Posts Tagged ‘Dave Grohl’

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While Foo Fighters may not have put on a New Year’s Eve livestream like so many other acts, the alt-rockers did provide a musical send off to 2020 with a new single, “No Son Of Mine”. The song, released last Thursday, comes as the second single from the new album “Medicine At Midnight” following “Shame Shame“. According to a handwritten statement from frontman Dave Grohl posted to social media, the band had originally intended to release Medicine At Midnight prior to mounting its 25th anniversary Van Tour. After that got postponed—along with every other tour—Foo Fighters decided to wait out the storm. And that’s what they did: wait. However, Grohl now says that “the wait is over.”

‘Medicine at Midnight’ will be released on February. 5th, nearly a year after frontman Dave Grohl announced that the Foo Fighters‘ 10th album was completed. Its nine songs include the lead single “Shame Shame,” which they premiered on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in early November. Guitarist Chris Shifflet said a lot of the songs are “groove-based,” adding that Grohl’s background as a drummer means “he’s always coming up with rhythmic twists and riffs based on rhythms that he hears in his head.”

As expected, “No Son Of Mine” is a rocker. Between an earworm Motörhead guitar riff and pulsating drums, Grohl’s lyrics come out to the forefront to lay out fatherly expectations of kin devoid of evildoing. Grohl said of the song, and the album, in his statement, 

Dear Everyone, It was almost exactly a year ago that we finished recording our “new” record Medicine At Midnight, with a massive world tour planned that would have taken us around the globe celebrating our 25th anniversary as a band. But, well…you know…Until we finally realized that our music is made to be heard, whether it’s in a festival field with 50,000 our of closest friends, or alone in your living room on a Saturday night with a stiff cocktail. So, the wait is over.

As we say goodbye (f*ck you) to 2020, and flip the calendar page to 2021, let’s ring in the new year with a new rocker, “No Son Of Mine”.  Pour a drink, turn it up, close your eyes and imagine that festival field blowing up to this. Because it f*cking will.

Happy New Year, Dave

Medicine At Midnight // The New Album Available February.5th 2021

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Dave Grohl and producer Greg Kurstin closed out their Hanukkah Sessions covers series on Thursday night with a cover of “Rock & Roll” by The Velvet Underground, the iconic New York City art rock band fronted by nice Jewish boy Lou Reed.

Launched on the first night of the Festival of Lights last Thursday, the series features Grohl and Kurstin covering a different song by a different Jewish artist each night. Throughout the last eight days, the duo has paid tribute to Beastie BoysDrakeMountainPeachesBob DylanElastica, and The Knack.

This project, which initially began as a silly idea, grew to represent something much more important to me. It showed me that the simple gesture of spreading joy and happiness goes a long way, and as we look forward, we should all make an effort to do so, no matter how many candles are left to light on the menorah.

Toda Raba to Greg for being a musical genius and spending 2 1/2 days barnstorming through these songs together. You never fail to amaze me. Big round of applause for Markus Rutledge, the poor soul that had only 24 hours (8 days in a row) to churn out each of these videos for us! You deserve a medal for sleep deprivation! Huge hearts for the force of nature known as Peaches! You brought the real. And, of course to all of you for joining in on the fun. I hope that you enjoyed watching.

The relaxed take begins with a bit of levity, as Grohl counts off the song only to quickly drop on of his drumsticks. Unfazed, the camera keeps rolling and the two try again and nail the classic Loaded track—kudos to Dave for that fine, fine falsetto. As the duo leans into the song’s final “it was alright” refrain, we see a clip show of sorts from throughout the last eight days showing everything from the editing and recording process to Grohl posing with a menorah.

Along with the final video of the series, Grohl offered up some reflections and thanks laced with his impressive new arsenal of Hebrew phrases. Read the note from Dave Grohl reflecting on the Hanukkah Sessions. As 2020 comes to a close and another Hanukkah ends (my first!) I am reminded of the two things that have gotten me through this year: music and hope.

So, sing along one last time to “Rock and Roll” by The Velvet Underground, a song about music and hope, and let’s keep spreading the joy and happiness. It goes a long way…..

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For the third night of their “Hanukkah Sessions,” Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and producer Greg Kurstin blazed through a rendition of Mountain’s classic “Mississippi Queen.”

“Talk about making a mountain out of a mohel … named Leslie Weinstein at his bris, the singer of our next band built a wailing wall of guitar as Leslie West. Check out our take on a track from Leslie’s monolithic band, Mountain the pair said of their latest cover. “I’m fucking this cup up so bad right now,” Grohl says of the container he’s using in place of a cowbell during the recording. Several YouTube viewers picked up on the line, leaving comments that included: “Dave Grohl is my favorite cup player,” “Dave knew he would be doing a disservice to the Jewish community, and to the song, if he didn’t play the hell out of that cup,”

Mountain released “Mississippi Queen” in 1970, and it appeared on their debut album Climbing! The same year. It became their highest-charting single, reaching No.21, and it’s been covered a number of times over the past five decades, including Ozzy Osbourne’s 2005 version.

“The song’s got three chords,” West said of his composition in August 2020. “Any idiot can play it. I just happen to play it better than anybody!” He added: “[It] has just everything you need to make it a winner. You’ve got the cowbell, the riff is pretty damn good, and it sounds incredible. It feels like it wants to jump out of your car radio. To me, it sounds like a big, thick milkshake. It’s rich and chocolatey. Who doesn’t love that?”

Despite the cover serving as a celebration of West named as one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists — Grohl and Kurstin don’t even attempt to replicate his six-string theatrics, with Kurstin instead playing the riffs and famed solo on a keyboard’s guitar setting. Grohl also banged away at a makeshift cowbell for the performance. 

So far for their “Hanukkah Sessions” — a celebration of the Festival of Lights featuring eight covers by eight Jewish artists stretched across eight nights,  Grohl and Kurstin have covered the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”

After an agonising long wait for new Foo Fighters music, we finally got a new single in the form of the surprisingly funky ‘Shame Shame’. There was a lot of teasing over the last week or so for what appears to be a new Foo Fighters album, yes, they have a new album coming called “Medicine At Midnight” and the first single off it is called ‘Shame Shame’, perhaps unlike any Foo Fighters single we’ve heard either as the band really go hard on the groove and funk with this new banger. Think of a poppy dance track but done with the Foo Fighters’ guitar-heavy aesthetic.

Since this was a new musical direction for the band, Chris Shiflett and Nate Mendel unpack what they were going for this time around. And as with most Foo Fighters songs, it all begins with Dave Grohl. During last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live, musical guest Foo Fighters took the opportunity to debut “Shame Shame” from their new album. The new record—also announced on Saturday—is titled Medicine at Midnight and is out on February 5th, 2021 via Roswell Records/RCA.

“[‘Shame Shame’] kind of stands out on the record, it’s definitely a little different than anything we’ve ever done before and it’s a little bit different than anything else on the record, although the record has a lot of songs that are, you know, groove-based like this one is,” says Chris. “Dave’s a drummer so he’s always coming up with rhythmic twists and riffs based on rhythms that he hears in his head.”

The lyrics reference feelings of shame and the music video, which will be released soon, is something we haven’t really seen from the Foos before. So were the band feeling shameful when writing ‘Shame Shame’? “That’s a great question to ask Dave!” laughs Chris. “He wrote the lyrics, I don’t really know what he’s referencing so I should ask him!”.

Ambiguous lyrics aside, the band went through a number of wildly different versions of ‘Shame Shame’ before settling on the final one we got. In fact, Nate says he originally wasn’t even supposed to play on the song. “For ‘Shame Shame’, it started of as just a bunch of clicks from Dave [clicks fingers], almost like flamenco, and it just grew out of that,” recalls Nate. “There wasn’t going to be any bass line originally, like, it just felt like it needed keyboards and I was fine with that.” The November 7th episode of SNL featured the venerable alt-rockers performing in support of host Dave Chappelle. In a fortuitous twist, Saturday was also the day that Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, likely resulting in an increased viewership which made this the ideal opportunity for Dave Grohl and co. to share their new music.

“Shame Shame” starts off sparing, with the song built around pulsating beats. For the first verse, Grohl is just focused on his vocals as the rhythm is controlled by his fellow guitarists Christopher Shiflett and Pat Smear. Along with the help of a pair of backup vocalists, the song takes a delicate and lyrical approach which displays an added layer of depth that is hopefully present throughout the band’s 10th studio endeavor. “I like the idea that you don’t need an electric bass on every single fucking song, and I ended up playing on it just to give it extra character on top of what was already there like a bit of extra added texture. So that was the plan, just to throw out the rule book.” There was a lot of talk about how Medicine At Midnight would contain a riff Dave has been working on for 25 years. So did we hear it on ‘Shame Shame’?,

Foo Fighters also performed “Times Like These” from their 2002 album One By One.

Stay tuned for more Foo Fighters coverage because we got a lot more from Chris and Nate about the Medicine At Midnight, dealing with COVID and lockdown, looking back on the Foo Fighters’ long career, and that 25-year-old riff coming very soon.

Dave Grohl drums on Stevie Nicks first new song in nine years

Stevie Nicks has released her first new single in nine years, ‘Show Them The Way’, and it features Foo Fighters legend Dave Grohl on drums. The song was inspired by a dream Nicks had involving Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and John Lewis before the 2008 presidential election. Nicks only decided to record the song for release this year, finding the track to be a hopeful source during this “very strange and dangerous time.” #The musician revealed that the song started out as a poem, and considers it to be “a prayer for our country.” “I felt that this was its time, its reason,” she said in a statement. “I understood what it meant then and what it means now. Please God, show them the way. Please God, on this day. Spirits all, give them the strength. Peace can come if you really want it. I think we’re just in time to save it. “I hope that this song and its words will be seen as a prayer. A prayer for our country. A prayer for our world.”

Official music video for Stevie Nicks – “Show Them The Way” Later this month, Stevie Nicks will unveil her concert film Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold The Concert.

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England’s Reading Festival has long welcomed artists large and small from around the world, and sometimes it welcomes back performers who have become global stars since their previous appearance. So it was on August 30, 1992, when Reading hosted Nirvana for the second year running. As we now all know it turned out to be one of the most exhilarating sets ever performed, not just by Nirvana, but by any band, any time, anywhere!
At the point when the band played the famous festival a year earlier, in the summer of 1991, they were halfway down the bill. They’d released their first record, ‘Bleach,’ on Sub Pop in 1989, but despite critical approval, it hadn’t troubled the charts. The ‘Nevermind’ album and its seminal opening single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ were still a couple of months from release at the time of Reading 1991. When they came back 12 months later, Nirvana were a multi-platinum sensation and the biggest thing in rock music for a generation. ‘Nevermind’ had started a five-year run on the Billboard 200 that would deliver US sales alone of ten million copies.

On that Reading return, Kurt Cobain mocked rumours around the festival site that he had been hospitalised with a drug overdose by coming on stage In a wheelchair, pushed by music journalist Everett True, and faking a collapse. He was met by Nirvana’s bassist Krist Novoselic, who shook his hand and told the audience that “with the support of his friends and family, he’s gonna make it. Cobain pretended to struggle to his feet as he stood up in front of the microphone, sang a line from the Amanda McBroom song “The Rose,” then collapsed to the ground. After lying motionless briefly, Cobain returned to his feet, put his guitar on and the band immediately started their set.
True later recalled to Clash magazine that the wheelchair stunt “had been planned the previous night as a burn on those who’d been gossiping about Kurt and his wife [Courtney Love], who’d just given birth to Frances Bean: ‘Kurt’s in hospital, Kurt’s been arrested, Kurt’s OD’d, Courtney’s OD’d, the baby’s been born deformed…Nirvana’s drummer Dave Grohl recalled in a 2018 interview  “I remember showing up to Reading ’92 and there being so many rumours that we weren’t going to play, that we had cancelled. I walked backstage and some of my best friends in bands that were opening would see me and say, ‘What are you doing here?’ And I’d go, ‘We’re fucking headlining!’ And they’d be like, ‘You’re actually going to play?!’ I didn’t realise there was any question that we were going to play.”

The performance at the festival was immortalized on the ‘Live At Reading’ CD and DVD, a film that had been bootlegged by fans for years and was finally officially released in 2009. The film, and the set, featured Nirvana staples including ‘Teen Spirit,’ ‘Come As You Are,’ ‘All Apologies’ and ‘Lithium’ as well as covers of tracks by bands like the Wipers and Fang. No one could know that the performance would turn out to be Nirvana’s last in Britain.

