realitybites (13041)

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Journal of realitybites (13041)

Saturday October 10, 09

Rust Never Sleeps

10:58 PM

Want to cement yourself in the minds of your family members, society at large, or best of all, the whole world?

Commit suicide while you are still young and useful—before you have exhausted your potential and worn out your welcome. As the popular Neil Young lyric states, “It’s better to burn out than fade away.” And isn’t this so… a cliche yes, but cliches become cliche precisely because they are true.

But you know, I never paid much attention to this universal truth until recently. Now it rings terribly thunderous like an alarm going off in my head—something I can’t turn off. And so I will write about it. Perhaps it’s annoying presence will go back to sleep if this journal entry is sufficiently cathartic.

Far from home…

1980—Ian Curtis, vocalist for Joy Division, kills himself. He becomes a martyr at 24. To this day, the music industry and fans can’t stop hooting and hurrahing for this uber-talented rock god. He is a permanent record—the default setting to which all other indie frontmen will be compared. And god forbid if you happen to be an animated, baritone Brit. You will be forever shackled to this point of reference—never free—never number one. You are condemned to be number two for eternity. The gatekeepers will never let you pass through the gates. Curtis is the hero—the Batman. You are Robin and don’t you fool yourself into thinking otherwise. You see, Curtis never burnt out—so he’ll never fade away. Sadly, Tom Smith, vocalist for the English band Editors, can’t shake the media’s obsessive habit of comparing him to Curtis. Do you think that if Ian Curtis were alive today he would have this god-like status? I don’t. But try telling that to the worshipers in the Curtis Cult. Your dissent will fall on deaf ears.

A little closer…

Another example of this better to burn out phenomenon is the haunting of Eddie Vedder by the ghost of Kurt Cobain. To this day, Pearl Jam’s frontman is asked to give defense against some silly, unfavorable remarks about him made by Nirvana’s Cobain. These retarded, insensitive journalists apparently find it irrelevant that Nirvana released only three albums—of which only one, “Nevermind,” is regarded as a masterpiece. The others are forgettable. Oh but Cobain isn’t. He is here to stay and don’t you forget it Eddie! This is simply pathetic. Vedder, along with the other Pearl Jam members, have released nine studio albums, numerous bootlegs, solo works, garnered prestigious awards, and have a huge international fan base. Plus, Eddie Vedder can sing any song with any artist. Just check out his versatility and talent on YouTube—amazing stuff! Kurt Cobain’s status rests mostly on his promising future—his potential to give the world another “Nevermind.” It does not rest on his merits. Pearl Jam’s “Ten” is at least as brilliant and groundbreaking as “Nevermind." These guys are even in 1993. However, Eddie can safely claim to have out-shined Kurt. Pearl Jam has been a band for the last 18 years and is still rocking. Nirvana lasted 7 years—extinguished with Cobain’s suicide in 1994. And so Eddie sings, “I’m still alive!” Indeed. But the idiots don't listen. His voice is muffled by their obnoxious shouts, “Give it up Vedder! Cobain is the godfather of grunge. You are a second-rate a poseur!”

Right where it counts…

My brother Jeff was not a rock star. But his legacy shines on nonetheless. Since his suicide in 2005, not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. He has forever secured himself permanent residencies in my heart and mind. Were he alive today, this wouldn’t be so. He would be thought of—of course—but not with such a grand, intense, penetrating magnitude.

Famous when dead. Better burn out before you fade away.

“Rust Never Sleeps.” ~ Neil Young

PS--Don't commit suicide. You may be thought of often. But is that a good way to leave a lasting impression? Live well and long instead. You will have a greater impact. Plus you will be alive to see your influence in all its wonderful glory.

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