It’s doubtful that the reputation of Carbondale, IL., punk rock, the band Nirvana, or any common sense of objective truth will ever recover from Ron Synovitz’s drunken, delusional polemic claiming that an exhausted pre-famous grunge band from Seattle made a previously unscheduled detour on their way to Iowa from Texas and played at a crappy punk venue in Carbondale on July 4, 1989 while the local University was on break and the town along with the local punk scene was dead.
With such dire consequences resulting from the spread of rock ‘n’ roll falsehoods, it is tempting to renounce Ron and all his works, but it is too late. I am damned for all time. I published his now viral article. By viral, I don’t mean that millions have read it… I mean that it is disease. I spread the disease. The words are toxic and the content leaves destroyed friendships in its wake. By friendship, I mean a vague aquaintance that used to be in the same place at the same time as me decades ago defriended me on Facebook because of it. Worse than that, I have desecrated the memory of a crappy dive that sold bad pizza and cheap foul tasting beer but stayed in business by letting loud bands invite their idiot friends to pay a cover to get their ears blown out. The memories are fading but what remains is the ringing in our ears and the bad nostalgia for making loud tantrums while fascists increased their domination of the planet.
The funniest part about the ongoing dispute is that a former staff member of an alternative newspaper (BASEMENT) wrote the thing and didn’t quote another former staff member, Manny Flanders, who long ago claimed to be there. Manny was my former roommate. This is the conversation I remember about that fateful day: “Did you see that Nirvana show?” – “I saw them. They sucked.” This is the conversation another friend remembers about Manny. “I really wanted to see Nirvana.” – “Don’t feel bad. I saw them. They sucked.” – “You’re just trying to make me feel better about not being able to make the show.” – “No, they really sucked.”
Malcolm Robertson, a central character of Ron’s story, claims it is simply untrue. He claims Ron is deliberately misleading readers for laughs. Ron, an expatriot professional journalist who formerly worked in war zones and now lives in Prague, stands by his story.
I simply don’t care. I don’t fucking care.