4/6/14 Come As You Are Panel at Seattle’s EMP

As the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death came about this past weekend, it felt odd that we had a panel discussion on him at EMP on Sunday, April 6. I felt more emotional on April 5th than I thought I would, and for someone who usually is not without words, I wasn’t sure what could or should be said. But as it ended up, the “Come As You Are” discussion at EMP with Bruce Pavitt, Charles Peterson, Jack Endino, and Jacob McMurray was one of the most rewarding and illuminating music industry panels of any sort I’ve been on. It had exactly the right combination of reverence to Kurt’s musical gifts, but also an appreciation of his irreverence and humor. It started with a video of Kurt shot in 1990, before fame. He was fresh-scrubbed, full of optimism, but also with a wry smile that is often lost in the one-dimensional portraits in the quick media hits that are out there. He seemed alive again, in that video, and in the great stories told by my co-panelists, which not only told of Kurt’s saga to fame — but little of his myth, thankfully — but also put that achievement into a framework of the larger music scene of the Northwest. This event was filmed by the Seattle Channel, and at some point should be accessible in their online-archive. I’d highly recommend it.

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