follow us in feedly
Classic album covers minus deceased band members

Over the weekend, when the sad news spread about the passing of Tommy Ramone, a really touching image circulated online, showing the Ramones debut LP, then the same cover with Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Photoshopped out, and then, at last, Tommy removed as well. Dangerous Minds even shared it on our Facebook page.

The middle image, of Tommy standing alone in front of that iconic brick wall, seems to have come from a Tumblr called “Live! (I See Dead People),” which is devoted entirely to skillfully removing deceased musicians from their LP covers—sort of like “Garfield Minus Garfield,” but with a more serious intent. The subjects range from cult figures like Nick Drake to canonical rock stars like Nirvana and The Doors, and the results are often quite poignant. The blog hasn’t been updated in almost three years, so it seems unlikely the artists behind this project, Jean-Marie Delbes and Hatim El Hihi, will re-do that Ramones cover. Indeed, their Morrison Hotel still features Ray Manzarek, who passed on a little over a year ago.

New York Dolls, s/t

Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers

Nick Drake, Bryter Layter

The Who, Odds & Sods

Johnny Thunders, So Alone

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit

Jeff Buckley, Grace

The Doors, Morrison Hotel

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy

The Clash, s/t

Elvis Presley, s/t

Hat-tip to Derf for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘No Slam Dancing’: Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and… Jon Stewart?

Henry Rollins and Greg Ginn during a Black Flag show
I’ve read an absolutely embarrassing amount of books on pop music for someone who’s never read Dostoyevsky, and over the years I’ve learned to make my recommendations with care. I’ve found out the hard way that not everyone is as interested in Ronnie Spector’s autobiography as I am (ingrates), and that it’s difficult to convince someone that you don’t have to be a metal fan to enjoy a book on the history of heavy metal. However, I’m completely serious when I say everyone will enjoy No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens—it’s just that universal.

To give you some background, City Gardens was a music venue in the most unlikely of places, Trenton, New Jersey, a city that’s been on the rapid decline for decades. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, riots ravaged the downtown, and even the cops were looting (for welding masks and catcher’s helmets to protect their faces from flying debris). Insurance companies began to drop businesses’ claims, deindustrialization exacerbated unemployment, and suburban flight grew in droves—Trenton, NJ remains a pretty dismal place, economically.

However, where there is a void, there is also opportunity, and a giant warehouse in a rough part of town became the site of a musical oasis, all through the tireless efforts of a few committed fans and staff. The actual City Gardens building had been re-purposed many times before, from a grocery store to a car dealership, but when it was reopened as a disco in 1980, local DJ Randy Now approached the owner, hoping to find a venue receptive to his New Wave tastes. What began as a few weekly dance nights quickly paved the way to booking some of the best bands in underground music.

The Descendents in front of their perilous tour bus
Before you write off City Gardens as just another scummy punk venue, realize two things. First, the Trenton neighborhood it called home was volatile. While slam-dancing can certainly incur some injuries, to say City Gardens was merely “violent” is an understatement. It saw a lawsuit in 1981, not a year after it began booking bands, when a woman was brutally beaten with a pool cue in inside the venue. And this is to say nothing of the skinhead riot that occurred later. The late Dave Brockie, better knows as GWAR singer Oderus Orungus, said City Gardens was so bad, they’d never go there as fans. Second, when I say “some of the best bands in underground music,” I think City Gardens’ booking philosophy is best summed up in Mickey Ween’s forward when he said, “they did not cater to the audience.”

This was not just a punk or hard rock club. For every Black Flag and Danzig (who had their very first show there), there was a Bo Diddley, Sinead O’Connor, Lydia Lunch, Iggy Pop, DEVO, Bauhaus, The Ramones (who played numerous times), Ricky Nelson, The Violent Femmes, RIcky Nelson, or Toots and the Maytals! The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart was bartending during a Butthole Surfers set with a topless dancer and some careless DIY pyrotechnics! The Beastie Boys almost didn’t play and got their tires slashed, presumably for being late! Someone threatened to break down the dressing room door to stab Jello Biafra! The chaos and sheer wildness of City Gardens is what truly made it unique, and it even hosted all ages shows!

