Tag Archives: Hole

HA HA Armageddon

Here is a photo of me sitting on the front porch in 1991. In front of me there is a small pasture belonging to the family across the street. There is a fence in front of the pasture, and behind it, the treeline. Do you see the ha ha wall?

Erika on front porch Humboldt County 1990 haha walls

The ha ha wall is between the pasture and the treeline. When I was a child, I was puzzled by seeing people walk across the pasture and seem to sink into the ground and disappear just before reaching the wooded area.
Continue reading HA HA Armageddon

Polly II: suggestions of rape and involuntary silence in grunge videos

Each of the following videos contains clues about two secrets. The various crimes and cover-ups against Chris Newman is the obvious secret. It’s the situation which has been written into movies, T.V., and music videos for decades, and which I’ve been writing about for the past year. (Boldface words have definitions in the title attribute – try running your pointer over them.)

There is a second secret which I believe to be an enforced silence and cover-up having to do with a sexual assault against Kurt Cobain. Like the situation with Chris Newman, I believe this secret is not actually so “secret.” It’s a widespread deliberate cover up. And as with the assaults against Chris Newman, I do not believe that Kurt Cobain wanted the assaults he suffered to be covered up. Why do I believe this? I believe this because he laced his entire catalog with flaming easter eggs. As did many other artists, including the following.

In all of these videos Chris’ (aka “sun”) blindness is indicated by missing, covered, rolled-back, or otherwise blanked-out eyes. The lack of truth is shown by missing and/or false teeth; and in Doll Parts, stasis is indicated by the empty fireplace (one needs fire to burn all the liars) and the muddy, dirty, “hanged” dolls.

1992 Babes in Toyland – “Won’t Tell”

False teeth and water imagery to suggest that truth has been compromised. A disembodied hand suggests a lack of power. There is old man/birth/blood and single-eye imagery. (I believe in this case, the old man is a Chris Newman/Mark Arm twin.) In one scene, the mouth is removed from Kat’s face, as she stands, and is baptized, holding a handful of (blood-sucking) leeches.

Her mouth is then shown speaking or singing from the palm of a hand. At the end of the video, the older man is wearing a pink feathered mask, spotted hide “tutu” and cowboy boots as the women come after him wearing vampire fangs, waggling tongues, and brandishing drumsticks, then knives. The very last image of the video is a stuffed squirrel crouched strangely over an animal-like piece of wood. It evokes the idea of a sexual assault, though perhaps vaugely.

1994 Hole’s “Doll Parts”

Doll Parts is a stunning song and video featuring a little boy representing Kurt Cobain crouched by a cold fireplace. Outdoor scenes show Courtney smashing a twisted Victorian tea party and its landscape of dirt-covered dolls hanging from sticks and trees.

The Doll Parts video was made shortly after Kurt’s suicide. A doll’s covered eye is shown at 0:38, and there is also an anal sex-like scene just one second long: 1:41-1:42, between the words “bad skin” and “doll heart.”

1995 Alice In Chains “Grind”

Grind also uses the hole imagery, the blinded eyes, and the missing teeth.

I believe the old man featured in this video is a “twin” character, but mostly a reference to Mark Arm, due to the man’s lack of teeth, affection for the stuffed goat, and his actions in the video. Clues to the assaults against Newman and Cobain are mostly found in the scene involving a stuffed animal menagerie, beginning around 2:53.

First the old man places his hand near the cymbal-playing ape (sun) from whom he receives a stigmata. The man then looks over to see the goat (devil) slowly backing away from the scene. Alice In Chains singer Layne Stayly then looks at a long-eared patchwork creature with a star on it. The creature is kicking out its back legs in anger or torment. I believe this creature represents Kurt Cobain.

At 3:06 the patchwork star creature is attacked and overpowered by a creepy looking hook-beaked creature wrapped in something knit (like a sweater) with pins and/or knitting needles stuck in, like some kind of voodoo doll creature. The knitting needle creature forcibly unzips a zipper on the patchwork star creature (3:08), removes something that looks like a piece of bloody gauze, and chews it up. The old man is then seen closing up the brown paper bag, walking up the stairway, and petting the three-legged dog that waits there. The chorus of the song is “In the darkest hole, you’d be well advised not to plan my funeral before the body dies.” It’s a clear reference to the sun who is buried and considered “dead.”

These artists all make a connection between what seems to have been an assault against Kurt Cobain and the burying of Chris Newman for a couple of reasons. The first reason, I believe, is because in both cases, the perpetrator was (and is) the same person. I believe it is Mark Arm.

The second reason for the connection has to do with predation and copying aspect of the crimes against Chris. All these artists were clearly aware that it was Chris who brought his 1970s heavy rock influenced sounds, and specifically the heavy fuzz Big Muff and the watery Small Clone, into northwest punk rock. All the musicians had to know that Mudhoney guitar players Mark Arm and Steve Turner co-opted the heavy fuzz & Fender twin sound, and either tricked or coerced Kurt Cobain into adapting the Small Clone and Big Muff into his music as well. (I believe this is why Kurt sang – and felt – “I’m a liar and a thief” in the 1993 song, Pennyroyal Tea.) Kurt used the Big Muff in the studio, but is rarely seen with one onstage. The Small Clone sound mixed with a more Wipers like distortion (DS-1) is however, very strongly associated with Kurt Cobain.

2013 Alice In Chains “Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”

At least one other Alice In Chains video contains a symbolic (but more obvious) rape scene involving the disembodied head of a pink bunny rabbit. That is the 2013 Alice In Chains “Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”

The rape scene takes place between 2:40-2:43 (read more commentary on this video)

1993 Nirvana “Heart Shaped Box”

It’s been said that Kurt Cobain wanted William Burroughs to act out a specific type of rape scene with him (one that involves a transference of “power” from the rapist to the victim) in the video for Heart Shaped Box, but that Burroughs declined. The video that was finally made for Heart Shaped Box did not contain a “rape” scene, but it did include a scene where Kurt imitates the “poppies” scene from Wizard of Oz and/or represents his own death. The 300 pound transparent angel, an obvious reference the sun and specifically Chris Newman, sees Cobain’s prone body in the poppies, and then stops, places her hands on her hips, and appears to show disapproval (3:10-3:24). That particular scene is found only in the director’s cut which was not widely released until less than a year ago (August 2013).

Polly: matching rape songs by Mudhoney, Hole, and Nirvana

I met Kurt at a club in L.A. right before Nevermind came out. We took a picture and he said, “Come on, let’s give the finger!” So we did.
– Iggy Pop, Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Artists.

(Note: Run your pointer over the boldface words for more info if your browser is equipped to display definitions or additional information in “title” attributes.)

It’s difficult to start writing about rape, and all the time it shows up in grunge lyrics, and especially, videos. And by “grunge” I am talking about a specific community of musicians who got their start in the Pacific Northwest during the 1980s.

It’s difficult in part because everyone (even me – a little bit) wants to stay in denial, but more so because the rape imagery is so pervasive. It’s pervasive enough to make me think that a literal rape occurred. And that the victim was Kurt Cobain.

If this is true, Cobain’s 1994 suicide doesn’t make everything “ok.” Even if you don’t think the dead deserve justice, there are related crimes which continue to this day, including the continuing exploitation of Chris Newman (who is not, in fact, dead), the decade-plus smear campaign against Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, and the fact that Cobain’s daughter Francis has to live, without a father, under a cloud of lies. From my perspective, the truth is vital.

I already wrote a bit about two of Hole’s songs, Burn Black and Dicknail. Maybe the next logical thing to do is to go straight to the source and write about Nirvana’s rape songs, especially since Kurt Cobain went to such lengths to finger someone.

The key to Nirvana – and Mudhoney – rape songs is the song “Sweet Young Thing” by the Monkees.


In the TV performance of the song, the Monkees perform “Sweet Young Thing,” (1966) elderly people dance around, take turns in wheelchairs, etc. In the circus mirror, (uninitiated) innocence is represented by old age.

More notable are the lyrics:

And it’s love you bring,
No that I can’t deny,
With your wings,
I can learn to fly,
Sweet young thing.

People try to talk to me
Their words are ugly sounds
But I resist all their attempts
To try and bring me down.
Turned on to the sunset
Like I’ve never done before
And I listen for your footsteps
And your knock upon the door.

21 years later, in 1987, Mudhoney wrote a song with the same title (Sweet Young Thing), though this time the hook was “sweet young thing ain’t sweet no more.” It’s a snarly, sinister-sounding song about the end of innocence, shown by the lines “mommy’s little pills spilled all over the floor” and “mama can’t handle her on her own, she said ‘you just wait ’till your father gets home.'” It might be worth noting that the word “pills” sounds like “bills” on the Superfuzz Bigmuff version of the song. (Sweet Young thing full lyrics) Indeed – when you’ve got dogs, pigs, and ducks chasing you, you know there are big bills involved. (Ask Lady Gaga.)

Another contemporary Mudhoney song (also on the Superfuzz Bigmuff EP) which seems related is “Sliding In And Out Of Grace.”

Cry for mercy, relieve my hate
Sliding in ‘n’ out of grace
Spill my seed, suck my waste
Sliding in ‘n’ out of grace

Oh God, how I love to hate
Sliding in ‘n’ out of grace
Save me Lord, and fuck the race… etc (full lyrics)

Songs performed later, mainly by Courtney Love, suggest that “Sliding In And Out of Grace” was specifically about Kurt Cobain. The word “grace” comes up in a couple of her songs which I believe are about Kurt, most notably “Northern Star,” but also “Happy Ending Story” and in some of the live performances she’s done. In fact, I believe that “Northern Star” matches Courtney’s more recently penned “Honey.” I believe that both of those songs were written not about twins, but about triplets. Three other songwriters: Kurt Cobain, Chris Newman, and Mark Arm.

Anyone who really pays attention to Courtney’s lyrics, videos, and live performances would have a hard time missing the subtext she’s been weaving in since day one. But the ringleaders work hard to re-direct your attention anywhere but where you should be looking. That is, I believe, the reason for the seemingly never-ending smear campaign against Courtney Love.

Around 1990 (same era as Hole’s songs “Dicknail” and “Burn Black”), Kurt Cobain wrote two very important songs dealing with rape and abuse. One was written from the perspective of a kidnapper and rapist experiencing what seems to be dissociated shreds of empathy, and appeared on the 1991 album Nevermind. It is called “Polly.” The other was written, sarcastically, from the perspective of a rape victim. It was called “Rape Me,” and though, like Polly, it was said to be written around 1990, it didn’t appear on an album until 1993’s In Utero. There is a third song that is connected, which I’ll just mention in passing, and it is “Negative Creep.” Negative Creep, with it’s chorus of “Daddy’s little girl ain’t a girl no more” is clearly a response to the Mudhoney song “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More.” The fact that every single rock critic has missed that most obvious point for the past quarter of a century ought to suggest that something is really fucking stinky in Denmark. And everywhere else, too.

In any case, I believe that in all of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s songs, “Daddy” is Mudhoney’s Mark Arm. (With or without a “twin.”)

The name “Polly” means “parrot,” going back to the 16th or 17th century (OED), and the classic phrase “Polly want a cracker” makes the parrot reference undeniable. The distinctive characteristics of parrots are imitation. (They also tend to be yellow and green – “sun” colors. – see lexicon) Because the “night club” reflects and imitates the sun, and because the grunge myth is tightly controlled (everyone has a script from which no one ever deviates) Cobain was forced to “parrot” the party line. “Speak at once while taking turns” is the way he described it in a later song, Radio Friendly Unit Shifter. The parrot reference is the reason I think that Polly is specifically about Kurt Cobain, written from a place of dissociation. Dissociation is what happens when you experience severe abuse. Though Polly is also a “mirror” song. I couldn’t call it a “twin” song because there are multiple images in this mirror. It’s a POLY-MIRROR. (See how Kurt does that? EVERY. WORD. MATTERS. and sometimes every letter.)

The poly subjects are all crime victims and/or perpetrators: Chris Newman (as usual); and the 14 year old girl (who’s name was not actually Polly); and Kurt Cobain. Also the perpetrator/s of the respective crimes. I believe there are 5 subjects in Polly. And by that I mean that I believe that the crimes against Kurt Cobain and Chris Newman had the same perpetrator.

I also believe that Kurt Cobain was using the news story upon which he based the song as a metaphor for something that had happened to him (very possibly an actual rape), and something that he wanted to happen: escape from an untenable situation, and ultimately, justice.