The performance included almost all of Nevermind, along with several songs from their 1989 debut album “Bleach”, the Sub Pop 200 compilation track ” and set list regulars “Aneurysm,” “Been a Son” and the 1990 single, “Sliver” It also included a cover of the Wipers’ “D-7,” which had been released as a b-side on the “Lithium” single in July 1992, and Fang’s “The Money Will Roll Right In” The band also performed the unreleased songs “tourette’s,” “All Apologies” and “Dumb,” all three of which appeared on their final studio album, “In Utero”, in September 1993. Cobain introduced “All Apologies” by announcing, “This song is dedicated to my 12-day-old daughter, and my wife. She thinks everybody hates her,” and then encouraged the crowd to chant, “Courtney, we love you!”

The performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the band’s 1991 breakthrough single, incorporated part of the 1976 track by USA band Boston single “More Than a Feeling” at the beginning, a reference to the similarities between the two songs’ main guitar riffs. The show ended with Cobain playing the American national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” and the band smashing their instruments.

The Band:
Kurt Cobain – vocals, guitar
Krist Novoselic – bass guitar, backing vocals on “The Money Will Roll Right In”
Dave Grohl – drums, backing vocals

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Named one of the 10 best live albums of all time by Rolling Stone, Nirvana’s “Unplugged in New York” will be reissued on 2LP vinyl in celebration of the 25th anniversary of its 1994 release.Expanded to include 5 rehearsal performances previously only available on DVD, the anniversary release also features an exclusive gatefold jacket including anniversary silver foil detail on the front and back cover.180gm black vinyl.

The performance which became the most enduring image of indie rock’s founding idol. Featuring unique acoustic renditions of their legendary hits as well as the captivating cover of Bowie’s Man Who Sold The World. It features an acoustic performance taped at Sony Music Studios in New York City on November 18th, 1993 for the television series MTV Unplugged. The show was directed by Beth McCarthy and first aired on the cable television network MTV on December 14th, 1993. As opposed to traditional practice on the television series, Nirvana played a setlist composed of mainly lesser-known material and cover versions of songs by The Vaselines, David Bowie, Meat Puppets (during which they were joined by two members of the group onstage), and Lead Belly.

When you get your own MTV Unplugged session, it is seen by many bands and artists as a career highlight: an intimate moment in time where you can lay yourself bare for your fans to see, often cementing yourself as one of the greats. The likes of Lauryn Hill, Oasis and Eric Clapton are just a few of the names that have graced the MTV stage as part of their Unplugged sessions.

One of the most iconic MTV Unplugged sets came in 1993 when Seattle grunge gods Nirvana took to the stage to unequivocally write their names in the history books. Backed by a youthful Dave Grohl on drums and bassist Krist Novoselic, the spotlight shone on enigmatic frontman Kurt Cobain. The producers behind the show always wanted artists to play their biggest hits, however Nirvana had different ideas. Their set was packed full of B-sides and covers, swapping out the more obvious crowd pleasers for something more against the grain.

Kicking things off with ‘About A Girl’, it becomes quite clear that this was going to be something special, and a whole world away from the heavy, melodic assault that they were renowned for.

The anthemic ‘Come As You Are’ drew a raucous cheer from the assembled crowd, as Cobain nonchalantly recited the lyrics. Their cover of The Vaselines’ ‘Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam’ saw Novoselic swapping his bass for an accordion, while Grohl’s ability to play the bass and percussion at the same time continued to wow the crowd.

A cover of David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ is an obvious highlight, with many people often preferring this version to the original. A couple of B-side gems follow this, with ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ and ‘Dumb’ being stripped down to their bare bones. The band return to their best selling album ‘Nevermind’ for the next few tracks, with folky renditions of ‘Polly’, ‘On A Plain’ and ‘Something In The Way’, satisfying the crowds lust for their more popular cuts.

As the set draws to a close, Nirvana call upon their friends Cris and Curt Kirkwood from the band Meat Puppets. With the Kirkwood brothers joining them onstage, they rip through three of their band’s songs: ‘Plateau’, ‘Oh, Me’ and ‘Lake Of Fire’, each shifted from their punky roots to be delivered as folky lullabies that the crowd lap up.