Al Jourgensen of Ministry
Co-Author Amy Yates Wuelfing pinpoints the preposterous success of it all:

City Gardens was in the middle of nowhere. Not Philly, not New York, but it was still a big club.  That fact that it was so close, and in the middle this dead zone, made the community of people who went there stronger and tighter. It was almost like college, you saw the same people all the time so they became your friends. That was the main thing for me. And unlike the clubs in Philly and New York, the pretentious element wasn’t really there.

What’s truly captivating about No Slam Dancing is the story-telling—it’s a complete oral history, meticulously collected from the memories and reflections of bands, employees, regulars, and all manner of City Gardens alumni. Over a hundred interviews were conducted to create an amazing compendium of anecdotes, and they don’t pull punches. Not everyone comes off well, and sometimes everything goes wrong, but the spirit of the moment is exciting and ambitious, and it’s all the more inspiring when you realize the entire fourteen year musical renaissance of Trenton, New Jersey was built from the ground up by Randy Now, the hobbyist DJ with a day job as a mailman. It’s an insane story, and I highly suggest you pick it up.

Below, Jon Stewart, Ian Mackaye and others talk about City Gardens in a trailer for Riot on the Dance Floor: The story of Randy Now and City Gardens.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Nirvana nightmare: Apparently Kurt Cobain is alive and well selling beer in the Netherlands
08:04 am


Kurt Cobain

Here’s a commercial for Bavaria Radler beer where it shows the likes of Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis chilling on a tropical island drinking some cold brewskies.

I’m sure Mr. Cobain—who famously feared being a sell-out—would have just loved this concept. Doubtful that it’ll cause Yoko Ono to yuck it up much either. I smell a lawsuit!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989’: Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt on his new book
04:18 pm


Sub Pop Records

Kurt Cobain
Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989 is one of those perfect records of music history that galvanizes the pedestrian as easily as the aural devotee. Chronicling eight electric (and sometimes volatile) days of Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Tad’s 1989 European tour, Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt has curated his memories, reflections and beautiful photography in an intimate compendium.On the very cusp of the grunge explosion, Pavitt had the wherewithal to photograph the small moments—moments which provide an ambient framing for this lovely scrapbook.

Bruce was kind enough to give Dangerous Minds an exclusive interview on the book, which helps support Seattle’s Vera Project.

(And for those of you in the New York area, Pavitt is launching a month-long installation exhibit at Rough Trade NYC. This Saturday, he’ll be there signing copies, with a Q&A session lead by Michael Azerrad. I’ll be in the corner fangirling and livetweeting @Amber_A_Lee.)

Amber Frost: How did this book come together?

Bruce Pavitt: My friend and editor Dan Burke and I originally released Experiencing Nirvana as an e-book using iBooks Author. Ian Christe from Bazillion Points then contacted us and offered to release it as a hardcover. The whole project has taken about a year and a half, and it’s been quite a process.

Amber Frost: The concept of a retroactive tour diary is total brain candy. Is it what you had in mind at first? Or did the format take shape as you organized your thoughts and materials?

Bruce Pavitt: From the beginning, we knew that we had a series of images that told a story; in fact we feel that Experiencing Nirvana would make an ideal storyboard for a film! Of course, we realized that the photos needed to be embellished with reconstructed diary entries to fully bring the images to life.

Amber Frost: There’s this strange sense of excitement in a lot of the photos—how much of that was the band’s growing success, and how much was just the thrill of being young and traveling?

Bruce Pavitt: A bit of both. My biz partner Jon and I knew that Nirvana, Tad and Mudhoney were three of the greatest live bands we’d ever seen. Those feelings were validated from both the crowds and the critics overseas. People went off at every show, and it built to a climax when all three bands shared the same stage in London. The photos show our appreciation of both the bands and the awe inspiring scenery.
Kurt Cobain
Pavitt’s picture of Kurt Cobain in Rome
Amber Frost: What was your sense of the tour’s significance at the time? Did you have predictions? How did they turn out?

Bruce Pavitt: I’ve never taken more photos, neither before nor after. I instinctively felt that this tour would be historically significant, and both Jon and I believed that this London showcase would put Seattle on the map. As it turned out, NME proclaimed Nirvana to be “Sub Pop’s answer to the Beatles.” Our gamble paid off.

Amber Frost: You describe a lot of stress on the tour—particularly with Kurt wanting to simply go home. How fragile or stable did the band feel?

Bruce Pavitt: Both Tad and Nirvana were fairly ragged after zig zagging across Europe in a shared van for almost 6 weeks. By the time we met up with the crew in Rome, Kurt was out of patience. It was just day by day after that, until the band finished up in London.

Amber Frost: A lot of Nirvana’s legacy is obscured by the tragedy of Kurt’s death, so much so that his personality is often simplified into depression and addiction. How would you describe him as a person?

Bruce Pavitt: Kurt was essentially a sweet and sensitive guy, creative, humorous and a true fan of indie music. He was also moody, introspective, and appreciated his alone time.

Amber Frost: In the book you obviously talk about Mudhoney and Tad as well Since grunge was gaining popularity as a movement, did you predict at all that Nirvana would becoming its unwitting “stars?”

Bruce Pavitt: My Sub Pop partner Jon Poneman was Nirvana’s earliest and biggest fan. However, by the time Nirvana played London in December of ’89, I was a true believer.

Amber Frost: With the genre name no longer in use, and Sub Pop now an institution, what do you think the “legacy” of grunge is?

Bruce Pavitt: Grunge was very welcoming and inclusive. For a not-so-brief moment in time, anyone with a flannel shirt and a pawn shop guitar could feel that they had a chance to change the world. I welcome a resurgence of that attitude.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Never-before-seen photos of Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Tad, 1989
11:54 am


Sub Pop

Nirvana Tad Mudhoney
I want this hoodie so bad….
Noisey has a marvelous post up right now I would urge Nirvana fans to go check out. The post is by Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt, and it features a bunch of photos from Nirvana’s first European tour with Mudhoney and Tad that have never been published before.
Kurt holding a coat
Kurt Cobain, holding his coat. Presumably, that’s Tad Doyle on the right.
These photos really bring me back. First, a word on Tad. Nobody talks about them any more, but in some ways Tad was the ultimate Seattle grunge band, fronted by Tad Doyle, who everybody always said was “this 300-pound dentist, man!” That element was always the same, “this 300-pound dentist.” I was very fond of their album God’s Balls, and especially the song “Behemoth,” which I’ve included below. After Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson and who knows who else, “Behemoth” doesn’t sound that exceptional any more, but at the time, it went to a dark, angry, intimidating place very few “pop” songs had gone. 

In the post, Pavitt emphasizes the drama of touring with the emotionally and physically fragile Kurt Cobain. Here’s Pavitt on the Rome show:

Nirvana’s turn was next… Ten songs into their set, Kurt, frustrated with his guitar, smashed it completely and climbed a tall stack of speakers. The crowd looked on, with many drunk spectators yelling “Jump!” It was a dramatic moment, potentially harmful. I witnessed the event from the club floor, stunned, while Jon and Tad looked down from the artists’ area on the second floor. Everyone was holding their breath, not sure if Kurt would actually jump. We were panicked, and extremely concerned for Kurt’s well-being.

“Hello, we’re one of the three official representatives of the Seattle Sub Pop scene from Washington State!” Kurt Cobain screeched into the microphone. Nirvana then tore into their typical opener, the riff-heavy “School.” Rocking hard, Kurt immediately broke a string. Frustrated, he hustled off stage to replace it while Krist and Chad starting pounding out a Stooges cover, “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” In the confusion, some of the crowd climbed onstage and began diving off.

Pavitt’s post addresses a question I’ve been wondering about since late 1991, when Nirvana took over the world, or actually slightly even earlier, when Nirvana’s Bleach was wearing out my CD player in the summer of 1990—that being what Mudhoney made of all the hoopla about Nirvana.

People forget, but there was a couple years there where Mudhoney, not Nirvana, were the darlings of the Seattle grunge scene. Mudhoney had been around a little longer, and they had toured the UK well before Nevermind came out, and they were the toast of the UK press for a good stretch. Even after the buzz about Nirvana started, you would often hear Mudhoney and Nirvana mentioned in about equal terms. “Touch Me, I’m Sick” was Seattle’s anthem for a while. After Nevermind, of course, that stopped being the case.
Mark Arm backstage
Mark Arm and Dan Peters of Mudhoney and Steve Double
One of the greatest gigs I ever saw was seeing Mudhoney play Vienna’s U4 venue in the summer of 1990. I was stuck in Vienna for the summer, staying at my grandparents’ empty apartment for a few weeks while I took a German course. I was lonely and my German wasn’t very good and I didn’t really have any clue, in an unfamiliar foreign city, how to connect with anything that was going on that was appropriate for my age, which was 20. It was a little depressing, to be honest. Somehow I figured out that Mudhoney was coming to town and I scored a ticket. That show was incredibly intense, the mosh pit (mosh pits were crossing over around then) was insane, and that show supplied a necessary release when I most needed it.

I got ahold of Mudhoney’s self-titled debut album a little before Nirvana’s Bleach. For a long time—even after Nirvana went huge—I professed Mudhoney to be my favorite band. In fact, I can remember buying Nevermind and Mudhoney’s Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge on the same day at Rhino Records in New Paltz, New York, and while Nevermind had the undeniable allure of a massively successful album, it was EGBDF that remained closer to my heart in many ways. EGBDF hasn’t aged very well, and in retrospect my stubborn refusal to acknowledge Nirvana’s superiority over Mudhoney seems like a piece of fandom reminiscent of the love one has for a sports team.

Anyway, in Pavitt’s account of that Rome show, he adds, “Mark Arm from Mudhoney looked on, speechless, at the band that was about to dethrone his own.”

So there we have it—the moment, well before Nevermind was even a thing—when, according to Pavitt, Mark Arm realized that his days of ruling Seattle were about to come to an end. The truth is that the willfully sludge-y and perverse Mudhoney were never going to be a huge act for the long haul—check out their Piece of Cake to hear an album that is going out of its way to alienate its listeners.
Kurt Cobain and Mudhoney's Matt Lukin
Matt Lukin of Mudhoney and Kurt Cobain
According to the post, the pictures are a taste of Pavitt’s new book about that tour, Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989, which is available in hardback in December (pre-order), but you can apparently buy the Kindle version right now. I really hope Pavitt discusses the legendary “troll village” show Nirvana played in Austria, which I remember reading about in Gina Arnold’s Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana.

Tad, “Behemoth”:

After the jump, more of Pavitt’s pics….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Kurt Cobain on high school: ‘I always felt so different and so crazy’
01:41 pm

Pop Culture

Kurt Cobain

A young Kurt Cobain.

“I always felt that they would vote me most likely to kill everyone at a high school dance.”

I know there’s been way too much Nirvana and Kurt Cobain overload going on the Internets lately due to the recent In Utero reissue. But I’m going to post this interview anyway because, well, it’s… special

Jon Savage interviewed Kurt Cobain back in 1993 and a lot of the discussion focused on Cobain’s childhood and teenage years. It’s actually quite a revealing and totally honest interview. Cobain talks about his parents’ divorce, having a homophobic mother, dealing with painful scoliosis, discovering punk rock, why he only had female friends in high school, anger and being a loner. 

With thanks to David Gerlach!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Classic Nirvana interviews: The James Sherry tapes, available on the Internet for the first time
09:41 am



As an employee of Metal Hammer magazine in the UK, James Sherry embodies the peculiarly diverse terrain of fandom that Nirvana staked out for themselves, even before they crossed over to massive mainstream success. James Hetfield of Metallica had expressed admiration for Nirvana way back when Bleach was their only release. Nirvana always thought of themselves as punk, but their music ended up being viewed as something of a supercharged variant of catchy power-punk that appealed to metal folks as well.

Here we have three separate Nirvana interviews conducted by Sherry; all together, they add up to nearly an hour. The interviews catch Nirvana at three very different stages of their career. In November of 1990 Nirvana was riding the modest success of Bleach; in the summer of 1991 they were ready to release Nevermind and they knew they had something special on their hands; by 1992 they had already become superstars and were dealing with that. By the time the last interview rolled around, Nirvana had been named Metal Hammer’s “Best New Band,” which was just really amusing. Among other things, they discuss their willingness to pursue an idea that had been floated in 1991 of touring with Guns N’ Roses.