Friend had picked her up near the Tacoma Dome in his car after she had attended a rock concert. She was able to earn his trust and sympathy by convincing him she enjoyed it. She managed to escape when he stopped for gas. She got out of the vehicle and made a scene attracting attention from surrounding people. – from Wikipedia Polly_(song)

Polly was saved, I guess because the “surrounding people” had no investment in her continuing captivity and/or silence. Kurt Cobain was and Chris Newman is in a different situation.

The perpetrator of the incident that inspired the song “Polly,” Gerald Friend, was thought at the time to be the Green River killer. (Wikipedia: Gerald Arthur Friend)

Green River, of course, was name of the first band to sign with Sub Pop, fronted by Mark Arm. In 1988 Green River essentially split into two bands: Pearl Jam and Mudhoney.

In terms Kurt’s “other” rape song, Rape Me, there are lines like “my favorite inside source, I’ll kiss your open sores” (suggests someone with a hidden heroin or other syringe-drug habit), “you’ll always stink and burn” (recalls a Sylvia Plath line “turn and burn” which in turn recalls the position of the hanged man, which is the sun), and then there are some very notable lines, like “rape me – hate me – waste me – taste me.” “Hate me” reflects a line from Mudhoney’s aforementioned “Grace” song, “Oh God how I love to hate.”

If you listen carefully to the song, Rape Me, Cobain is singing “I’m not the only one,” but he’s also slurring into “I want the only one.”



Drown Soda (Hole)

“…hand grenades, the top comes off. You just pull out the pin and it explodes. So, if you take away someone’s mouth and their eyes and their senses and their brain, they explode. I saw a grenade in my head, I saw taking out the clip, and then I thought of a human body and what happens if you take out the clip.”

Drown Soda appears as a live cut on Hole’s My Body The Hand Grenade, a collection of various live and studio cuts recorded between 1990 and 1995. My Body The Hand Grenade was released in October 1997.

Lyrics in Drown Soda allude to deception, addiction (“just you wait until everyone is hooked”), and rape. And there are jabs – first toward Minnesota (Courtney had various connections to Minnesota), then Ohio (Jonathan Poneman is from Toledo), Illinois (Bruce Pavitt is from Chicago), and finally, Seattle. Except when Seattle comes up, the subject changes. So it’s: “I want to bomb the whole state of Minnesota… I want to fuck the whole state of Illinois… I’m gonna fuck the whole state of Ohio… She’s gonna fuck the whole city of Seattle.”

I’ve always thought Drown Soda was a weirdly titled song. I couldn’t see what anything in the song had to do with “soda,” until this morning when Chris pointed out that “soda” is another word for “pop.” Then I remembered how members of my maternal family who live in Minnesota think it’s funny that we on the west coast refer to carbonated soft drinks as “soda” while they call it “pop.” Soda = Pop. And Sub(merse) = Drown. Drown Soda = Sub Pop.

I think it should be pointed out that there are actual complaints in the song, not just threats. There are complaints about being taken away from one’s life, complaints about lies, and complaints about rape (framed ironically: “just let him rape you”).

Oooh, yeah, she wants to take you
Take you away from your life
Oh, yeah, he wants to take you
Take you away from your lies

Ooh, yeah, he wants to take you
Take you by the hand
Oh, god, just let him rape you
Baby, I think you’ll understand

Just you wait ’til everyone is hooked (4x)

Oooh, yeah, he wants to take you
Take you by the hand
Oooh, baby, let him break you
And I think you’ll understand
Are you gonna sit and watch me
Watch me while I go down
Are you gonna sit and watch me
Watch me while I DROWN

Oh, god, he wants to take you
Take you away from your life
Oh, god, he wants to break you
Take you ‘way from your lies

Oooh, yeah, he wants to take you
Take you by the hand
Oooh, baby, let him break you
And I think you’ll understand

Are you gonna sit and watch me
Watch me while I go down
Are you gonna sit and watch me
Watch me while I DROWN

Woah, god, he wants to take you
Take you ‘way from your life
Woah, god, he wants to break you
Take you ‘way from your lies

I sit in the corner and I drink Drown Soda
I want to bomb the whole state of Minnesota

Yeah, baby, ohh

And it’s been a while & I’m little annoyed
I want to fuck the whole state of Illinois

Yeah, baby, ohh

And I point at the shit, he’s got no place to go
I’m gonna fuck the whole state of Ohio

Yeah, baby, ohh

She sits on Broadway with a rattle
She’s gonna fuck the whole city of Seattle

Yeah, baby, ohh
Baby, ohhhhhhhhhh

Hole – Beautiful Son

Beautiful Son by Hole (7 inch single cover)My favorite HOLE song, Beautiful Son, was written for Kurt Cobain. But, like so many other Hole songs, it is also for (he who shall not be named) Chris Newman. It is a song not just about a boy dressed in his mother’s clothes – or a husband dressed in his wife’s clothes – it is a song about Kurt and Courtney’s relationship, especially musically.

Beautiful Son was recorded (in what various sources indicate was a fraught session) and produced by Jack Endino in Seattle, November 1992. It was released in April 1993. It is said to be written around the time that Kurt and Courtney got married. (wikipedia: Beautiful Son)

The single’s B Side, Old Age, is a song that I believe is about Mark Arm (Anne Boleyn) and Chris Newman (Hester Prynne).

Why do I think Beautiful Son is about Chris as well as Kurt? The obvious clue is the Sun/Son wordplay in the title. (see: lexicon) This is reenforced by the way Courtney often introduced the song live. She found all kinds of ways to nod to Chris and/or Portland before launching into the song (I’ll show some of these at the end of this essay).


You look good in my dress
I’ll get your friends to clean this mess
You look good in my clothes
I could feel where the doctor goes

My beautiful son
yeah – no – yeah – I know

He had ribbons in his hair
and lipstick was everywhere
you look good in my dress
you look good in my dress

My beautiful son
yeah – I know

you’re buried (barren)
like me
you’re buried (barren)

yeah – I know
My beautiful son

If Chris is the “sun” then Kurt is the “son.” Kurt was young compared to the others. Kurt Cobain was born in 1967, Mark Arm in 1962, and Chris Newman in 1953. I believe Mark Arm is often referred to as “Dad” or “Daddy” in Kurt and Courtney’s lyrics. So the idea of Kurt Cobain as a “beautiful son” works in that sense.

