WEIRDLAND: Nirvana's Montage of Heck, Wilco, Bradley Cooper's air guitar

Friday, May 08, 2015

Nirvana's Montage of Heck, Wilco, Bradley Cooper's air guitar

There is no shortage of information concerning the life and times of music icon Kurt Cobain. Through countless magazine articles, books, and films, a fairly accurate portrait of the man has been created, but a mystery surrounding his troubled existence somehow remains.

Biographical information is provided in “Montage of Heck,” with the opening of the film covering the Aberdeen, Washington years, where young Kurt lost a sense of security when his parents divorced. Growing up in a state of alienation and rejection, Morgan makes a specific point about Kurt’s pinball existence, where a sense of belonging was never found, caught between a mother who lost patience and interest in him and a father who started over with another family. Morgan manages to sit down with Don Cobain and Wendy O’Connor, and while he doesn’t push too hard on the subject of abandonment, the parents aren’t particularly shy to share their befuddlement with Kurt and his behavioral problems, basically admitting he raised himself once he hit his teenage years.

Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love during their honeymoon in Hawaii, 1992

Morgan sits down with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Kurt’s sister Kim, and Courtney Love, but interviews, while valued, aren’t the point of “Montage of Heck.” The documentary is more about abrasion, with sights and sounds rubbing each other raw, finding the noisy pitch of art-school escapism Kurt flourished within. “Cobain: Montage of Heck” is the microscopic study fans have been craving since the musician’s 1994 suicide, capturing the humanity of a rock star, not just the extent of his image. Source:

Wilco - I am trying to break your heart (2002) directed by Sam Jones. “Since Uncle Tupelo, I’ve been trained that you put out a record and people buy it five years later,” says Jeff Tweedy, leader man of Wilco. On top of it all, the cruel logic of major-label math meant Wilco’s royalties for both Mermaid Avenue albums were less than $1,000 despite their combined sales of about 400,000. Tweedy had long ago figured out that making records isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme.

Victimized by the corporate wrangling at AOL Time Warner, Wilco suddenly found itself without any champions at Reprise, and with a completed album hanging in limbo. The story has a happy, deliciously ironic ending: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was picked up by another Warner label (Nonesuch) for three times the money, and it made its debut high on the Billboard charts on the force of Wilco's fan base and ecstatic reviews. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart is first and foremost about the art and joy of making music, with extensive and crisply recorded footage devoted to songs in various stages of development and deconstruction. Stripped of the layers of discord that alienated Reprise executives, the opening track becomes a lovely acoustic folk song; with dual electric guitars, "Kamera" sounds more like a raucous outtake from 1995's A.M. than the plaintive version on the finished album. Above all, the documentary is a reminder that the small miracles of a great record come from artistic devotion and agonizing rigor, even if the sum ultimately falls on tin ears. Source:

Aloha, Mahalo, Malasada, Jeff Tweedy solo acoustic from Hawaii Theatre (2011). Tweedy flubbed a lyric during “New Madrid,” and explained afterward that the reason was he had been thinking about a psychedelic depiction of himself using a number of Hawaiian motifs on the cover of the Honolulu Weekly. Someone produced a copy from backstage, which Jeff proudly showed off and kissed, saying it looked nothing like him but was nevertheless amazing.

Air Guitar with Bradley Cooper - Bradley Cooper shows Jimmy Fallon his impressive air guitar skills by shredding Neil Young's solo from "Down by the River."

Bradley Cooper with Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams on the set of "Aloha" (2014) directed by Cameron Crowe

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