These interviews have been available on CD since 2004, but this is the first time that they’ve been made available on the Internet.

Even before Nevermind people were clamoring for their autographs. According to Kurt:

At first we were floored by it, we couldn’t believe that people, punk rock—supposedly punk rock people wanted autographs. It seems like the underground has simply reversed itself. There’s still a lot of good, vital things going on in it, but the rock star part of it—I don’t necessarily think it can simply be thought of as, we’re rock stars and they want our autographs. It’s just that they appreciate our music so much that they wanted something extra—it’s an excuse to come up and talk to us, also. I’d rather just talk to somebody as give them an autograph. What usually when I do give autographs I just take a pen and put an X on their program. ...

It’s hard to even tell, it’s hard to tell the difference between punks and metal kids anymore at our shows, especially in the States, because it seems like there’s this new breed of people who just naturally like both of the styles, and a lot of them have, a lot of them dress like Mudhoney … and they just like rock and roll and they don’t even care to be classified anymore, so it’s like, it’s a mixture of the rock star and the punk rock thing at the same time, and it’s not as boring as the crossover thing.

If you’re a big Nirvana fan, you are going to want to hear these interviews, for sure!
November 1990 interview (26:24):

Summer 1991 interview (21:11):

1992 interview (10:47; Novoselic only):

(via NME)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Absolute Nirvana: New Steve Albini mixes push ‘In Utero’ anniversary set into essential territory
03:42 pm


Steve Albini

As a culture, we love our milestones. They provide opportunities for valuable introspection and reassessment. Surely the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s third and final studio album, 1993’s In Utero, is a rich opportunity for that, since it was, perhaps, the single most anticipated album of an important music decade, and one that saw its pre-release publicity significantly and entertainingly overtaken by the band’s decision to record it with the gifted and thoughtful but notoriously polarizing underground sonic wizard recording engineer Steve Albini.

Forgive me while I detour to rehash some obvious consensus rock history, but discussing In Utero without the context of its predecessor’s significance is pointless. I wonder if it’s hard for anyone younger than say around their mid-30s to really grasp how damned HUGE the impact crater of 1991’s Nevermind really was. For those of us who’d spent the ‘80s listening—just like the young men who would become Nirvana had—to stuff like Hüsker Dü, Black Flag, and later, The Pixies, that LP was a Revenge of the Nerds scenario on a national scale, a big fat “I TOLD YOU SO” to the blinkered American culture industry that had spent a decade consigning its most transcendentally great rock artists to cult status, at best. Imagine if The Fugs’ second record made them as popular and important as the Beatles overnight. The sweetness was short-lived once it was realized that the explosion meant that the shows we wanted to see would now be massive, expensive affairs, full to the bursting point with the previously avoidable dicks who’d made an avocation of kicking our punker asses back in high school. And of course Pearl Jam and their ilk rushed in to fill the void of musical douche-chills left in the charts in no-time flat.

Disregarding this alter kaker’s tribalist crabbing, Nevermind wasn’t just a changing of the guard, nor was it a mere paradigm shift. It was a full-bore fucking zeitgeist reset button, making entire genres of pop music obsolete for the rest of the decade within three months of its release. Jane’s Addiction and Dinosaur Jr. had already been pointing the way to the future, but Nirvana brought us there whether we liked it or not, when nobody was looking, least of all Nirvana themselves.

Problem is, massive success is the first step down the road towards becoming a has-been, and this was the perception problem Nirvana faced with In Utero before they’d even recorded a note of it. Quick, name Deee-Lite’s next single after “Groove Is In The Heart,” or Peter Frampton’s follow-up to Frampton Comes Alive.

So mazel tov, you set off the atom bomb. What else you got?