It is possible that Beautiful Son is, to some degree, a response to Babes In Toyland He’s My Thing. There is a line in that song I always thought was strange: “Walks around in her boyfriends clothes – No one knows.” Why does no one know? Are the clothes invisible? Metaphorical?

In contrast, the primary image in Beautiful Son is the son (or husband) wearing the mother’s (or wife’s) clothes, and her encouragement and approval of it. “You look good in my dress.” Courtney is from Portland, while Kurt Cobain and his friends were more closely associated with Olympia and Seattle. “You look good in my clothes.” You often see photos of Kurt Cobain, Dylan Carson, and Mark Lanegan all having fun wearing dresses and smeared lipstick.

I believe that Kurt knew early on, if not all along, that his Small Clone effects box had come from Chris Newman through Mark Arm. And I believe it wasn’t the effects box alone that influenced Kurt’s playing. It was also Chris’ songwriting as heard through his recordings: tapes, records, bootlegs. “Sun shines in the window – when we play.” (from Kurt’s cover of Vaselines’ Son of a Gun)

When Courtney sings “I’ll get your friends to clean the mess,” that, too has a double or triple meaning (most things do). It’s clear that this whole Big Muff/Small Clone thing – and anything to do with Portland, really – was (and still is) seen as a potential mess, probably because it would expose the underbelly and (God forbid) unravel The Myth. Another potential mess was, I believe, the implications about Kurt’s sexual orientation. I have noticed how his labels seemed to downplay it, while he himself seemed assertively open.

The line “he had ribbons in his hair and lipstick was everywhere” echos a line from the B-Side of Hole’s first single, Dicknail/Burn Black. “She’s got vultures in her hair, and blood and feathers, they are everywhere.” This tends to reinforce my idea that Burn Black is a different angle on a similar, or the same, situation. Beautiful Son is a more “positive” song than Burn Black, but there is still a sinister feeling.

The line “I can feel you where the doctor goes” is weird, childlike – clinical? It suggests confusion between lovemaking and a medical exam (reminding me of the anatomy dolls again). It suggests “playing doctor,” a metaphor for (or literal description of) sexual experimentation in childhood, or even incest. (It is interesting that Nirvana had an album called Incesticide.) It hints at the cervical exams an expectant mother receives.

The bridge of Beautiful Son offers more evidence for the song’s connection to Chris Newman. When I search for lyrics online, they say “You’re buried, like me.” But when I listen to the words, I hear, “You’re barren, like me.” I believe that the written and sung lyrics may be different from each other in order to express two different, but related meanings. It’s obvious that Chris had been buried – and it seems obvious that Courtney couldn’t get traction in the Northwest after her first single.

Barren, on the other hand, means something different. First, it’s kind of a joke – men can’t give birth. (Unless they are male seahorses? Subvert the dominant paradigm?)

Barren taps into the empty side of Kurt and Courtney’s fetal imagery. “You’re barren,” means that you are not able to carry and give birth to a child (or perhaps an album, a tour, a career, or even your true self). Courtney isn’t saying that she is literally barren, but maybe she’s commenting on her lack of power in certain situations.

How the song is introduced

Here are some live versions of the song, and Courtney’s introductions.

In the first video, Hole performs Beautiful Son on the English television show, The Word, in March 1993. The host introduces the song as “Brother Sun.” It seems like an error, but I’m pretty certain it isn’t.

The second video is from Cologne (Köln) Germany, April 1995. Sounds like she introduces the song as “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Lots of meanings to this. First, the dog/kennel imagery that is so prevalent in Sub Pop’s first wave grunge lyrics. She wants to be in a different kennel? Or maybe it’s a reference to a song from Napalm Beach’s 1993 album, Curiosities. The song is called “My Master Calls” and in the chorus Chris declares: “I kill for my bitch – because I care.”

The third video is a full set: Live at the Gorge Amphitheatre, July 4, 1995. Beautiful Son come at 5:36. Right after inciting the crowd to call out 1-2-3 BITCH!!! (“I want you to say bitch” (4:56 – 5:35)) Courtney calls out to Eric, “Eric, should we do ‘Over The Edge’?” Then she launches into Beautiful Son.

Napalm Beach opened for the Wipers’ Over The Edge album release in 1983, and Hole had covered Over The Edge for the T/K Greg Sage/Wipers Tribute. “Should we do ‘Over The Edge’?” was Courtney’s way of (silently) shouting out to Chris and to Portland.

Shouting, but silent… but shouting… for more than two decades… waiting for him to hear.

DICKNAIL – Hole in Melody Maker June 1991

The following article was published in Melody Maker in June 1991. HOLE had released DICKNAIL – a 7″ single on Sub Pop. The B-side was Burn Black. (Update: “Burn Black” is related to the phrase in a Beatles’ song “4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.” They are both very angry songs. Once seems to be about rape, the other about betrayal.

Burn Black’s images of a person (and a set of keys) floating “over my dead body” seems to pair up with the Mudhoney song Final Course from Vanishing Point (2013). At the end of Final Course, the singer describes how, at the end of a huge banquet, he’s choking the life out of a woman (“shrew”) and then someone comes up from behind and bangs him on the head with a frying pan. Next he’s floating above his (presumably dead) body, as everyone around him tries to figure out how to dispose of his body so as to avoid having a trial. The implication is that they eat him.

Hole’s single, Dicknail / Burn Black was released March 1, 1991. It was Hole’s first, last, and only Sub Pop release. Babes in Toyland had a similar track record at Sub Pop. One single in 1990, nothing more.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here, big time. My opinion only. In Burn Black, the “dead moon” is Chris Newman, and the “drunken seed” is Kurt Cobain.

Why? Dead Moon = black hole (inverse of sun) and also of course Dead Moon is a Portland band who played a lot with Napalm Beach. Drunken Seed = read the lyrics to Mudhoney’s Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More which, for a million reasons, I believe is about Kurt Cobain.

Spoiler alert: Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More is not a nice song.


Hey daddy….
come over here, yeah.
Got something for you.
She liked it.
You know she liked it.
Well, she was asking for it.
I said, I said,”Stop.”
I did what you said.
I did what you want.
I was a good girl.
I was a good girl.
I said, I said,”No.”
Hey daddy – one thing’s for certain, baby.
You have my guarantee; you won’t forget me.
I said, I said,”Stop.
I did what you said.
I did what you want.
I was a good girl.
I was a good girl.”
I said, I said,”NO”
Do you remember Christmas morning?
You know it’s real because
Well, here comes Santa Claus.
Well she liked it; you know she liked it…..
I’m on your fat claw.

Now you complain and say you want the keys
Over my dead body, baby, that’s where they’ll be
Forget the knots around your neck
You say you remember, baby, you forget

Hey hey, this much is true
I never trusted you
Hey hey, this much is true
Now I’d burn black for you

And I try just to forget
Never, I won’t – Never, I won’t
Never, ever, never

Saying things that you can’t hear
My dumb mouth to your deaf ear
Gushing lump, a violent smear
My dumb mouth to your deaf ear

Hey hey, this much is true
I never twisted you
Hey hey, this much is true
Baby, I’d burn black for you

No, I won’t go down to it
Never, I won’t – Never, I won’t
Never, I won’t Never

Crawl right up the wall
Up the stairs and down your hall

Now you beg and you want me
Over my dead body, baby, that’s where I’ll be
And you laugh at my disease
While sugar runs from my arteries

Hey hey, this much is true
I never bothered you
Hey hey, this much is true
Baby, I’d burn black for you

And I try just to forget
Never, I won’t – Never, I won’t
Never, I won’t

Starts out like magic, some sick religion
That ain’t no vulture, that’s a fucking pigeon
She’s got vultures in her hair
And blood and feathers, they are everywhere
You want retreat, filthy and deep
A dead moon, a drunken seed
Baby, there is a room full of death and whores and truth
And I am waiting in that room
And I am sorry I did that for you
It’s all whores, it’s all pain
It’s all disease, man, it’s all the same
My little Judas, my little twin
Where you start, that’s where I begin
She said, “I want it NOW!”

Holes in The Grunge Myth

All these lonely lovely ladies
Keep on kockin’ on my door
I’m the only game in town
And it’s so easy to score
– Mudhoney “Hard On For War”
from Under A Billion Suns 2006

The Grunge Myth is a swiss-cheese version of northwest music history. Some of the holes in this cheese have had a significant impact on the lives of artists and other human beings. I believe that the band name HOLE directly relates to this. Obviously, there was not a “history” when Hole was formed – but there was a hole. A rift. A recess. The whole town of Portland, Oregon dwells in that hole, and at the very bottom, lies the sun.

We live in upside-down land. We live behind the looking glass.

Once you begin to learn the magicians’ slight-of-hand tricks, it becomes easier to see what is going on. If they say “look HERE” – you have to look in the opposite direction. If they say “don’t look there” – that is exactly where to look. I mean, if you care about the truth.

Another thing that they know is how effective flattery is in the entertainment industry. Flattery is essential to the “divide and conquer” star machine. It is a sugary poison poured into the ear used to soften and sometimes, to misdirect.

Naive musicians hungry for attention get so caught up in their own alleged awesomeness that they fail to recognize – or care – when the same industry players slander, dismiss, burn, and bury their neighbor. Or worse, they buy the anti-hype and join right in with the scapegoating. Now they’ve got us fighting ourselves. Then they come in to “rescue” some of us, while ensuring the others continue to drown. To add insult to injury, they pretend to be “experts” on us, when in fact, their whole goal is, and has always been, to conquer us.

The humor for which they are so famous is used to sweeten the experience – at least for them. Too often, the humor itself is cruel, even to the point of being abusive. They seem to care a great deal about being funny, and almost nothing about the lives of human beings. “There are many here among us / Who feel that life is but a joke.”

Too many people just want to be on the side that’s winning. That, of course, would be the side of money, power, and manufactured credibility.

That’s how they are winning a war that we can’t even seem to recognize exists.


Under a Billion Suns 2006
Can you hear the little girls asking
Daddy where have all the little boys gone
The little girls, they ask me
Daddy where have all the little boys gone
They don’t tease us in classroom
They don’t meet us at the mall

The little boys are fighting
They have left us all behind
The little boys are dying
To preserve our way of life
It’s our patriotic duty
To make sweet love tonight

See these lovely lonesome ladies
They don’t ignore me anymore
All these lonely lovely ladies
Keep on kockin’ on my door
I’m the only game in town
And it’s so easy to score

Now i know why dirty old men are always pushin’ for war
Now i know why dirty old men are always pushin’ for war
I’ve become a dirty old man with a hard-on for war

I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming - Courtney Love

More Holes in The Grunge Myth: keeping the dates straight

Those who control The Grunge Myth are very concerned with dates. Specifically, who met whom when. Anyone who has read Everett True’s NIRVANA: The True Story knows that True has devoted a lot of space to his claim that he introduced Kurt and Courtney to each other for the first time in Los Angeles 1991. Everett True claims that Courtney was dating Eric Erlandson in 1990, and that she met Kurt in 1991 while she was pursuing Billy Corgan in 1991. Or something along those lines.

Similarly, there is confusion around when Kurt Cobain and Mark Arm first met. Everett True avoids putting a date on this, while Charles Cross’s biography indicates they first met in 1990. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that 1990 is so far off as to be a red flag marking a big lie – not manufactured by Cross, but by the myth-managers. I believe Kurt Cobain and Mark Arm knew each other by 1987, if not earlier.

When did Kurt Cobain meet Courtney Love?

I don’t know the answer to this question, but I will say that I think there is a definite interaction between Nirvana, Mudhoney, Hole, and Babes In Toyland lyrics that dates back at least to 1990. Dicknail/Burn Black were said to be written in fall of 1990. Similarly, Nirvana’s song Rape Me was said to have been originally written in 1990. Another anti-rape song, Polly, was supposed to have been written in 1988. So both Hole and Nirvana were writing anti-rape songs by 1990 or earlier. (Mudhoney lyrics also tend to use a lot of rape imagery, but from the opposite perspective.)

When did Kurt Cobain meet Mark Arm?

For a number of reasons, I believe Kurt Cobain met Mark Arm in or before 1987.

This recently surfaced Girl Trouble video suggests as much. Why? Because it shows Mark Arm (twice), it shows Bruce Pavitt, it shows Kurt Cobain’s girlfriend of the time, Tracy Marander, and it shows Slim Moon. It doesn’t show Kurt Cobain who may or may not have been there. But it does show that Kurt Cobain’s neighbors and girlfriend.

