Thank you for being here with me, Bruce Hilliard, friend of those who want no friends and part-time dressmaker’s dummy. I’d like to thank DJ Richard Dee from Aberdeen radio for that tag and a shoutout to KOSW Ocean Shores for playing my show every Saturday morning.
We’re doing a couple of my darker songs, Pawn Shop Boulevard and Endless Rain followed by a country cover and a surprise. Don’t freak out, it’s not a new car. And I’m not depressed about my string of pitiful failures and I’m not going into a shame spiral . But for this set:
Pawn Shop Boulevard: It's about a broken man that's lost his wife and is desperate for someone to talk to as a friend. He has no money, no friends and no hope. He pawns his departed wife's wedding ring and spends his last penny on a lady of the night if only to "whisper in his ear, it's gonna be alright."
Endless Rain I grew up in a timber town called Aberdeen Washington…or Warshington as some people call it. It's located at the foot of an admitted rain forest, a very wet forest that’s no longer in denial, and my little town gets about 80 plus inches of rain per year. In fact, much of Aberdeen’s existence is the result of rain. It’s forte: Fishing, logging, suicide, homelessness and rock bands.
Aberdonians make lame remarks about the weather but seldom do anything about having it replaced. When I meet people and tell them I’m from Aberdeen one of the most common responses, after the responder gets done apologizing for my struggle living in such a God forsaken impoverished ghetto, is “did you know Kurt Cobain?”
No, I knew his immediate and extended family, friends and teachers. The second half of the 70s, in the pre-ghetto era of Aberdeen, I was a big man on campus (BMOC) in the region in the form of a long haired lead guitar player. My band’s rehearsal house was about two blocks from Kurt’s childhood home. The neighborhood kids would hang out in front of the place to listen and see what was going on with these counter culture dudes.
Fast forward about three years. I’d made the decision to get out of the band business and become a TV meteorologist. That’s when I met a newly divorced Wendy Cobain, mother blue-eyed blond hair Kurt and daughter Kim. (This could go into Come As You Are.) She apparently thought the world of rock was always giddy and fun. And for me at the time it was but I saw a need to get a real job so I went back to WSU to study communications. That was the third to last time I left Aberdeen for the final time.
I heard Kurt got guitar lessons but in true rock fashion taught himself. He taught himself many things…some good, some bad. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.
I was sad when I heard Wendy quoted as saying Kurt was now a part of the 27 Club with Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison…he was 27 and gone. There is a long and distinguished list of musician icons that made it to age 27 and stopped dead. OD’d, crashes, poisonings…whatever ya got.
This song Endless Rain was written and recorded prior to Kurt's death in 1994. About a year prior. It was not so prophetic as intuitive. His death was tragic but not accidental. Stop me when you see a red flag. There were drugs, money, a baby, work obligations, and I say that I don’t have a gun. Being from Aberdeen I predicted the more popular hanging.
So here’s to “fighters fight and writers write and mothers sigh and sanctify a lullaby to a sleepy eye of a hurricane.” I wrote this as a stream of consciousness montage. In other words, my pen wrote it. I know plenty of people that were far more Kurt/Nirvana than me but this is my song. No approval required to venture into the abyss.
One of my workout buddies suggested I cover this one: Old Dominion’s One Man Band.