It helped that, being steeped in punk’s burn-the-establishment disposition, Nirvana weren’t really interested in the pressures being brought to bear to somehow reinvent the wheel, twice, and saw the followup to Nevermind as their opportunity to wear their influences on their sleeves and drop a titanic and genuinely underground album - one that was guaranteed to sell no matter what it sounded like, and bring still more of their noisier forebears’ ideas into the wider marketplace. Hence the selection of Steve Albini to produce.

Having helmed landmark LPs by the Pixies and The Jesus Lizard, Albini had carved out a distinctive and uncompromisingly harsh sound (pretty much anyone listening to independent music in the ‘90s could tell within seconds if Albini produced something, just from the drum sound alone), and a reputation for difficulty that had spread beyond the underground. He was opinionated, vocal, and not one to suffer the machinations of major labels, and The David Geffen Company, Nirvana’s corporate keepers, knew it. Upon being asked to take the job, Albini sent a hand-typed four page letter to Nirvana, reproduced in the anniversary reissue (about which more later), outlining his recording philosophy.

I think the very best thing you could do at this point is exactly what you are talking about doing: bang a record out in a couple of days, with high quality but minimal “production” and no interference from the front office bulletheads. If that is indeed what you want to do, I would love to be involved.

If, instead, you might find yourselves in the position of being temporarily indulged by the record company, only to have them yank the chain at some point (hassling you to rework songs/sequences/production, calling-in hired guns to “sweeten” your record, turning the whole thing over to some remix jockey, whatever…) then you’re in for a bummer and I want no part of it.

I’m only interested in working on records that legitimately reflect the band’s own perception of their music and existence. If you will commit yourselves to that as a tenet of the recording methodology, then I will bust my ass for you. I’ll work circles around you. I’ll rap your head in with a ratchet…

His wishes were very nearly adhered to, but there was still a very public controversy. Ultimately, two songs, the singles “Heart Shaped Box,” and “All Apologies” were remixed by Scott Litt, a producer known for his association with R.E.M. (Also, a Litt remix of “Pennyroyal Tea” was, for some reason, swapped in to the bowdlerized version of the album sold in Marts, Wal and K.) Albini, true to form, delivered some unsparing snark about the matter to the music press, but he won out in the long run, as the album is justly considered Nirvana’s greatest work, and its his name that’s associated with it. But really, it’s not like the Litt mixes were so terrible. Here’s an A/B of Litt and Albini’s mixes, with the caveat that YouTube compresses audio tracks, so obviously this is nowhere near like listening to the masters.

Albini’s triumph is bolstered by his involvement in In Utero’s amazing 20th Anniversary reissue. (Of course, it had to be a pretty posh set or it wouldn’t have been worth the bother—a simple reissue would be competing with 20 years worth of used CDs, after all.) Though predictably compiling B-sides, live cuts and demos with a remaster of the original release and a live DVD, the reissue also contains a new Albini remix of the entire album. While it may, upon a first casual listen, suffer from the kind of but-but-but-it’s-different-than-what-I’m-UUUUSED-TOOOOO! bias that can afflict reinterpretations of classics, god damn if it ain’t essential, a genuinely valuable new perspective. (This actually isn’t even the first time Albini has bested a classic.)

I truly wish there was some way for me to share these mixes with you, but Universal is, understandably, keeping a tight grip on the release, so there’s no legitimate way to do so and you’ll have to wait until September 24 like everybody else (except lucky fucks like me, of course). The new “All Apologies,” just for one example, is fucking STUNNING, especially in headphones. The overall feel of the song is wider and roomier, the trademark Nirvana quiet verse-loud chorus dynamics are more exaggerated (and more effective) than in the Litt remix, and its glorious cacophony-exhausting-itself ending just absolutely slays. (Notably, it also comes off less like a Cobain suicide note - you know he killed himself, right? - than either the single or the subsequent Unplugged version, though of course the passage of time may be a factor in that.) The new “Heart Shaped Box” is tense, claustrophobic, raw, filthy, and vastly more emotively forceful than the radio version we’re used to. Scrubbing off the R.E.M. guy’s polish reveals an absolute powerhouse of a song. Albini tells the tale better than I can, speaking frankly and at highly edifying length about the original recording and the remix last month here on the Kreative Kontrol podcast.

