Monday, October 30, 2006

Out-Sourcing Strikes Again: Rock's Last Great Hope Will Soon Belong To Some Kids In Thailand
Apparently I missed this Forbes story last week, explaining in great depth how Nirvana will live on in prime-time crime dramas and eco-friendly consumer products.

I can't decide which part is my favourite, so let's review a few of the highlights.

In marketing materials that the company presents to prospective customers, Primary Wave pitches Cobain as an influential music icon with broad appeal.

"To Gen X, Cobain was their voice," the pitch reads. "To the Boomers, he was a revolutionary and to Gen Y, he is as iconic as James Dean, Che Guevara and John Lennon."

The Boomers consider Kurt Cobain a revolutionary? Really? So when I go home this weekend and ask my mum and dad to describe what Kurt Cobain means to them, the first word they will use will be "revolutionary?" Are you sure? Do you have some focus group data to back this up? Because I'm pretty sure the first word they will use to describe to Kurt Cobain is "dead" or possibly "who?" (1)

Primary Wave approached CSI: Miami music supervisor P.J. Bloom in August about the possibility of using Nirvana songs in an episode of the show, one of the most popular programs on television, both in the U.S. and overseas.

As it happens, the 37-year-old Bloom is an avid Nirvana fan who followed the band from its early days before it broke big nationally. After Bloom quickly warmed to the idea, he asked Primary Wave to make sure that all those with an interest in the deal -- Geffen, Love, former Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl and their managers -- were all supportive of the concept.

Once that was secured, both sides laid down some basic ground rules. Primary Wave stipulated that the episode using Nirvana music not feature any suicide or drug-addiction themes -- Cobain famously struggled with heroin. Bloom, in turn, insisted that CSI: Miami have exclusive TV rights to Nirvana songs until the episode airs...

Bloom declined to disclose the plot of the episode, saying only that it involves "evil military recruiters."

This actually makes a lot of sense. If Cobain didn't already write a song about evil military recruiters, I'm sure he would have had he lived long enough to do so. Failing that, maybe he would have tried to put an ironic twist on Elvis' military, er, career and joined the Marines. How fantastic would that have been? Probably like Matthew Modine's character in Full Metal Jacket only with a raging heroin addiction and a propensity for non-sensical battle cries (2).

Bloom says he's aware that the use of Cobain's songs on a TV show might rankle some fans.

"It's going to happen with or without me," he says. "They should find solace in the fact that it's a true Nirvana fan that's behind the wheel. [The show] will use the music in a way that maintains Kurt's legacy and keeps that intact. I wouldn't do it any other way."

Asher agrees. "If a hundred kids in Thailand watch [a TV show featuring Nirvana's music] and think, 'Wow, who's that?' then we've accomplished our mission," he says.

Several questions of varying importance:

What exactly is Kurt Cobain's legacy at this point?
How exactly does an overwrought crime show starring David Caruso having anything to do with that legacy?
And, finally, how many kids in Thailand watch CSI: Miami? CSI: Las Vegas, sure. But CSI: Miami? I'm not even sure why people in Miami would watch CSI: Miami. Are we to believe David Caruso pulls huge audiences in Thailand? Is Caruso to Thailand as Hasselhoff is to Germany? Is that what's sustained him since NYPD Blue?

(1) To clarify against misinterpretation, this is not to question the general, pop culture knowledge of my parents. Quite the contrary. Furthermore, if I was a baby boomer, I wouldn't give a shit about Kurt Cobain. Seriously. Why would I care? My generation had the Beatles, Rolling Stones and some pretty good years of Frank Sinatra. Kurt Cobain? Whatever.
(2) "Sickening pessimist, hypocrite master/ Conservative communist, apocalyptic bastard/ Thank you dear God, for putting me on this Earth. I feel very privileged, in debt for my thirst!"

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