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Column: off the record..., vol. 14-615

@U2, April 20, 2014
By: Tassoula E. Kokkoris


off the record, from @U2

Is anyone else out there as happy as I am that Record Store Day is still a thing? That there are still stores open to host and participate?

I go every year, and yesterday was no exception. Though I was disappointed not to see a U2 item in the mix, I did get almost everything that I went for (save for a "Ghostbusters" 10-inch picture disc and a collection of Soundgarden singles).

I scored an orange copy of “You’ve Got Time” by Regina Spektor (an homage to Orange Is the New Black, since it’s the theme song); and the coveted Nirvana single “Pennyroyal Tea.”

I hope your pursuits were as fruitful if you played along.

Waiting to hear who made the cut for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is something I greatly anticipate each year. There are inductee choices that I wholeheartedly agree with: The Beatles, The Police, of course U2; and then those who were overlooked, which I classify as travesties: Cheap Trick and Duran Duran, to name a few.

This year, I was thrilled to see that Nirvana was one of the inductees selected. When I would bring it up, I found myself immediately defending my excitement to others, saying things like, “I was the right age when Nirvana got popular,” or “I’m a native of the Pacific Northwest.” And then it dawned on me: I shouldn’t have to defend anything. Though Kurt Cobain’s tragic suicide has unfortunately overshadowed his genius, the music he and his band created still changed the world (in my opinion, for the better).  

Just before the induction (which was coincidentally 20 years to the week after Cobain’s death) I attended a Seattle Town Hall presentation with Cobain biographer Charles R. Cross and a local radio personality. They discussed the impact of the Nirvana front-man’s work, contemplating what could have been had he lived — and of course, though presented quite respectfully, there was much talk of his addiction.

As I sat there, processing, I felt a grief similar to that about the recent passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Such an overwhelming sadness that someone so talented would be remembered as much for the way he departed as for his body of work.

I was pleased to learn, from Cross’s new book, Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact Of Kurt Cobain, that Bono told Newsweek years back that he was a Cobain fan:

I remember watching Kurt come through and thinking, ‘God, this music is nuclear.’ This is really splitting the atom. They [Nirvana] raised the temperature for everybody. Manufactured pop never looked so cold as when that heat was around.


Something that has always impressed me about rock ‘n’ roll musicians is the amount of respect they give to their peers. Sure, there’s a natural level of competition, but the community is generally kind and complimentary, unlike other industries.

U2 have long cited The Ramones as one of their major influences. I was recently reminded that on Easter Sunday in 2001, Joey Ramone lost his seven-year battle with lymphoma.

The unique thing about Joey’s passing was that he was listening to a U2 song, on repeat, as he went.

It was “In a Little While,” and his mother Charlotte told reporters, “Just as the song finished, Joey finished. He's free now. He heard it and now he's gone.”

Though losing him was awful, I can’t think of a more peaceful way to depart.

Speaking of Easter: Athough it’s timed to coincide with the birth of Bono instead of the resurrection of Jesus, I always associate the Build a Well for Bono’s Birthday campaign from the African Well Fund with the holiday. Each year around this time, I log on, donate, sign the card and smile since I know that fellow fans are doing the same.

If you’re interested in giving this year, click here for more information.

And to those who celebrate, Happy Easter!

(c) @U2/Kokkoris, 2014.


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