If recording session details and backstory are your bag, I unconditionally recommend checking out the work of writer Gillian G. Gaar, author of this fine 1997 article and the superb book on In Utero from the 33 1/3 series. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic talk about the sessions in this interview.

Of course, Albini has his own band, with its own impressive mastery of tension-and-release dynamics, evidently with a new album on the way. Enjoy this live in studio performance by Shellac.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’: Kathleen Hanna tells the story behind the song
08:56 am


Kurt Cobain
Kathleen Hanna

Smells Like Teen Spirit
This one doesn’t need a whole lot of setup. See, there was this band in the 1990s called Nirvana, and they had this song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that everybody liked and….

Oh, for Chrissake, just watch this thing, it’s great.

Shot at Joe’s Pub, New York, December 15, 2010

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Sub Pop shares its original contract with Nirvana
09:16 am


Sub Pop Records

Sub Pop writes, “Six hundred bucks well spent—not that we had it at the time.”

Click here to read larger image.
Via CoS

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Clueless homecoming queen candidate asks Nirvana to record peppy message for her school
08:48 am



A space-case student from Virginia Tech wants Nirvana to tape a peppy video message for her school. Via Sub Pop’s blog:

Earlier today in the Sub Pop mailbag, we received an enthusiastic message from a college student running for homecoming queen. She asked for a video affirming support from our one time recording artists, Nirvana, in order to aid her campaign in becoming homecoming queen. We dressed up and obliged.

Video forthcoming with the script: “What’s up Virginia Tech? This is Nirvana! Just wanted to wish you guys a Happy Homecoming Week and good luck at the game this Saturday. LET’S GO HOAGIES!” Or something like that.

I’m sure Courtney would do it.



Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Who needs a Nirvana blanket?
08:10 am


Home Decorating

Images of burned Nirvana CD’s (with “art” by Sharpie) printed on an over-sized woven cotton blanket by artist Peter Sutherland.

The longer I ponder this one, the funnier it becomes. The Nirvana Blanket can be yours for $250 at Refinery 29.

Via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Punk As Fuck’: A film on the powerful & iconic photography of Steve Gullick

‘A good photograph,’ says Steve Gullick, ‘is one that looks great, one that captures an interesting moment in time, one that tells a story, or in the case of a portrait, offers an insight into the subject.’

This is could be a description of Gullick’s own photographs—his beautiful, inky black portraits that are amongst the most recognizable and iconic images of the past twenty years.

Gullick was influenced ‘Mainly by the dark imagery of Don McCullin and Bill Brandt. I tried to infuse my photos with a similar drama—I spent all of my spare time in the darkroom working on getting good.

‘It was more difficult with color but when I started printing my own color stuff in the late 1990’s I was able to match the intensity of my black & white work.

These photographs have captured succeeding generations of artists and musicians from Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Bjork, The Prodigy, through to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Richard Hawley

‘Photography is magic. The ability to capture something forever that looks interesting to you is magnificent.’

Now an exhibition of his work Punk as Fuck: Steve Gullick 90-93 is currently running at Indo, 133 Whitechapel Road, London, until 31st March, and is essential viewing for anyone with a serious interest in photography, music and art

To coincide with the exhibition, film-maker Joe Watson documented some of Steve’s preparation for the show, and interviewed him about the stories behind his photographs.

For more information about Punk as Fuck and a selection of Gullick’s brilliant work check his website.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Fall’s Mark E. Smith does his Courtney Love impersonation, 1994

From Mick Middles’ 1994 documentary on The Fall’s early years.

I nearly spit out my coffee when I watched Mr. Smith’s spot-on impersonation of Courtney Love.

I don’t think the perpetually drunken Mancunian elf-lord had much love for Los Angeles, either.

With thanks to Xela Ttun!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Kurt Cobain: ‘About A Son’
04:17 pm


Kurt Cobain

Based on twenty-five interviews with Kurt Cobain, About A Son recreates the singer’s early life and career, through the intimacy of Michael Azerrad’s recordings, and director A J Schnack’s ambient portraits of the landscape that Cobain called home - Aberdeen, Olympia and Seattle.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 2  1 2 >