a friend of mine who used to be a street junkie in sf for years (lived in a cardboard box in an alley for FOUR YEARS!!!) has great stories about turning tricks with courtney in the old days. but she became deeply afraid of her even back then. had to run...
i saw nirvana at every stage of their career. toward the end they were just going through the motions. they got REAL depressing to watch. that last tour was awful. it was like watching somebody slowly die in front of you. when it was announcd that 'a body was found' at curtandcourtney's house (on my birthday, no less), there was no question in anybody's mind what had happened. when they announced his death, there were already hundreds of people holding a vigil. shock, but not a lick of surprise.
the poor bastard really should have had a big "L" tattooed on his forehead.
but i still can't listen to 'teen spirit' without getting a lump in my throat. did that to me from the very beginning.
subpop almost went bankrupt at least three times. mudhoney GAVE them "every good boy" just to keep their pals afloat. geffen's breaking nirvana saved their bank accounts.
they survived off the kindness of their friends. i did work for them when nobody else in town would touch them. lisa orth and charles peterson and jack endino never got paid for their efforts. most of the bands never got a dime in royalties on those early records - until their lawyers forced the issue. sub pop was viewed as a community effort by all in seattle, but when the money started to flow, it suddenly became bruce and jonathan. they abandoned all those people who saved their asses and started spending HUGE money on outside 'talent'. classic record label behaviour. exploitation and screwing the friends.
to be fair, bruce (after he quit the label with literally millions of dollars) became one of the best rich guys i've ever met. he helped out many many firends unselfishly. good on him.
as for the label, people stuck with them hoping they'd get some return and because they were the only show in town. most everybody continued to lose their shirts on that operation. there's one great legend of jesse bernstein forcing them at gunpoint to go to the bank and take out all of the money they had (something like $75) to pay him for the track on subpop 200. true or not, that's how bad it got.
everybody thought it was cute that 'little curt' has his own band. he took his haircut from mark arm. he took his walletchain from steve turner. he took his clothes from hat the dykes had worn is seattle for years. but that voice! those songs! that whiney self-pity! amazing stuff. still holds up. still a monster. and he will never get old and fat and bald and ugly. the best in ghoulishness - they'll be another doors in ten years.
the sad and dirty truth about subpop is that they never 'broke' a single band. geffen broke nirvana. a&m broke soundgarden. warner broke mudhoney (literally). subpop exists on back catalog sales of the original releases made before bruce quit the label in disgust back in the early 90's. jonathan poneman (the other partner) is still looking to prove he's a hitmaker, but has not ever pulled it off.
i wish i was in texas for the thick your (real) scene. i'm envious of you guys.
i haven't been able to even look at anything subpop since they very consiously started mining the garage rock scene (and estrus and even my estrus design work) a few years back. for awhile subpop seemed bound and determined to put estrus out of business. it was scary. they literally went after every single band estrus had released. thank god most of those bands were smarter than to step into the subpop grinder. they may not have stayed with estrus, but at least they avoided subpop. just look at the makers.