Saturday, May 22, 2021

My Grandfather and My Favorite Nirvana Song


I recently posted my thoughts about my Grandfather, who passed away last week. While I will always have pictures and memories to remember him, there is also a song by Nirvana that brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.

The first time I heard "Sliver", it was on MTV in the mid-1990s. I was familiar with Nirvana's bigger hits such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Come As You Are", etc, but I had never heard this raw, punk-like Nirvana song. I wasn't even sure what album it was on (1994's Incesticide, I would find out. Although it was a single released during Nirvana's earlier days with SubPop Records.)

Sliver stayed in my memory for a long time as in those pre-internet days, trying to find a song you heard once was fairly difficult. Today, I would have searched YouTube for 10 minutes and found it. It wasn't until I found a bootleg copy of "The Best of Nirvana" at a vendor table in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1998 that I finally owned the song I heard years earlier.

First, the video, then I will discuss why this song means so much to me.


When I was little, my parents and I lived approximately 10 minutes from my mother's parents. We went there regularly. It was there that I watched Star Wars on VHS for the first time - and every time I visited. While the adults talked and prepared dinner, I was in the living room watching Star Wars or cartoons. Every time.

And when my parents had to go somewhere and couldn't bring me, as the song says, they dropped me off at Grandpa Joe's. The rest of the lyrics also reflect different times at my Grandparents.


[Verse 1]

When Mom and Dad went to a show

They dropped me off at grandpa Joe's

I kicked and screamed

Said, "Please, don't go!"

Although I liked going to my Grandparents' house, I am sure I did this a few times.


[Verse 2]

Had to eat my dinner there

Mashed potatoes and stuff like that

I couldn't chew my meat too good

I ate dinner at my Grandparents' house many times. As a growing kid with a fast metabolism, my Grandmother used to say I had a hollow leg. One of my Grandmother's best dinners was meatloaf and mashed potatoes and stuff like that.


[Verse 3]

She said, "Why don't you stop your crying?

Go outside and ride your bike"

That's what I did

I killed my toe!

I don't remember riding my bike around my Grandparents' house when I was little, but when I was 10, we visited my Grandparents' new house in Florida. I went outside to ride a bike and instead of killing my toe, I flipped off the bike, banged my head, and had a concussion. Not quite the same, but close.


[Verse 4]

Well, after dinner I had ice cream

I fell asleep and watched TV

I woke up in my mothers arms!

I guarantee this happened. As I mentioned, I watched Star Wars every time I was there. And like most kids, I had a huge ice cream habit.

I am not sure if Kurt Cobain really had a Grandpa Joe. I am also not sure if his childhood was spent eating dinner at his Grandparents house, having ice cream for dessert, and falling asleep to Star Wars. Maybe this is just a catchy pop tune that popped into Cobain's brain as he was fiddling with his guitar. Maybe he just dug the rhythm of the lyrics and an Uncle Ralph or Uncle Fred wouldn't rhyme with "show".

But I had a Grandpa Joe and whenever Sliver plays, I will remember those days. 

Every line ends in rhyme. 


[Chorus]

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

Grandma, take me home!

I wanna be alone!

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