Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nevermind; 20 years later

The media loves a good trend. And the mass public loves to be fed the latest trend. Right now, the cool thing to do is celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's groundbreaking Nevermind album.

I noticed a couple weeks ago that there was a story about Nirvana. I read it and enjoyed it. Then I found another. I read it. Then another. Then another. Then another. Sensing a pattern?

The odd thing to me here is that I'm not rediscovering Nirvana in all of this twentieth-anniversary hoopla. Nevermind and Nirvana itself is a regular part of my music shuffle that I listen to. Last year I did a list of the Top 50 songs in my iTunes playlist. Of the thousands of songs on my computer, 5 of the Top 50 spots were occupied by Nirvana.

Wearing a Nirvana shirt, eating ice cream
I guess the problem I have with this nostalgia kick is the history re-creation that is going to accompany it. All these music journalists are going to pretend like Nirvana was the greatest band of all time, and all these tweens and posers are going to lap it up like they've always believed it as well.

I remember the Guns N' Roses revival from 2009 and all the swirl around that. I was in CVS and saw a Rolling Stone magazine with the headline "Appetite Turns 20!" referring to their debut album Appetite for Destruction. I went through a summer of listening to how they were one of the greatest bands of all time. Then that fad passed. Now nobody sings their praises and we've instead switched our focus to grunge.

Is Nirvana a great band? Yes. They were good at being loud and "grunge-y" and their later work showed that they were talented at being something other than that. And, of course, Dave Grohl has been one of the most consistently impressive artists of the last 20 years.

But a lot of their success had to do with them being in the right place at the right time. Nevermind wasn't even their first album. They had already released an album to minimal success. Had they released Nevermind at the height of hair metal in the mid-80s, I don't think we would be talking about how revolutionary Nirvana was. Hair metal was on the decline, both the music and the over-the-top image. We needed something more stripped down, both musically and image-wise. A guitar, a bass and drums. Loud. No makeup, no spandex. T-shirts and jeans. Occasional flannel shirt.

I've written before about how I didn't really like Nirvana that much until I was in high school. Nevermind came out when I was 5. The only thing I liked at that age was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As I got older, I learned who they were and kind of liked them, but not too much.

I remember in the fourth grade seeing the cover of the Weird Al cassette that was a parody of the Nevermind cover. I had no idea what it was supposed to be spoofing and was confused by it. The first time I can recall hearing a Nirvana song was a year later in the fifth grade when my friend Joe called me to tell me he realized that the wrestler Diamond Dallas Page's theme song was an instrumental version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I later read in Chris Jericho's book that this was a theme of sorts in WCW, as he debuted with a Journey knockoff that he hated and later got a Pearl Jam ripoff that he enjoyed.

I don't care much for their most-famous song, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but I liked some of their other hits like "Heart Shaped Box" and most of their Unplugged album. I started getting into Nirvana when their Greatest Hits album and previously-unreleased "You Know You're Right" were released. Sidenote: the first album review I ever wrote was about Nirvana's Greatest Hits album for my high school newspaper in the eleventh grade.

Hearing that album got me into some of their songs I hadn't heard. That led me to check out their albums and I've come to enjoy the body of Nirvana's work. There are some songs I really like, some I kind of like, and some I really don't care much for. But, by and large, I enjoy Nirvana.

I'm glad that this 20th anniversary celebration of sorts will possibly help people listen to Nirvana who otherwise wouldn't. But, I don't know if that is true. I figure it will be more like people writing that Nirvana was amazing and people reading it and agreeing with it, without really knowing or caring if that fact is true.

What is good is subjective. Decide for yourself if Nevermind was one of the greatest albums of all time and Nirvana was one of the greatest bands ever.

Youth Day at the Range; Princeton Times

I wrote a story that was printed in the Princeton Times a few weeks ago. I covered the "Youth Day at the Range" event, which taught gun-safety skills to children.

Here's the link to the story - http://bdtonline.com/princetonsports/x1660694189/Youth-Day-at-the-Range-takes-aim-at-kids-activity-levels

Here's the link to the pictures I took - http://bdtonline.com/princetonsports/x1700247357/Youth-Day-at-the-Range

Oddly enough, the online and print editions have different first paragraphs, both of which are nothing like what I submitted. Of the three, I like mine the least. It was admittedly pretty weak. I think I like the print edition's first paragraph the best.

