Between the later part of 2006 and middle of 2007, I received three offers from three record labels to reproduce and distribute Missing Filemon’s two albums – the debut ‘Mising Filemon (Suroysuroy)’ and ‘Sinesine’. “And if things are good, we have money for your third album,” they told me. The condition, and this had to be on contract and non-negotiable: “Write a few songs in Tagalog, and record some Tagalog versions of your old hits.”

I told them something like “Fuck you and your Tagalog market.” I never heard from them again. I was reminded of this after reading Bordowitz on Nirvana and the Seattle ‘grunge’ scene. Read, too, what made Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ work. If there’s a song that gave me courage to finally quit my seminary studies, this would be it.

“(Nirvana’s debut album Bleach) was loud, crude, and very punk, but there was something else to both the record and the band. Part of it was that under all the noise and… grunge, as the scene came to be called outside of Seattle, there were hooks. There was also the real pain and vulnerability that came through in Cobain’s vocals…

“Most indie punk bands had a love/hate relationship with even the idea of major labels. On the one hand, no one could get the music out to a broader audience. It was, after all, the concept of controlling distribution that made a major recording company a major recording company. However, there was always the fear factor. “Of course, we were afraid they would make us do something,” Bob Mould recalled of Husker Du’s earlier foray with a major label, “because everyone kept telling us, ‘Oh, you go with them, they’re going to change you completely…”

“… Nirvana gave in to the inevitable, signing with the David Geffen Company (DGC). DGC had no great expectations for Nirvana’s major label debut, Nevermind. They only pressed fifty thousand copies of it, but the record kept selling and the single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a caustic, sarcastic three-chord blast of alienation that the company had hoped might captivate alternative and college radio so they could “build a story,” actually started to break pop.

“… Many felt it was how well the group embodied the juxtaposition of the twenty-something slacker generation, what Simon Reynolds characterized as a “mix of faithlessness and idealism… Lyrically it is confused, vacillating between the fury of the chorus ‘Here we are now, entertain us/how stupid and contagious’ and the fatigued fatalism of ‘I found it hard, so hard to find, oh well, whatever, nevermind’… Perhaps the secret of their success is that their rage is unspecific enough to provide a catch-all catharsis that appeals across the political spectrum.”

“… Then the word got out of about Cobain’s heroin use… In April of 1994, Cobain took a shotgun to his head and ended his life.

“Effectively, Cobain’s passing put the breaks on grunge as a movement… But Cobain had done something that rock seems to need every few years: He supplied it with a swift kick in the ass that got it up and lumbering again…”