Who says Grunge died with Cobain? It’s still alive and kicking here in Nepal!

The date 20, February, 2016 has different significance for different people. For the millennials, it was about the Valentine week hangover, and for some, it was about the onset of the spring chill. But there were also those for whom 20 February is the Day of Grunge, because of Kurt Cobain.

The man has had volumes written about him. He was also born on this day. Now without getting into the details of what ‘grunge’ is, let me jump to the part where I talk about why this particular day held a lot more meaning to us this year.

It had been more than a year since I first sat down and talked to some people about a tribute show for Cobain. They (the would be organisers) had told me how there were musicians who absolutely grew up with grunge.

The room where we practiced in was not the ideal practice place, to begin with. Saying it was dilapidated would be an understatement. But we chugged on to our first gig on May 25, 2015, a month after the quake.

It was a time when performing, chasing a dream, enjoying your passion had all taken a backseat, and then it was about surviving, especially after the blockade.

I haven’t had a chance to say this, even to my brothers who were involved, but I honestly thought this (the gig) would never happen again. We would never resurrect the grunge-faced beast, I thought.

I felt disheartened because I thought I missed out on something special. So felt the others.

Date: 20, February, 2016; Time: around 6pm; Venue: Purple Haze

As I lay completely exhausted, and dehydrated, I look up to see the crowd cheering, despite it being in the same state that I am in. It happened!

I was at the tribute show, singing songs of my favorite bands of all time, since Soundgarden. The venue was jam-packed, and people were rushing onto the stage only to dive off of it.

They still say, it was crazy.

What little I remember about being on stage can be attributed to many things: the pursuit of a clear singing voice can lead you down a bourbon rabbit hole that you don’t see the end of. Backstage waiting to go on, I’d  peeked at the crowd, and thought of how we had doubted that this moment would ever come.

We (the gig) didn’t have any sponsors, but we had a zeal that made up for it. We knew that this show would be one-of-a kind; and it so was. What was amazing was to see was that the same millennials who would be suffering from the Valentines Week hangover were there, that too in numbers.

They were there to feel the angst grunge was born out of.


It is hard to exactly say what it is, but there is a trance-like state one enters when one gives it everything. It can’t be fabricated, neither can it be rehearsed.

Call it dissatisfaction, but it is strange to put into words the ‘angst’ in the crowd that night.

It was about being irritated, and being rejected by what is ‘popular.’


Photos: Purple Haze/Facebook


Some would say that it would be a hyperbole to say that grunge is so popular here in Nepal, but I think it’s that state of mind that we attach ourselves to. It is melancholy; it is the primal scream of ‘get away’, but it is not the one that hates the world. It only sees its imperfections, and questions the hypocrisy.

These were, indeed, lofty thoughts for a man, who was not even sure if he had five fingers or six. But as I trudged on stage, it was the palpable warmth that hit me.

What happened after that appears to me in flashes. I do recall at one point I was right on the edge of the stage looking at the crowd, eye-to-eye.

Everything that came out of my mouth came from a different place, it didn’t exist in this world, but it was from somewhere in the realms of my mind. Once this is unlocked, the demon appears. One who acts how he pleases to, is real and honest, and never tells you anything but the truth.

I remember a handful of amazing scenes, some captured in pictures, but the feeling I had when it was done and what I still feel is that, Grunge, actually, is not dead.

In fact, it is still thriving in Nepal like wildfire (pun intended Mr. Chettri). People will flock to see a local grunge band, if it comes out with pure, raw music that comes from a place of reverence to this music.

Because before any of us became musicians, we were fans. We still are!

It is this quest of playing the music that our mind has absorbed that we wish to play. That day (20 February), was the such a night. It was magic; the crowd was a part of the show and it felt every word with its eyes closed.

I carry the honour of being a part of something special, something honest, and something real.

Mishra is a musician based in Kathmandu. 


Also read:

Think ‘roast’ won’t come to Nepal? It’s here already, thanks to you know who

Nepali tv is dead. But it still may not be totally out

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