There are many reasons why Kurt should have met Mark Arm before 1990. Mark Arm had been going to Napalm Beach shows at least since 1981, and Chris Newman first met Mark Arm probably as early as 1985. Chris Newman met Kurt Cobain around 1988, in Portland. That should give a hint as to how small and close together the northwest music scene was.

In 1987 Sub Pop put out their first vinyl releases. In 1988 they released several more records. According to Sub Pop’s page on the band, Mudhoney’s first release was a single: Touch Me I’m Sick backed with Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More. Super Fuzz Big Muff came out in 1988 and Mudhoney in November 1989. Nirvana released Bleach in June of 1989.

January 6, 1989 Mudhoney and Nirvana came down to Portland and played Satyricon together. This was supposedly Nirvana’s first out-of-town show. Courtney Love was at the show. I know this because my friend David took photos of that show (the only photos of that show that exist, I believe) and I took his negatives to be developed. She was definitely there.

Everett True will tell you that Courtney was there to see Mudhoney and she may have not seen Nirvana at all. This may be true, but it’s also clear that there weren’t a lot of people there that night. And Courtney Love does pay attention.

Another important reason that Kurt Cobain would have met Mark Arm well before 1990 is the Melvins connection. Kurt Cobain was connected to the Melvins enough that Cobain and his girlfriend at the time, Tracy (pictured in the Girl Trouble video), are thanked on the back of 1987’s Gluey Porch Treatments. In fact, according to Wikipedia, one of the songs on Gluey Porch Treatments (Leeech) is a re-purposed Green River song (meaning, Mark Arm wrote the lyrics- and with its references to love and sickness and a missing link, I think it’s directed to Courtney).

Another amusingly titled song on Gluey Porch Treatments (recorded in October 1986) is “Steve Instant Newman.” Remember, it’s Mudhoney guitarist Steve Turner who ended up with Chris Newman’s Big Muff.

Lukin left the Melvins and joined Mudhoney in 1988. According to Wikipedia, in 1988, Lukin was also living in a house with Kurt Cobain in Aberdeen. Mudhoney helped found Sub Pop in 1987, and Kurt Cobain was involved with Sub Pop (and therefore, with Mudhoney) by 1988.

It also makes sense that Kurt would have met Mark Arm in the 1980s because Mark seems to have established himself as top dog in the Seattle punk scene by 1986, Green River scoring choice spots opening for national touring acts, and at that point in time, being one of the only northwest underground bands to ever tour. It is natural that the younger up-and-coming band (Nirvana) would want to make contact with the older, more established band.

Finally, image. Between 1987 and 1990 Kurt Cobain was copying Mark Arm’s look (his hairstyles, anyway) and playing a Fender Mustang like Steve Turner.

How to decode almost any POP song: Part IV: HOLE Malibu

Hole - Malibu - CD single coverIn Part I I made some general observations about overlapping songwriting conventions in four bands: Nirvana, Hole, Babes In Toyland, and Mudhoney. In Part II, I drew up a lexicon of symbols and what I think they mean. Now I will use some of those concepts, along with my understanding of the relationships between the songwriters, to analyze a song.

Malibu is a single from the 1998 album Celebrity Skin. The single’s B-side was a song called “Drag” which is thematically similar to Malibu (The main point being: “Drive away to Malibu”).

It seems like a lot of things happened in 1997 and 1998. Kurt & Courtney was filmed in 1997 and released in 1998. Kurt & Courtney was a mostly privately-funded movie in which Nick Broomfield, a U.K. based film maker, paid a bunch of people cash up front to dish dirt on Courtney Love. Many of the informants were known junkies. This of course, is a completely unethical way of making a documentary and makes the whole thing bunk. Still, it hurt people.

white roses painted redAnother thing that happened in 1998 is that Everett True flew in from England to become music editor at Seattle’s weekly The Stranger. According to True’s Wikipedia page, his tenure lasted one year. He then returned to England and wrote a book called Live Through This.

A third thing that happened in is that Portland songwriter Chris Newman (Napalm Beach) was arrested for heroin possession. While trying to escape prosecution, he lost his apartment. By 1998 Chris and his wife Valarie were living homeless on the streets of Portland.

Malibu: the back story

“Love wrote the lyrics to the song based on her late husband Kurt Cobain’s stay at a rehabilitation clinic in Malibu, California while receiving treatment for his heroin addiction prior to his suicide in 1994.”

why the back story is probably false

It is possible that Kurt Cobain stayed at a rehabilitation clinic in Malibu – but I can’t find any evidence of it. He did stay at a clinic in Marina Del Rey, 40 minutes away. So, maybe. Still, the words of the song don’t quite fit the scenario. In particular lyrics like “How’d you get so desperate? How’d you stay alive?” and “Get well soon – please don’t go any higher – how are you so burnt when you’re barely on fire?” – just don’t make sense in that particular context, especially considering this song came out a full four years after Kurt Cobain’s suicide.

That’s why I believe that Malibu is not so much for Kurt Cobain as for Chris Newman. The subject’s true identity is further confirmed by the line “come and part the sea in Malibu.” She’s not talking to Jesus, she’s talking to Moses.

That said – maybe a song for Chris Newman is, by proxy, a song for Kurt Cobain. I’m beginning to think that Kurt Cobain desperately needed Chris (or someone) to tell the truth. And I believe it was Bruce Pavitt who said, “Kurt would smash his last guitar to express himself.”

So here’s a truth that I can see. SMASH! Malibu is for Chris Newman.

Except I think one part – “and you knew love would tear you apart” – may have a multidimensional meaning, by which I mean, she may mean it in a couple different ways. The change in vocal tone suggests something different about it.

symbols in the song and video

If you accept the lexicon I wrote out in Part II, Chris Newman is represented by the sun. Here is how the sun appears in Malibu: “And the sun goes down / I watch you slip away / And the sun goes down / I walk into the waves.” Again, this album came out shortly after Chris became homeless.

