1992 Was the Last Year ‘Rolling Stone’ Magazine Was Relevant
Growing up, I had an old school subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. By old school, I, of course, mean they mailed it to my friggin' house. Yeah, that is old school -- I had to turn pages and everything.
At that time, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I grew up with my dad telling me about Rock and Roll from the 60s and the 70s, and what it meant for him to see his favorite band on the cover of RS.
What I did not know at the time, as a high school freshman (1992) is that the magazine was in the middle of its last few relevant moments. The publication would become a printed piece of nostalgia after that. The magazine's central focus would later become a ranking a system for American/British pop culture. Oh, and of course, a liberal political propaganda machine.
I watched Nirvana's performance of "Lithium" at the MTV Video Music Awards September 9th, 1992. That was my first week in high school. It changed the way I, along with many others, looked at music forever.
That turned out to be a historic night in Rock and Roll. Rolling Stone had already dedicated a cover to the band earlier in the year, April of 1992, to be exact.
Michael Azerrad had a great article that was published in RS on April 16, 1992 that focused on Kurt Cobain. Cobain, for his part, foreshadowed the internal conflicts he had about his new-found success. He said told Rolling Stone:
I don't blame the average seventeen-year-old punk-rock kid for calling me a sellout, I understand that. Maybe when they grow up a little bit, they'll realize there's more things to life than living out your rock & roll identity so righteously.
Kurt Cobain, by all accounts, would struggle with these insecurities for the rest of his short career. The guy wore a T-shirt that said, "Corporate Magazines Still Suck" on the cover of that very issue. He was so torn about being popular and it seems he was not sure he wanted to be. Rolling Stone, to say the least, had some things to write about with Cobain and Nirvana.
In 1992, they also dedicated the cover photos and feature articles to; R.E.M, Bruce Springsteen, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson, Ice-T, Axl Rose and F'ing BATMAN just to name a few.
This was the last year the magazine gave us something to chew on cover after cover, article after article, and Nirvana was their crown jewel. This was the last time we heard something we had never heard before. I guess it's bigger than the magazine. It is that moment in time that we all witnessed the death of originality in music.
I wish I could tell you that I knew this was the end then. I did not know, I could not see that this was the last long poem for Rock and Roll. I can tell you, however, that I didn't think of it yesterday. I know the date when I realized that Rolling Stone magazine was dead to me. It happened on November 13, 2003. That was the day that Rolling Stone Magazine crowned The Strokes as the new kings of rock. Yep, these guys:
In case you remember, and/or like that band, let me remind you that they had one hit. It was called, "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah (We Suck)". No, seriously, I won't put their only hit single in this blog, and I swear, if you like it or them then you should never talk to me again.
Also, remember that two minutes ago, we were talking about this band which is and always will be the last fresh breath of air that Rock music ever took into its collective lungs.
1992 was the last time we were told something noteworthy about music that we did not already know from Rolling Stone magazine. Unless, of course, you care about Adele. She just makes me sad, though.
P.S. -- If you message, e-mail, or call me, and tell me that the Nirvana Unplugged episode aired in 1993, I WILL KICK YOU IN THE THROAT. I KNOW ALREADY. It's just damn pretty.