I would bet you dollars to donuts that I’ve written about this somewhere at some point before. And I even tried to go find what I might have said before, I got to about 2006 and was too bored to continue on.
Forgive me if I repeat myself. It’s going to happen. My life isn’t that exciting and also this blog is almost seventeen years old. That’s 119 in dog years and I have no idea how those convert to internet years.
This morning The Current’s Coffee Break was all grunge to commemorate the deaths of Kurt Cobain (1994) and Layne Staley (2002). And because I was 21 in April of 1994 when grunge was at its peak I had many, many random flashbacks to go along with each song they played.
However, it wasn’t until they got to Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter in a Small Town” that I thought “Oh, I should write about that. Again. Probably.”
Whenever I hear this song out of context of the “Vs.” album, I think of two people: F.R. Chicken and Jason Becker. They kind of go hand in hand because if it wasn’t for F.R. then I wouldn’t have written the review of “Vs.” for the college newspaper and thus would never have been mansplained record reviews by Jason Becker.
F.R. Chicken was supposed to write the review of Pearl Jam’s second album. She called it, and there were a lot of people who wanted to write it. It was the album everybody wanted to hear in the fall of 1993. And the day it came out we gathered in the newspaper office to listen to it and talk about it in hushed tones of reverence. Sometime that afternoon F.R. walked in and said that she couldn’t write the review. Her reasoning was something like “I cannot find the words and also, “EWBTCiaST makes me randomly burst into tears whenever I hear it.”
So I wrote the review that was full of fawning and superlatives and whatever other kind of adoration fell from my 21-year-old fangirl fingers. If I had the intestinal fortitude I would go upstairs and dig around in the box filled with nostalgia and emotional landmines to find the review. I will spare you and me the disaster that I’m sure that review is. Besides, I don’t feel like dying of embarrassment right now.
Now, I always kinda liked Jason Becker, which wasn’t a popular sentiment around the newspaper office. My friend Trish called him a weasel. She really loathed him and in hindsight I can see that she was right. Jason was kind of a holier-than-though know-it-all, especially when it came to music.
After my laudatory review, Jason sat me down in the newspaper office to lecture me about being careful in my reviews, especially he part where I said something about Eddie Vedder’s distinctive voice. “Nobody’s going to know who Eddie Vedder is in twenty years,” he said.
At the time I didn’t think enough about the situation to be more than moderately annoyed. I was young and green and it would have never occurred to me that my opinion about Pearl Jam was just as valid as anything Jason Becker had to say. Nor would it have occurred to me that the weasel would have never, ever given a lecture to any of the dudes who wrote record reviews. Grrrr. I don’t remember my exact reaction but I’m sure I was meek and conciliatory. Now, of course, I would unleash hellfire and damnation upon him. Since I can’t go back in time to flick him in the ear and tell him to shut the fuck up, I just smile a bit whenever Pearl Jam floats into my consciousness because damnit, I was right and he was wrong.
I WAS RIGHT AND HE WAS WRONG!