Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous

Twenty years after 'Nevermind'

Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous

"You can try, but you'll never understand this. Try and try, but you'll never understand this. You can try, but you'll never understand this. The lifestyles of the rich and infamous."

– Ice-T, 1991

Tequila Fridays, at my house, were born out of abject exhaustion, emptiness.

No hat, no suit, no briefcase, but management + desk job = a middle-age lobotomy. Zombification. Not until the night Doug Sahm died in 1999 did tequila separate from the almighty margarita for me – at the Hole in the Wall, no less – and while Lou Grant kept a bottle of bourbon in his fictional newsroom desk drawer, a shot of anything at the office seemed antithetical to that which sought antidote: work. Still a four-letter word no matter your profession.

One Friday this past August, a board member for KOOP 91.7FM emailed me about possibly guesting on-air at the community radio station to discuss the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind. "In terms of what it meant for music when it happened (here in Austin and beyond) and what the legacy is." Locally, personally, that meant a decade spent at Emo's on Red River, as well as at Liberty Lunch and the Electric Lounge – venues all now gone. It meant forgoing Nirvana in 1991 for grad school homework (see "Circle Sky," Feb. 18, 2011) and then again on New Year's Eve three years later in Oakland, Calif., with the Butthole Surfers opening because I couldn't afford a $20 ticket. Two decades of regret it meant.

Weeks later, Tequila Friday beckoned like a compost bin to a scraped avocado peel. My significant other watched helplessly as I, catatonic from w-o-r-k and layoffs and Chronicle attrition, licked my white-collar wounds behind a closed home office door. Angst consumed me, but it wasn't the cure. Nirvana and Pearl Jam both broke on through to the other side in 1991, reviewed as such by me at the time, yet rap was my revolution. John Lennon + Sex Pistols = Kurt Cobain, but Public Enemy took Muddy Waters intergalactic. When push came to shove that Friday, 1991's OG Original Gangster by Ice-T got the call, and its apocalyptic fury and humor soothed my savage unhappiness.

Twenty years later, hip-hop's mainstream and indie rock can't assuage global occupancy. Metal peels back my contemporary blues now, and finding 20 (inter)national albums to list took twice as long as twice that many local discs. You say you want a revolution? It starts at home.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Top 10s
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Throughout 2020, performances and books seemed to contain messages about the year – its trials, its traumas, and its echoes in history

Robert Faires, Dec. 18, 2020

Top Nine in Visual Art of 2020, Plus One Exceptional Other
Top Nine in Visual Art of 2020, Plus One Exceptional Other
Wayne Alan Brenner chooses outstanding visual artistry that made this year a feast, save for one performative and culinary experience that was the cherry on top

Wayne Alan Brenner, Dec. 18, 2020

More by Raoul Hernandez
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
The sun never sets on a newsweekly deadline, but in 27 years on the grind as Chronicle Music editor, a few moments stand out...

July 23, 2021

Live and Recorded Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Live and Recorded Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Black Pistol Fire, BLXPLTN, Jazz for a cause, and more

July 23, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, Nirvana, Ice-T, KVRX

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle