in the pines, in the pines, where the sun don’t ever shine. i would shiver the whole night through. . .
whenever i think of nirvana, i think of that song, the one kurt cobain didn’t even write. for me that’s nirvana. and when i hear that song, i see crazy tony in the middle of the living room floor sitting on one foot, his forehead resting on one bent knee, one hand on the back of his head, and he’s rocking slowly back and forth — singing that song. i sat on a chair not three feet from him, drunk and high. i couldn’t take my eyes off crazy tony, it was a car wreck and i just had to rubberneck. he sounded like a wounded animal, it was mesmerizing.
a lot of people were afraid of crazy tony. he had that loose cannon air about him. he had lots of tattoos, spiderwebs on his elbows and such. he had done some time, perhaps in juvvie, i can’t quite remember this was 1995 after all. he was tall and thin, and wore a blue hooded sweatshirt back before hoodies were the ubiquitous wardrobe choice of emo kids everywhere. he had short black hair that stood up all over the place. crazy tony had those broken eyes, those eyes that aren’t quite connected right like charles manson and perry farrell.
crazy tony was nothing but nice to me. i met him through amy skal, my gravelly-throated beautiful roommate at the time.
that night, after a rousing evening at the local watering holes, we went back to our place to get some pizza. andy, amy’s boyfriend, put in the nirvana cd– the mtv unplugged one, and crazy tony immediately, vehemently and actively demanded that he play the “in the pines” song. i watched from my spot in the corner has tony curled in on himself, sinking to the floor. i listened as he moaned out the song, his voice filled with the kind of pain i had never experienced. it was the most moving, mesmerizing vocal performance i had ever been privvy to. once the song ended, tony popped up from the floor as if nothing had happened, and asked if the pizza was here yet. it was like he was waking from a trance.
so today, on the 10th anniversary of kurt cobain’s death that’s what i’m thinking about. i’m thinking of that magical boy with so much pain i called crazy tony. remembering that night and my wonder at all the life inside of tony is much more fun than remembering the sad death of the man whose music was supposed to help define my generation.