana tapped into a voice that was yearning to be heard.

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The potency and the power of their defining moment has become for us indelible.

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Nirvana defined a moment, a movement for outsiders; for the fags, and the fat girls, and the broken toys, and the shy nerds and the goth kids...for the rockers and the awkward and the fed up and the too-smart kids and the bullied.

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They were singular and loud and melodic and deeply original. And that voice...that voice. Kurt, we miss you. I miss you.

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...that voice reverberated into music and film, into politics, into worldview and so many fields in so many ways....this is not just pop music. This is something much greater than that.

Source: Youtube.

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