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The Difference Between Nirvana and Pearl Jam Was The Teams They Hired To Support Them...

Sell the kids for food
Weather changes moods
Spring is here again
Reproductive glands

Hey - he's the one
Who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Don't know what it means, when I say...

I recently got back from a anniversary trip with Mrs. Capitalist.  We took advantage of some work travel I had and took 6 days to drive from Napa to Seattle, moving from the Russian River valley in NoCal up Highway 1 in California, to the mountains of Oregon before finishing the trip in Seattle.

Great trip, lots of highlights and some pictures appear below.  But since this is a talent blog of sorts, I thought I'd share the most interesting talent snippet I picked up on vacation.

As you should expect from a Gen X'er, it's related to the grunge scene that stated in the state of Washington, with a critical mass in Seattle.

We visited the Experience Music Project (EMP) that's located in Seattle Center around the Space Needle.  The EMP was funded primarily by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates and a guy that can basically do whatever he wants.  Here's the description of the Experience Music Project (EMP) on the web:

"EMP Museum is a nonprofit museum, dedicated to contemporary popular culture. EMP Museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. Since that time EMP has organized dozens of exhibits, 17 of which have toured across the US and internationally.

The museum, which used to be known as Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (EMP|SFM), has founded many public programs including Sound Off! an annual 21 and under battle-of-the-bands that supports the all-ages scene and Pop Conference an annual gathering of academics, critics, musicians and music buffs."

I'd be the first to tell you there's some nerdy shit going on at EMP, primarily of the Science Fiction realm.

But the music exhibits are the bomb, and Mrs. Capitalist and I spent over 2 hours in one exhibit focused on the Seattle music scene told through the lens of the rise of Nirvana.

My favorite Seattle scene groups are Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, probably in that order.  I've shared my 5 favorite photos from the Nirvana exhibit below for you perusal (email subscribers enable images or click through for photos), but in spending some time in the video archives that have hundreds of interviews on the Seattle scene, I picked up the following truth shared by multiple people:

The Difference Between Nirvana and Pearl Jam Was The Teams They Hired To Support Them...

That underscores a few realities. There are people who throw shade to Pearl Jam based off of their commercial success, etc.  Those same people view Nirvana as more gifted, more important, etc.

But Nirvana was a comet that was extinguished by Kurt Cobain's suicide a mere 3 years after they broke onto the scene with "Smells Like Teen Spirit". 

The reason cited by multiple people for Nirvana being a comet and Pearl Jam still being with us after 20+ years?  Pearl Jam - from day 1 - always surrounded themselves with great people, from their manager to the the lowest level roadie.

Nirvana? The same interviews suggest that Nirvana generally employed the most deplorable people, the ones who were it it for themselves (at all levels including roadies) above all else.  The biggest example of that was the fact that Cobain had few people he could turn to in his darkest hour.  When you're surrounded by no one who will tell you no, it's no surprise things end up in tragedy.

The best team usually wins.  The interviews at EMP suggest that talent issues we live every day as HR and recruiting pros were front and center for both Nirvana and Pearl Jam. One had a plan, the other one didn't - the rest is history.

Enjoy my five favorite photos from the Nirvana exhibit at EMP below (captions for each underneath).

Guitar tree

Guitar tree at EMP.  Too bad Cobain wasn't around long enough to trash of all these.

Cobain regan sketch

Cobain liked art in High School.  Here's a sketch he did of Reagan - not bad!

Nirvana checkbook

Like you in your early 20's, Nirvana had a checkbook before they hit it big.  See $16 check to Tacoma Dodge for van parts, a Uhaul check and a grocery store purchase.  Would love to know who wrote the checks in the band.  I'm guessing Dave Grohl.

First Nirvana label deal

Nirvana's first label deal.  $600 advance - as in "six hundred. period."  Those option years are looking pretty tasty if you're a struggling label knowing what we know today.

KFC Cobain

And finally, Cobain having fun with the KFC Icon on the road, just before Nirvana broke out.

RIP Kurt Cobain. 


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