Another clue is the song’s title and location. Chris had lived on the beach in Malibu when he was in his early 20s and trying to “make it” in music. This is something I learned about him very early on, so it is likely something that Courtney remembers about him, too. Chris also loves surf movies, and has made allusions to surfing in his music (“let’s go surfing on the lake of fire!”) His band’s name, Napalm Beach, was inspired in part by the movie Apocalypse Now. I believe that Courtney was trying to let him know that if he wanted to get anywhere in music, he would have had to get out of the Northwest.

Malibu video - flaming palm trees

Napalm Beach. The flaming palm trees should have caught Chris’ attention (had he seen the video before last week).

Another interesting symbol in the Malibu video is the painted backdrop and model city. At first it looks like you are seeing an aerial view of a nice cul-de-sac, but then the sense of perspective is shattered by the dried up palm leaf which points to the wheel of a car, and there is Courtney standing on the hood of the car. The cul-de-sac is a model, not a real neighborhood. The hood of the car under Courtney’s feet is painted with red and white stripes (maybe an allusion to divided/combined loyalties? rose white/rose red?) She’s playing her guitar and behind her is a painted backdrop of a city, similar to something you’d see in a theatrical production.

Malibu video image - the backdrop is on fire

As Hole sings “don’t lay down and die” a hole begins to burn in the fake backdrop. By the time the chorus begins, the hole has opened up wide and the backdrop has fallen. As Courtney sings “drive away FROM Malibu” the little fake village is destroyed by a wrecking ball (sans Miley). For (him) to stay alive, the backdrop (myth) has to be destroyed, and vice versa.

When the chorus comes around again, the words change to “drive away TO Malibu… oceans of angels… oceans of stars” and we see a phalanx of blonde beauties clad in fire-red 1980’s style french cut bathing suits. They stand at attention, facing the setting sun. In addition to the french cuts showing “a blanket of ass,” the red suits suggest the television show Baywatch. According to the Wikipedia article on Baywatch, “Saving people from drowning tended to be one of the most typical situations used in the (Baywatch) shows.”

malibu video scene: beach beauties face the setting sunI believe that the imagery here suggests a few different things. First, there is more red and white imagery. Courtney is in white. Second, the bay watch babes suggest an ocean of angels sent to save Chris from drowning forever. Third, they cradle the baby dolls under their breasts, almost maternally, suggesting nourishment and protection. The baby-as-Small Clone allusion is in there too. And perhaps also the idea from Kurt Cobain’s song, Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle: “come down like fire – burn all the liars – leave a blanket of ash (ass) on the ground.” The “blanket of ash” imagery also suggests Mount Saint Helen’s which erupted in Oregon in 1980, coating the northwest in ash, making streets look like a beach. Napalm Beach.

Car buried in Mt St Helens ash

Also, in this part of the video, there are flashes of Hole band members making “scary faces.” I think this is meaningful because you also see these scary faces in other places. For example, at the end of the original version of the “Heart Shaped Box” video. Dave Grohl is making scary faces, pulling down the skin on the bottom of his eyes. On the insert of the In Utero CD, there is a photo of Kurt Cobain making a similar face. I think these scary faces have something to do with Chris and Napalm Beach. (Update May 2014: yes, it’s the left-eye of Horus)

Here is what you may be wondering: Why on earth would a bunch of famous rock stars be so obsessed with a completely “unknown” musician? And/or, as Chris himself asked me, “are you out of your mind?”

I would consider how fast Nirvana went from being “one of us” to becoming the biggest rock band on the planet. Kurt Cobain was a musical and literary genius, and he became very famous, and he was one of us. If it is true (and it is) that “grunge” is a game in which an older genius, Chris Newman, is considered untouchable, isn’t that likely to cause Chris to also become an object of fascination? Like a monster? (One of Chris’ better known songs is called “Monster” – it appeared on a 1987 Seattle compilation called Bands That Will Make Money.) Isn’t the forbidden fruit the sweetest? You know, “don’t think about pink elephants!”

Meanwhile, both Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love had a connection to Chris which they were not able to express, apparently, except covertly through their art. So everything is in the lyrics. Hidden in plain sight. No doubt Kurt and Courtney’s pure punk rock natures (they were and are punk rock) made them want to subvert the grunge paradigm, especially considering how divisive that paradigm has been.

The end of Malibu is beautiful. “I can’t be near you, the light just radiates.”

When I first understood this song/lullaby/prayer was for Chris, it made me cry. Chris and his wife Valarie went through hell during the six years they were homeless, but miraculously survived and even more miraculously, recovered. I had already sensed that Chris is surrounded by guardian angels. When I saw this video, I understood how much it all matters.

Alice and the two queensI feel like Kurt Cobain’s description of Courtney in his suicide note as “a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy” is apt. I see this song, Malibu, and the associated video as a beautiful gesture among many that have been made. I also understand that these gestures – messages seemingly sent into a void, and which may have gone unrecognized forever – may have had serious consequences for those who made them.

All of it matters.

I began to understand how the false back story to Malibu would have backfired on Courtney, especially in the Kurt & Courtney era. Because Love claimed the song was about her deceased husband, listeners may have believed that the words “I knew love would tear you apart” were directed to Kurt, as if it were some kind of admission of guilt. No, no, NO. That’s a misreading forced by The Grunge Myth.

Malibu is a beautiful song infused with love, hope, and courage.

How to decode almost any POP song: Part II: Lexicon (Introduction)

The Wasteland - 1922 - opening dedication

I first noticed these symbols appearing in a consistent manner in “grunge” songs (Nirvana, Hole, Mudhoney, etc), but I now see that it is an encoded language that predates recorded music (check the lyrics to the folk ballad “House of the Rising Sun” – what’s in the suitcase? who’s in the trunk?). This symbolic language lends itself well to visual representation, so you see it appear in graphic design, television, movies, music videos.

Nothing is more fascinating than a massive secret. I myself have a Masters Degree in English and in all my years at college, no professor ever hinted to me what was the real topic of T.S. Eliot’s most famous poem, The Wasteland. Or of William Carlos Williams’ famous red wheelbarrow.

Illuminati Pizza shirtMy best guess is that this is a secret symbolic language belonging to a sect of freemasonry called Illuminati. My main problem with them is their connection to and ignoring of, crime, in particular, crimes against me, my family, and others whom I love – and their unwillingness, so far, to speak with me directly, much less admit or rectify any wrongdoing. And there has been a great deal of wrongdoing: financially, psychologically, socially, and otherwise.

