An Open Letter To Idiots Butthurt By Joan Jett Joining Nirvana Onstage Last Night
Did you know that if you were a superfan of a band, you can divine the wishes of their departed frontman? It’s true! That’s the impression one might have after seeing Twitter and comment butthurt over the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, featuring Joan Jett and Lorde fronting the remaining members of Nirvana.
Yes, last night was the induction ceremony. No, you can’t watch it yet, because the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces who is being inducted in December, has a big concert with them in April, and then you cannot watch any footage of the concert until May. It’s the longest tease ever.
This year’s ceremony saw, among others, KISS get inducted in a whirlwind of feuding because Gene and Paul hate Ace and Peter and Springsteen’s E Street Band finally getting their due (Bruce himself made it in ages ago). This was also the year Linda Ronstadt got the nod, which is a thing I can’t even think about yet because the fact that Ronstadt can never record another song thanks to Parkinson’s is too terrible to remember. But far and away the thing people were most hyped about and over-invested in: the induction of Nirvana, almost exactly 20 years after Kurt Cobain’s death.
First, Joan Jett, who fronted the band to sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” SPOILER ALERT: footage is messy blurry fan footage, because approved footage is locked the fuck down until HBO airs the official concert.
Seriously, there is nothing I wouldn’t have given to see this in person. NOTHING. Do I have any fucking clue if Kurt would have chosen Joan Jett? I do not, because Kurt Cobain has been dead 20 years! But some people are pretty certain they know what Dead Kurt is thinking.
It was his second favorite band, you guys! HE KNOWS STUFF.
Actually, kittens, from a sheer musicality perspective, Jett was a great fucking choice. You think Joan Jett is a megastar sellout and Nirvana was the real deal? Fuck you. Jett had to fucking SELF-RELEASE her first record, because no label wanted to sign a lady rocker. Joan Jett stepped in to pay tribute to murdered Seattle rock icon Mia Zapata from The Gits, fronting Evil Stig just to raise money to find Zapata’s murderer. Jett’s rock cred is not in doubt, and she tore the roof off the sucker.
People were generally less butthurt about Kim Gordon, late of Sonic Youth, doing “Aneurysm,” because Kim has always gotten a pass from Dood Rock land, until it came out that Thurston Moore had stepped out on her for years, at which point everyone became Team Thurston for no legit reason.
Same with St. Vincent, who showed up to do “Lithium.”
It’s cool to like critical darling St. Vincent, but it is not cool to like smash pop sensation Lorde, who was the recipient of the most vitriolic hate for joining the band for “All Apologies.”
Let’s get our whine on about Lorde!
Urm. Nirvana sold KAZILLIONS of records and is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Not sure what “alternative” even means in that whinging except “music I liked in the 1990s which I have magically sprinkled with the eternal Fairy Dust of Coolness in my mind.”
OK, the Melanie reference is kinda hilarious. So topical and current!
Listen. Cobain was never ever shitty about promoting women in rock. Kurt Cobain loved Bikini Kill. Kurt Cobain loved Shonen Knife. Kurt Cobain loved the fucking Carpenters. Who the hell are you to decide he wouldn’t have loved Lorde to pieces?
I can’t pretend to divine the intentions of Novaselic or Grohl any more than you can, but I will put forward the radical idea that if the goddamn surviving members of Nirvana had not been down with choosing Joan Jett or Lorde or anyfuckingone else involved in the performance, they would have been able to do so! Especially since Dave Grohl is both one of the most enormous AND most well-respected members of the rock world right now. So to those of you who are certain that Kurt would have hated this because you have some idea of him as your beautifully damaged Manic Pixie Dream Boy, I say shut the fuck up and so say we all.