Photo: John Barkiple
Performer: Lindsay Heath
27 Club Artist: Nirvana
For SLUG’s 27th birthday, we’ve enlisted six local performers to breathe new life into songs from members of the 27 Club, famous musicians who passed before their time at the age of 27. Be sure to catch SLUG’s 27 Club Anniversary Party at Metro Bar on March 11—doors at 9 p.m., show at 10:30 p.m., $5 at the door.
When did you first hear this artist, and why did they inspire you?
It was 1991, and I was 10 years old. I so vividly recall one night head-banging while balancing on my skateboard, facing the television in the middle of my childhood living room as I pretended to be Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl simultaneously, singing and air-drumming along with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” hoping to impress my babysitter. I watched MTV religiously as a kid (back when it was music TV), and I’ll never forget how groundbreaking that video was for me. It was my introduction to my lifelong favorite band. I immediately felt an affinity with Kurt, the band, the sound and the aesthetic.
What about this artist’s song that you’ll perform resonates with you, compared to other songs in their oeuvre?
“Heart Shaped Box” contains all of my favorite things. Minor chords and harmonies, big heavy floor toms (drums), and some of the most poetic, darkly beautiful lyrics ever written.
What contributions did this artist make to alternative/underground music?
Well, for one, Nirvana invented what we know as “grunge”, and the grunge movement.
Why do you feel that this artist’s legacy lives on so strongly today?
The essence of his creations are timeless, as true artists channel and manifest (make tangible) the power and act of creation itself.
Tell us your favorite anecdote about this artist.
He loved Abba.
What insights about this artist can you share that many others might not know?
I feel like it’s all popular knowledge at this point.
How will your performance capture this artist and their personality?
I think my interpretation of Heart Shaped Box sheds light on certain angles of the composition which only exist under the surface.
How do you feel that your performance style aligns with or complements this artist’s work?
I feel that my performance style was more deeply influenced and inspired by Kurt, Dave, and Nirvana than any other artist / band ever. I’ll consider this cover my most sincere tribute to them, for having had such a strong hand in shaping my view of music and art.
In your performance, what changes/stylization will you make to their work?
My interpretation of the song could aptly be called a dark lullaby. I’ve pulled back the layers of thick heavy rock to reveal a vulnerable, raw, eerily beautiful melody that Kurt didn’t record, but I believe he heard it too.
What iconic imagery will you include in your homage to this artist?
I’d like to emulate the studio set from the Unplugged In NY footage, if I can gather all the goth flowers and candles in time.
What’s a quote or lyric from this artist that’s meaningful/impactful for you?
“All in all is all we are”
What message have you taken from this artist in a positive way in your life?
That regardless of how dark life can become, unapologetic honesty and realness can inspire others endlessly.
What are your thoughts about the 27 Club? What’s the No. 1 reason not to join the 27 Club?
I think our 27 Club performers just might rival the real ones.
With regard to SLUG’s 27th Anniversary Party, why are you excited to perform this piece?
I was born to perform this piece, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity.