Skullman Records

Boo Frog, Snow Bud and the Flower People, Divining Rods, Napalm Beach

Research and Writing – III – Dates

One of the assertions I’ve been making for years now is that Kurt Cobain coded lots of messages into his music which could be picked up by either Chris or by me. I know it’s not only Cobain who did this, but he was extremely clever at how he went about it, and he was importantly positioned both in time (he was almost exactly one year older than me – shared a birthday with my mother, actually) – and location, and of course by profession as a musical artist.

After going back into my journals at length, which I started to do in 2018, I realized that Cobain in a lot of ways knew my journals better than I did. As for Chris, all of his journals, and all of his letters prior to 2014 have vanished. Some of his letters vanished after he was living with me, so it is not that Chris lost or misplaced them. Someone stole them.

The first Nirvana song that I realized was based on one of my poems was the song called Sappy, based on a poem of mine called Caterpillar Jar and I’ve talked about it at length on videos and so forth. Caterpillar Jar appears in my journal first in March 1988. So, if you look up the history of Sappy, on Wikipedia you learn that it was first relased in October 1993, but the Sappy Wikipedia entry goes on to say “Originally recorded under the working title “Sad”, “Sappy” dates back to at least 1987. The first known version of the song is a solo home demo recorded by Cobain in the late 1980s”

“at least 1987” – really? I still contend that the version that came out in 1993 is based on my poem from March 1988. Where does “at least 1987” come from, and is there evidence to support that claim, the way I have evidence of the date of my poem in my 1988 journal? I don’t know the answer to that, but the source for the claim is a 2006 book called Nirvana: In Utero by a Seattle writer named Gillian Gaar. In order to find out how Gaar established the 1987 date I’d have to track down the book and see what her sources are. The thing about this is, however, in this context – northwest music history in general and Nirvana in particular – you cannot trust what people say, even when there are several people corroborating the same story. Because there is a script.

This came up again with regards to another song from 1993’s In Utero, and that is Heart Shaped Box. While writing about honey traps I started thinking about the “tar pit trap” line. Chris had written a song called Tar Pits which he recorded in 1992 (correction – Tar Pits was more likely recorded, burned up, and re-recorded in Spring 1993 – see “new information” post).

Chris had married Valarie – a heroin-addicted CIA-trauma-trained honey trap – in August 1991. Chris’ first releases were on a label called “Trap” belonging to Greg Sage of the Wipers, and Chris’ drummer, Sam Henry, was the Wipers original drummer. Sam was also a heroin addict, and Sam’s secret job, like the secret job of Valarie, and for that matter, Greg Sage, was to “trap” Chris. Chris was deliberately trapped with distractions, brainwashing, misdirection, psychological manipulation, bad advice, and drugs.

I think Cobain was drawing a parallel between himself and Chris with that line, in a few different ways.

The thing about artists that imitate Chris music – it was possible to imitate Chris musically before Chris performed publicly or recorded because of the surveillance trafficking coming right out of our private residences, and there are times I suspect this may have happened. So I don’t know exactly when Tar Pits was written, and in fact I believe the album on which it appeared, Snow Bud and the Flower People Ripped Van Stinkle was actually recorded twice, because a fire destroyed the master tapes in the period of time after it had been recorded and before it had been mixed (that was the Dogfish Studio Fire). Chris’ memory was generally good about dates, and he gave me the date of October 1992 as the date that Ripped Van Stinkle, and Tar Pits, was released.

In Utero was recorded in February 1993 and released the following September. When was Heart Shaped Box written? According to the current Wikipedia article, it was written in early 1992. What’s the source? Gillian Gaar again. This time it’s not clear from the footnote what publication; possibly it’s the same In Utero book claiming the 1987 date for Sappy.

One other thing I find a bit interesting – Gaar’s twitter bio reads thusly: “Writer and thinker. #binders” -On the album Ripped Van Stinkle, “Tar Pits” is track 11. Track 12, the last song on the album, is called “The Thinker”

 

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