Illuminati seem to me to be tied together in two primary ways, one being money, and the other being the manipulation, observation, and exploitation of a human being designated as “the sun.” The sun sacrifice is, in fact, a criminal situation. So that means that the Illuminati are linked by 1. money and 2. crime. It seems that no one can tap into the Illuminati revenue streams without also participating in, and staying silent about crime (sleeping). And since, from what I have seen, Illuminati control the United States financial systems (and manipulate other systems as well – because you can do a lot of stuff with all that money). That leaves everyone who wants to be financially “successful” in a bit of an ethical dilemma, doesn’t it?
The Illuminati’s secret sun sacrifice is a direct harm to me and to those that I love. In addition, as I began to research this topic, I was tracked, harassed, lied to, gas-lit, spied upon, exploited, violated, threatened, mocked, dogged, hacked, robbed, sabotaged, blackmailed, and finally, kidnapped. And much of this continues to this day. Knowing that the people who are bullying me are actively backed by some of the most powerful human beings on this planet – millionaires and billionaires – and knowing how many artists have suffered and even died because of this, thinking they had no other choice – well – I am not sure the Illuminati deserve quite the level of respect and secrecy to which they seem to feel entitled.

That said – I think there is hope for everyone.

How to decode the songs – Part I

[UPDATE June 19, 2014: I was figuring stuff out as I was writing. It’s obvious by now that these songwriters tap into a symbolic lexicon that pre-dates recorded music.]

Look, I’m just going to do my best. In general is no “right” or “wrong” way to interpret a piece of art, though some interpretations can be supported with evidence and thus ring truer than others. That said, these songwriters seem to have a unique style of communicating to and about each other through lyrics.

The bands that I’m interested in are: Hole, Nirvana, Mudhoney, Babes In Toyland. The lyricists are Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain, Mark Arm, and Kat Bjelland.

In Utero disc

Why these bands? A few reasons. First, they are bands that I have noticed over the years. They also have a lot in common with me as far as age, cultural background, community, etc. Second, it’s clear to me that these bands had emotional and lyrical interplay. Third, three of these bands are connected to us in Portland. That would be Hole (Courtney is from Portland), Nirvana (Kurt was connected to Portland through Courtney and others), and Babes In Toyland (Kat is also from Portland). The fourth band, Mudhoney, seems to be connected to all of us.

The fact that Kat and Courtney are both from Portland is very much de-emphasized in The Grunge Myth. But they came up in the Portland punk scene, and Kat and Courtney and Mudhoney were all familiar with Napalm Beach bandleader Chris Newman and his music. Nirvana’s relationship with Chris’ music has so far been locked in a box, wrapped in wool, and buried.

Back to the songs. The first thing to know about the songs is that the back stories are usually – not false, per say – but deliberately misleading. By which I mean, the back story may provide an image or a hint to the meaning, but it’s also often meant to throw you off the true path. If I thought that the writers of these songs truly didn’t want anyone to know what the songs mean, I’m not sure I’d be writing this. But most of the time, artists want to be understood. That’s why they are putting the words into a song instead of into a phone conversation, private letter, or locked journal.

On the other hand, there are things in these particular lyrics which, if not obscured, would cause problems. That is why these (and most) artists make up a false back story about their songs.

In this song, Kurt Cobain says that he is making up words that “don’t make sense.” But listen! I detect sarcasm.


Portland songwriter Rozz Rezabek has said (to me) that “On A Plain” borrows a phrase from one of his songs (if so, it might put another spin on the “love myself” line). Like many of Kurt Cobain’s songs, it alludes to what is and is not “safe” to say. The Black Sheep verse is odd. I guess zip codes are really important. [UPDATE: June 19, 2014 now that I have been repeatedly “punished” by the release of illicit and embarrassing footage, and now that I have experienced multiple counts of implied blackmail, I understand that Cobain’s “blackmail” verse probably ought to be taken literally.]

Another thing to notice with Hole and Nirvana songs is that when the albums come with printed lyrics, the words in print are sometimes different than the real words. Usually it’s just a single word that is swapped for another. (Also, this should go without saying, but lyrics found online are often wrong.) A word-swap example from the Hole song “Nobody’s Daughter” is when the printed lyrics say “no one here could ever stop my ruin now” (a relic from the older “demo” version of the song) but in reality she sings “no one here could ever stop my revenge now.”

Both words, ruin and revenge are significant, as is the fact that one word was exchanged for the other. It hints at a transformation. There are many such little word switches on Nirvana’s In Utero, like swapping ass for ash (“Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle”).

Similarly, sounds of words are important: harrowing / heroin (Napalm Beach) whore / horror (Hole) aqua seafoam shame / I’ll proceed from shame (Nirvana). [Update June 19, 2014: Old Dirty Bastard’s “I am the only unique Ason” sounds like “I am the only uni-gay-son.”]

Symbols are very important to these writers. Kat Bjelland, Courtney Love, Mark Arm, and Kurt Cobain use, and used, symbols which would seem to have universal significance in very specific ways. I find Hole and Nirvana’s lyrics to be particularly illuminating. When the angels, stars, fire, dirt, dust, dolls, candy, mud, honey, santa claus etc appear in their songs (and sometimes in images and videos), they are references to specific people and situations.

For many of these images, you can often make a one-to-one correlation. (Hair = thoughts. Sun = Chris Newman. Dirt = degradation.)

Finally, in each of these four bands’ songs, identities can be fluid. Hole’s “Honey” is supposed to be about Kurt Cobain, and it is – but I believe there are two other subjects in the song. (The name “Honey” alone should be be a clue.) Sometimes one subject addressed in verses, and another in the bridge. Vocal inflections offer clues. [Update June 19, 2014: this transient identity thing is especially true in movies. For example, in the Austin Powers movie, Mike Myers plays several different characters, and the “sun” identity shifts from character to character.]

In particular, songs that seem to be about, or addressed to a woman are very likely actually about, or addressed to, a man. [UPDATE June 19, 2014: This is illustrated in James Bond and Austin Powers as a man dressed like a woman, ala Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre actors.]

Kurt Cobain identified as bisexual, another thing that is very much de-emphasized in The Grunge Myth. And it’s strange that The Myth would bury this aspect of Cobain’s personality, because it is so very present in his lyrics and other imagery. It seemed to be something he wanted people to know and understand about him.