Don't Wake Daddy


"...Sled dogs after dinner
close their eyes on the howlin' wastes
Kurt Cobain, reincarnated,
sighs and licks his face."

As The Hip were establishing themselves on the US club scene in the early 1990's, a three piece out of Seattle was about to re-establish rock as both the dominant form of pop-music and the discerning choice of rebels across middle classes everywhere. Nirvana's new movement, dubbed "grunge" and led by their moody and screeching messiah Kurt Cobain, kicked Michael Jackson off the charts for good while handing contemporary music its ass in a plaid hand basket.

Shortly before Cobain achieved his Lennonesque status, The Hip and Nirvana were double booked at the same American venue. This lead to a unique double bill featuring Canada's band and the world's next big thing. Gord Downie approached the band to introduce himself, only to find Cobain passed out on a pool table in the rear of the club. Far from a brush with greatness, Gord related his Cobain encounter as a surreal experience.      

Downie told Much Music in 1996 that he saw Cobain as a tragic figure, someone who was worn down by fame, drugs and depression and incapable of finding that contented peace we all look for, but rarely discover. Cobain struck the Hip's front man as a gentle and capable soul, an aura that Downie flawlessly illustrated using the image of a comfortable, and full bellied sled dog relaxing after a grueling haul with an exhausted sigh and a satisfied lick of the lips. The lyric expresses a hope that Cobain's tortured being found a tranquil and composed existence in the next life. 

Hip Head Mary provided this shot of O'Cayz Corral where Nirvana opened for The Tragically Hip in front of about 40 fans.

She was also present when Gord spoke about the show during a Madison, WI radio appearance in 2007:

"I was fortunate enough to sit in at my local radio station's "Live from Studio M" show featuring The Hip. It was recorded the afternoon of 5/15/07.

They performed 3 (very cool) acoustic versions of material from "World Container." Gord spoke about the night at O'Cayz and sharing the bill with Nirvana. TTH were the headliners, but everyone left before their show."

West Coast DJ extraordinaire and Hipbase regular "Opiated" points out that Downie and Cobain shared a mutual admiration for Leonard Cohen. Opes wisely notes (I'm a rhyming messiah) that in Nirvana's "Pennyroyal Tea," Cobain sings "Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld, so I can sigh eternally" which may be the image that gave birth to the Hip lyric.

"...Then they drift past drifts of Serengeti"

The Serengeti has been called an environmental miracle. It is a unique ecosystem of trees, plant life and fauna, smack in the middle of the African desert. It was only discovered by the World at large in 1913, when American hunter Stewart Edward White happened upon it during an arduous desert trek. He believed he had discovered a mythical "paradise" in the scorching sands. The Serengeti is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

From the fascinating Serengeti National Park website; "the Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Over 90,000 tourists visit the Park each year."

Two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves have been established within the 30,000 km� region. It's unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root as well as numerous photographers and scientists."

The Serengeti may be best known for its role in the migration of thousands of animals each year. This mass movement of African species attracts humans by the thousands as well, a fact that is beginning to take its toll on the fragile ecosystem. Conservationists and ecological scientists are currently exploring methods that may need to be taken to ensure the Serengeti's survival.

"...And the gates of Sleepy Hollow too."

While certainly not a natural wonder, Sleepy Hollow is also a place where survival is an everyday challenge. It is of course home to the equestrainly gifted but badly ill-tempered Headless Horseman. Originally a chilling tale written by Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" has long since been Disneyfied. The legend takes place in a real slumbering village though: Tarrytown, New York.

Hip Head Andrew Sharpe sent this along. The game was released in 1992, and given how Gord would write things down in a notebook and then later turn them into lyrics, this could be related:

Play Song