For those who know me, the idea of learning about guns and watching people shoot them is about as far from my idea of a good time as you can get. But, I didn't go there to have a good time. I went there to talk to some gun-loving kids and take some pictures. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A lot changes in 5 years

The only thing that stays the same is change. Or something, however the song goes. My cousin Jackie's birthday would have been this month. She would have been 20. She died in a car wreck in 2008 when she was 16.

I was thinking about her recently and a lot of memories came back to me. Shortly after her death, I wrote in my old blog about we weren't particularly close until a few years before her death.

That was mostly due to the five-year age difference. When I'm 12, I don't have a lot in common with a 7-year-old. But, when I'm 20, I have a little bit more in common with my 15-year-old cousin. And that was the case for a few years there.

She was one of those kids that grows up too quickly. I would come in to visit and she'd ask me to buy her beer and cigarettes. I never bought her beer. But, honestly, that's because I only saw her two or three times after I turned 21. I bought her cigarettes a lot.

She wasn't always like that, as a couple memories I have illustrate the theme that things change.

The first story is from 2002. It's around Father's Day, because I remember my uncle asking me if I was going to call my dad and his reaction when I calmly said, "No. Why?" We were all at somebody’s house, helping them move. I don't remember who or a lot of details. Myself and my mom were visiting from Princeton. My uncle was there. My aunt might have been. My other cousin Jessica wasn't there. Jackie was there. I was 15. She was 10.

We weren't really helping much with the moving. We walked down the street to a gas station. We needed candy and caffeine. We loaded up and headed to the register. There was a guy in front of us. He asked for a pack of rolling papers. She asked to see his ID. He didn't have it, so she wouldn't sell it to him.

I guess it depends on the day of the week, how much facial hair I have, and how disheveled I look, but people either think I look a lot older than I do or a lot younger. At this point in my life, I probably have long, super-thick sideburns and likely hadn't shaved for a week. He asks me if I have my ID and is surprised to find out I'm only 15. So, no rolling papers for that guy.

As Jackie and I are leaving the gas station, she looks up at me and innocently asks: "Why would you need your ID to buy paper?" I think for a second about the best way to answer that. "I don’t know," is all I offer.

Fast-forward five years. It is sometime late in 2007. I am 21 and she is 16. My mom and I are visiting my grandpa. A few people are at his house, including Jackie. We're hanging out, bored. There's not much going on. She looks over at me.

Jackie: "Wanna smoke some pot?"

Me: "What?! Okay."

We go outside to a little shed my grandpa has. We go inside. She pulls out a bag of pot. She tells me to hurry up and finish the can of Pepsi I have. Confused, I gulp it down and hand it to her. She crushes it in the middle. I watch in amazement as she grabs a screwdriver and puts a hole in the middle and another near the bottom. "Have you ever seen anybody make a bowl out of a Pepsi can before?" she asks. I hadn't. She hands it to me and asks, "Do you know how to use one of these?"

It's interesting how much things can change in only five years. After she died, I got a tattoo on my chest in memory of her. The tattoo is of the phrase "Keep it on the Up High." Why we said that to each other is kind of a funny story. I told the story in my old blog & I'll get around to telling it again here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jeff Hardy returns to TNA Impact Wrestling

Controversial wrestling superstar Jeff Hardy recently made his first appearance on TNA's "Impact Wrestling" program for the first time since being sent home by management in March. Not a lot of details are known, but the story is essentially that Jeff Hardy appeared live on pay-per-view for his match against Sting in an altered state of mind. The match was quickly changed and Sting shockingly pinned Hardy after only 90 seconds.

I wrote about this shortly after it happened in a post titled "Jeff Hardy High on pay per view?" A video of the match is also embedded. In that post, I also give a history of Jeff's issues with drugs and how that has affected his wrestling career.

In the video, Jeff states that he doesn't deserve it, but asks for one more chance from the fans and TNA management. Since he's back in the ring, he has already received another chance from management. The question now is whether the fans will accept Jeff Hardy again? And, of course, the answer is yes. Every time he screws up his career with drug use, the fans openly take him back.

I've often wondered why that is. I've never been a huge fan of Jeff Hardy. I was always more into his brother, Matt Hardy (who is seemingly having his own breakdown of sorts lately, with 2 DUI arrests barely a month apart). One of Jeff Hardy's nicknames in WWE was the Charismatic Enigma, and that vague description really explains a lot. It is hard to describe why exactly people love Jeff Hardy, but they do.

Hardy was arrested on Sept. 11, 2009, for a slew of drug-related charges. A couple weeks ago, he was finally sentenced for the charges. He was placed on over 2 years probation, sentenced to 10 days in prison, and had to enter into a drug-treament program.

Are Hardy's problems over? One would certainly hope so. From both a legal and professional standpoint, this definitely has to be his last chance. If he gets into any more legal trouble, he would likely be sentenced to much more than 10 days in jail. Ruining a main-event match that fans paid nearly $30 to see is one of the worst things that a wrestler can do. By bringing him back, TNA is obvisously going to put him in another high-profile position. Can they trust him? He screwed TNA over once, I hope they won't let him do it again.

TNA has the potential to craft a really good story here. Approaching his mid-30s, Jeff Hardy is on the last stretch of his active career. TNA can present a story of redemption; a man who has spent the last decade being his own worst enemy climbs back from rock-bottom and ends his career in a classy and respectable way.

The wrestling company can only do so much, though. They can craft the best storyline in the world; the responsibility here will be on Jeff Hardy to stay clean and make the most of this chance.

Does Jeff Hardy deserve another chance? No, he doesn't. There are so many young, hungry, drug-free wrestlers out there who want and deserve the spot that both WWE and TNA have continually given Jeff Hardy. But, nobody is perfect and Jeff Hardy is a perfect example of that. Wrestling is all about making money. Jeff Hardy makes a lot of money for wrestling companies. As long as the fans want him back, he'll be back. I do think, though, this will be the last chance that the fans will give Jeff Hardy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie

The newest single by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie," is kind of quirky and weird, but I like it. If you like RHCP, and they're one of my favorite bands, then you should like this song.

Princeton; 10 years later (Sept. 11, 2001)

[Part 3 of a series of blog entries looking at the first year of my life spent in Princeton, West Virginia, in 2001. I'll look at my home life, school, pop culture, relationships, basically everything going on in my life one decade ago. Click here to read part 1. Click here to read part 2.]

I moved to Princeton in 2001. A lot of important things happened that year for me, which is one reason why we've been reflecting on the tenth anniversary of it. I moved to a new area, had a lot of changes in my life, and it sticks out in my head when thinking back on my life. One reason that the year 2001 sticks out for a lot of people, myself included, is because it was the year of the terrorist attacks of September 11.

The question everybody asks - where were you September 11, 2001? Well, the latest installment of "Princeton; 10 years later" will look at where I was that fateful day. We'll go a lot more in-depth with being in the tenth grade and things of that nature later. Some of the names that will be briefly mentioned here will get more attention in future posts.

One of the biggest problems that plagued me throughout high school was starting high school in Ravenswood, which used the "period" system and then going to Princeton, which used the "block" scheduling system.

In the ninth grade, I had eight classes that lasted an hour. They were for half a credit. You would have certain core classes - math, English, science - all year. Two semesters at half a credit would equal one credit. Some minor classes - health and gym, specifically - you would take one semester in the ninth grade and another semester in the tenth grade. Half a credit your ninth grade year and half a credit your tenth grade year added up to your required one credit of gym to graduate.

In Princeton, the tenth grade was under the block scheduling, which was four classes a day that lasted something like an hour and 30 minutes. Your gym class would only be one semester in the tenth grade and would count for one full credit.

The problem then, was that I took health and gym in the ninth grade and only had half a credit. So, I had to take them both when I got to Princeton for one full credit. As a result, I was the only tenth grade student in health class at Princeton that year.

One of the things you had to do in health class was "job shadowing," where you went someplace and watched the people work. It was supposed to have something to do with your career. Before we could do that, though, we had to do some sort of stupid full day of workshops in various classrooms. This was scheduled for Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

We were supposed to report to our first block class and then an announcement for all ninth graders (and me) to leave would come over the intercom. First block was the newspaper class. That day we were heading over to the computer lab to learn something about advertisements. Ironic, of course, that the guy in charge of advertisements on the newspaper staff, me, would not be there.

Everybody in the class had these folders that we kept in the classroom. We'd put our stories and whatever other shit we accumulated and that somehow turned into our grade. For this assignment, we were to bring our folders with us. Since I was leaving, I didn't bring mine. Mrs. Slavey, the newspaper advisor, was unusually on edge that day. I saw her snap at a student for something I thought was minor. When we got to the lab, she saw that I had brought nothing with me. It was the first - and only - time she ever had any sort of unpleasant tone with me: "Where’s your folder?" she angrily asked. "I'm leaving in a few minutes, so I, uh, didn't, uh, think, I, uh..." She remembered the workshop thing I had to do and apologized.

Off I went to the workshops. I honestly couldn't tell you what they were about. All I remember was that they were stupid and I didn't like them. We were broken up into groups of 15-20 or so and I knew a girl I rode the bus with, Tonya, so I sat next to her at each workshop.

Before one of them, a girl walks in and casually announces, "A plane just hit the World Trade Center." I processed that in my head. I knew the name "World Trade Center." I knew it was located in New York. Other than that, I couldn't have told you what it looked like. So, I had no visual for what was happening. It's ironic, then, for me, since that has turned into one of the most iconic images of all time.

In addition to the workshops, that is also the day that the ninth graders (and me) got their identification card pictures taken. I don't really know why we needed them. They were supposed to be scanned for getting lunch and maybe other stuff, I don't know. I never used mine. I was wearing a dark green shirt on September 11, 2001. And one of those necklaces that's a bunch of metal balls. Do those necklaces have a specific name?

The workshops took up the first half of the day. Lunch and third block (geography) were uneventful. Fourth block was Science with Mr. Ball. During class, a voice came over the intercom saying that if we wanted to listen to radio coverage of the plane crash we could keep the intercom on. Either Mr. Ball hadn’t been keeping up with the news or he just didn't want to listen to it, he got really perturbed and said, "Why would we listen to that?" and then went back to the lesson.

I got home and that's when the magnitude of what had happened hit me. I walked into the living room to see my mom watching the news. That's when I first saw the images of the towers falling down, of people running down the streets, of smoke and dust filling the air. I don't remember how long we sat there and watched, but after a while she got up and I was by myself. I watched for a while before I started changing the channel. A lot of the networks had a blank screen with some message about how they had suspended their programming for the time being. Like the Food Network and TV Land, non-essential networks at that time, weren't airing any programming. MTV was showing footage from CBS News, as both were owned by the same parent company.

The next day at school we had an assembly. I don't remember much about it, other than we all did the Pledge of Allegiance together. It was a crazy couple days after that. Like the hard-hitting journalists we were, the newspaper staff quickly switched gears and focused our first issue on 9/11.

In a move that will always perplex me, I was given the assignment to write the staff editorial. For those unfamiliar, that is the piece on the opinion section that is anonymous and serves as the official opinion of the newspaper. I guess because I was in charge of organizing the advertisements and whatnot and everybody else was writing more than me, I was selected to do it. I don't really know.

I initially felt overwhelmed by it. This was a really important piece for the paper and I was - at least in my eyes - the least-experienced person on the staff. I was the only tenth grader; everybody else was in eleventh or twelfth grade. I had just moved; I didn't know anybody or anything about the area. And I was writing the consensus of the staff for this horrible tragedy.

The paper was coming out in late September. It had to be completed a day or two before that. For a couple weeks there, I just stared at an empty Microsoft Word screen trying to figure out what to do. I wrote a couple paragraphs at one point that I didn't like. I deleted those and was back to the drawing board.

Then, something happened for the first time in my life. An idea hit me, my fingers started typing, words started appearing on the computer screen. After a while I was finished and felt this odd sense of satisfaction that I've grown to become accustomed to over the years. It was the first time I ever wrote something and felt like it was amazing. I printed it out and showed it to Mrs. Slavey. She loved it. I was so proud of myself. It went into the paper and I got a lot of praise for it from people who knew that I wrote it.

After September 11, a sense of patriotism swept over America. Right after the attacks, it was real patriotism, not the fake kind that we have today when we reflect on 9/11. To raise funds for the newspaper, we had some shirts printed at a discount and sold them for something ridiculous, like $15 or something. Since we were the Princeton Tigers, the front featured a muscular-looking Tiger waving an American flag. The back read "Proud to be an American with Tiger Pride." It's just as cheesy as it sounds, but at the time that's how we felt.

I don't remember how many of those I sold, but was close to a shitload. The key to sales is to be energetic and charismatic. I used to be both of those when I was younger and was very good at unloading those shirts. The Principal, Mr. White, saw me in action and told Mrs. Slavey that he liked my enthusiasm.

A somewhat light-hearted moment came about due to the terrorist attacks. I was in charge of advertisements for the newspaper and I had to call a company about their ad. It was pretty plain and I needed to see if they had a logo or picture or anything. I was still a novice when it came to dealing with companies in matters like this, and I remember the conversation going something like this: "Hi. My name's Chris Slater. I'm with the Tiger Tribune, Princeton Senior High School's newspaper. I'm designing your ad that you bought. I was wondering if you had a logo or anything for your ad? ... No? Okay. Do you care if I put an American flag in your ad? Okay. Thank you." And so I put a flag in their ad. It looked pretty good. And by "pretty good," I mean it looked like a 15-year-old with limited Photoshop experience put it together.

That's the brunt of my memories from September 11, 2001, and the days following. Might check back in with more at some point.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Princeton; 10 years later (the music)

[Part 2 of a series of blog entries looking at the first year of my life spent in Princeton, West Virginia, in 2001. I'll look at my home life, school, pop culture, relationships, basically everything going on in my life one decade ago. Click here to read part 1.]

As you saw from the last blog, the year of 2001 was an interesting time in my life. I'll get back to more of the narrative form of the last blog later. For now, I want to focus on the music scene in 2001. Or, my take on the music scene ten years ago and what I was into.

As a young child, I listened to what my mom listened to on the radio. She liked rock and classic rock. As we read in the last blog, she started getting into Country music in 2001. Around 11 years old, I discovered "pop" music and got into that scene. "Electric" 102.7 was my favorite radio station around that time, for anybody who might know what I'm talking about. I liked what was "cool." I'm not embarrassed to admit that I liked the Spice Girls. Well, maybe a little bit. But, not as embarrassed as I should be. Later in high school was when I started to experiment with what I liked and explored different musical genres.

I moved to Princeton and didn't really have a lot to do. I didn't have any friends. I didn't meet a single person my age until the school year started. I moved to Princeton in June. I didn't get any friends until September. Summer was mostly spent sitting on the couch. MTV and VH1 were my friends that summer. Like a lot of people, music was an escape for me. In 2001, MTV and VH1 both played a lot more music than they presently do. MTV played it during late night and into the morning, then had Total Request Live at 3 p.m. and sometimes did music-related things at night. VH1, circa 2001, played music videos pretty much all day.

I'll start with some new bands that hit the scene in 2001.

One of my first memories of being in Princeton was discovering Incubus. Summer 2001 was when their biggest commercial hit "Drive" came out. The band looked like nothing I had really seen before. Their sound was very mellow and easy-going. The video was like nothing I had ever seen before. I later realized that they had copied the format of "Take on Me" by A-Ha. But, still, it was cool.

A little band out of Canada stormed onto the scene in 2001 and - though nobody expected it - became one of the biggest bands of the last decade. Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" was released that summer and became a huge hit. I don't think the song really stands up 10 years later, but at the time, I loved that song and thought it was awesome.

One band whose music I feel has stood up over the last decade has been Staind. "It's Been A While" came out that summer. It told a really deep story and I liked the emotion that lead singer Aaron Lewis exhibited. That CD was the first one I bought after moving to Princeton. They're a great band. Click here to read about how I wanted one of their songs as the theme at my high school graduation.

I hate to admit that I liked Uncle Kracker in 2001. But, I did. I was young and foolish. "Follow Me" was a big radio hit. I had that CD too. There was one cool song on there that he did with Kid Rock, but other than that, I don't remember much from the disk.

One of the best rock groups of the last decade hit the mainstream in 2001 and that was the White Stripes. I feel like this group can do no wrong. They started off strong with "Fell in Love with a Girl" and followed it up in 2001 with "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" and never stopped making great music.

In 2001, VH1 started this deal where they would spotlight upcoming new musicians. It had very mixed results over the years. Some went on to greatness, while most were never heard from again. I think the problem with the feature was that the first two artists showcased - John Mayer & Alicia Keys - went on to have great careers and it was tough to follow that.

Honestly, I didn't like John Mayer at first. I thought that "I wanna run through the halls of my high school" song was stupid. He's redeemed himself nicely over the years, to the point where he's one of my favorite singer/songwriters now. I'm not even afraid to admit it - I cried one time last year while listening to "Heartbreak Warfare." It was because of a girl. I met her in 2001. We'll talk about her in another blog.

I still don't like Alicia Keys. There are only two songs that she is featured in that I enjoy - the one where Jay-Z loves New York and the one Jack White (of White Stripes fame) wrote for a James Bond film. One of my strangest memories involving Alicia Keys from 2001 is when she performed on the Late Show and David Letterman mispronounced her album title Songs in A-Minor as "Songs in uh minor," thinking it was the word "A" as opposed to the musical term "A-Minor." His sidekick Paul Schaefer corrected him. Hilarity ensued.

Linkin Park broke out in 2001 in a huge way. Their Hybrid Theory album wound up being the biggest-selling album of the year. "Crawling" and "In the End" were huge hits for them.

Some established acts also released news albums in 2001.

One of my favorite bands in 2001 was Sugar Ray. Something that has earned me ridicule from my friends for openly admitting is that one of my favorite bands in 2011 is Sugar Ray. Everybody has that one thing that people look at them and go "Really? You're into that?" For me, it's Sugar Ray. I love that band. "When It's Over" came out in 2001. I'll stop now before I dig myself a hole. I love Sugar Ray.

No Doubt's "Hey Baby" was big in the summer of 2001. I didn't care much for it. I still liked it. It's still a good song. It was the start of a new image for Gwen Stefani, one which I didn’t care much for. I've always had a thing for pink-haired Gwen Stefani from the late '90s. It's not quite the same, but I have blue-haired Katy Perry to fill that void for me in 2011.

Sheryl Crow released "Soak up the Sun" that year. This was the first time I really got into her music. It was also the first time I realized how attractive Sheryl Crow was. I had heard her earlier stuff, but didn't really enjoy it at the time. Over the years, my stance has changed. It's the opposite now - I don't like "Soak up the Sun," the most pop-sounding song she's recorded, and actually enjoy her other stuff more.

Destiny's Child came out with "Bootylicious" in 2001. Obviously, that song doesn't stand up 10 years later. If you play the video on mute, that stands up 10 years later. Usually, telling people that I love Sugar Ray makes them question this next point, but I love beautiful women and that video featured quite a few of them.

Smash Mouth came out with their last hurrah in 2001. They had one last gasp of relevance on the Shrek soundtrack with covering "I'm a Believer," but their last album hit came in 2001 with "Pacific Coast Party." This brings to mind a story.

It was the late '90s and I was in the eighth grade. I don't remember the music teacher's name, but she's stuck with me over the years. She openly admitted several times to being a feminist. When we had group activities, she would split the class into boys & girls and would then help the girls. She's honestly the main reason I roll my eyes whenever women tell me that they're a feminist. I picture her and it sours the idea of feminism in my head.

One day in class she decided to enlighten us to the demonic and drug side of music. She told us that innocent-sounding things really had hidden meanings. That band KISS? It stood for Knights in Satan's Service. Even worse, the band AC/DC. Anti-Christ/Demon-Child. The Beatles? Drugs. I remember the collective gasp/eyebrow-raising of the entire class as she made her next point - "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds? L... S... D..."

When I first heard Smash Mouth's "Pacific Coast Party," my first thought was "P... C... P..."

People like that shouldn't be allowed to teach children. Most of that shit wasn't true anyway.

Several notable musical happenings happened in 2001. That was the year Mariah Carey had a mental breakdown, televised live on TRL. She just randomly showed up, acted weird and irrational, then checked into a hospital a couple days later. Also on TRL that year, it was announced that AJ from the Backstreet Boys had checked into rehab. 2001 was the year that singer Aaliyah died in a plane crash. I liked the singles she had released up to that point and I feel like she could have been a consistent player in the music scene into the next decade. 2001 was also the year that MTV turned 20-years-old. They made a big deal out of that. I haven't heard them mention anything about recently turning 30. I guess being 30 isn't cool.

I feel like that's a good stopping point for now. I'll be back later with more adventures from 2001.