It’s been a couple years but just today I saw another post worshipping this “27 Club,” which includes Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. All of these figures died at the age of 27, hence their membership in this club.
This prestigious “club” is something that’s gotten a lot of attention within my lifespan. I even had a roommate in college who had a poster that said “Forever 27” and portrayed all four of those individuals in some Heaven-like landscape, as if in candid shots. It’s almost like some sort of religion.
Well, that friend is still alive and way over 27. And all in all, I’m really out at sea as to what’s supposed to be the point of the “club,” or the exact message I’m supposed to glean from the club’s existence. You could look the wide world over and not find a musician more revolutionary and influential than Chuck Berry, who just passed away in 2017, old as sin. John Lennon is probably the best musician of all time I can think of off the top of my head and he even lived to be 40.
And ok — in gangsta rap, the only style of music in our history to be explicitly predicated on violence, dying young is certainly a feather in your cap. 2pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Big L and Huey would certainly, unconsciously corroborate this claim.
In this case of Jimi Hendrix, however, the death is especially tragic and even asinine. No hard drugs, that is, have ever been linked to his behavioral realm, and per report he was the highest-paid musician in rock at the time of Woodstock, a mere two years before his death. It’s not like he was some wash-up like Elvis.
And I don’t want to get too negative here but Kurt Cobain is definitely not a figure that young or impressionable people should use as some sort of model to live by. We’re talking about a guy who was completely stricken with hard drug addiction, who was avidly prone to altercations with other musicians and even bandmates, to negativity, to irresponsibility and poor decision-making. I mean, for all their fame and all their accolades, Nirvana never produced their own albums at all. It was a case of narcissistic behavior — the drive to bolster one’s own creative prowess and livelihood at the expense of, basically, his whole life. Regardless of what you think of Nirvana’s music or the reasons why what happened happened (or even regardless of what actually you think really happened), it’s a bankrupt endeavor to offer Kurt Cobain as some sort of beacon to look to for a behavioral ideal. The reason why we have funerals is to pay respect to the dead. The “27 Club” seems like one never-ending funeral revering the act of dying, perhaps exposing some perverted fixation on death or martyrdom in our pervasively Christian society.
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