The final two songs on the album are the ones you get the most goosebumps from. The eerily chilling delivery of ‘All Apologies’ hits you right in the heart as soon as Cobain squawks the opening impassioned lines.

However, it’s the last song, a cover of a traditional folk song that the group renamed ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ that equally amazes and unsettles you. As Cobain wails “my girl, my girl, don’t lie to me,” pain etched all over his voice, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up instantly. Little did we know that, just a few months later, Cobain would take his own life at his home in Seattle.

The original album was released posthumously in 1994, almost a year after it was recorded and quickly went on to become one of the best-selling records in the MTV Unplugged series, a huge testament to a band who stepped far away from their comfort zone and created a piece of art that has stood the test of time.

Words: Mike Wood

The album “Nevermind” turned Nirvana from unknowns to the biggest musical act in the world and positioned frontman Kurt Cobain as the face of grunge. Although a sensational album, it’s follow-up record “In Utero” that cemented Nirvana’s legacy. Unhappy with the over polished production of Nevermind and concerned with accusations of selling out, Cobain ditched producer Butch Vig for Steve Albini and set about recording an album capturing the harsh, punk influenced sound of their debut Bleach.

In a detailed four-page proposal to the band, Albini laid down his ground rules, the most shocking being his refusal to accept royalties. “I think paying a royalty to a producer or engineer is ethically indefensible. I would like to be paid like a plumber: I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth,” he wrote. “There’s no way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.” He suggested Pachyderm Studios for its isolation in the woods, claiming that recording in a city would cause distractions. He also banned visits from Geffen Records staff members, whom he called “front office bullet heads.”

Albini believed in working fast without over-thinking, so the band cut the album in just two weeks. “If a record takes more than a week to make, somebody’s fucking up,” he wrote in the proposal. The speed at which they recorded, combined with the raw, visceral sound and minimal production, differed greatly from Nevermind, an album that was incredibly clean and streamlined.

In the February 1993, Nirvana made their way to the secluded Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, to begin work on their third album. The last time they had stepped foot in a studio, they were a little known Seattle band that had just left Sub Pop for David Geffen’s DGC. Now, with a multiplatinum album that knocked Michael Jackson off the charts and turned them into one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, they were under immense pressure to follow it up.

“In Utero” achieved this in spades. Draining opener “Serve The Servants” (“Teenage angst has paid off well”), thrash influenced “Very Ape” and cascading hit single” Heart-Shaped Box” were raw sounding tracks exemplifying Cobain’s want of an abrasive sounding record. “Dumb” and the moving finale of “All Apologies” offered lighter moments amongst the chaos, and although Cobain claimed the lyrical content of the album impersonal, it’s hard not to draw parallels between In Utero’s themes and Cobain’s life at that time. It’s 41 minutes of raw, uncompromising rock that was unlike anything else in the pop landscape. Cobain, disenchanted by his overwhelming fame and the widespread media coverage of his personal life, was ready to vent.

Cobain’s bleak worldview was on full display. Many of the songs are best remembered for their gut-wrenching, stripped-back acoustic renditions on MTV Unplugged, but In Utero is treasured among hardcore fans as Nirvana in their purest form. The original title was “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”.
“Nothing more than a joke,” Cobain told Rolling Stone. The line, which first appeared in Cobain’s journals in mid-1992, became the working title for the follow-up to Nevermind. “I’m thought of as this pissy, complaining, freaked-out schizophrenic who wants to kill himself all the time. And I thought it was a funny title. But I knew the majority of people wouldn’t understand it.”. Fearing the title would result in the same legal trouble Judas Priest faced three years prior when two fans shot themselves, Krist Novoselic urged Cobain to rethink it. The other working title wasVerse, Chorus, Verse, but Cobain finally settled on In Utero, which he took from a poem of Courtney Love’s.

Nirvana

Cobain had one goal in mind: to bring the band back to their punk-rock roots. Their millions of new fans may have reveredNevermind, but Cobain thought it sounded “candy-ass” and way too commercial. So he recruited esteemed engineer Steve Albini (who had recorded Pixies, the Breeders, the Jesus Lizard and other Cobain faves) and headed for the woods in rural Minnesota

Cobain wrote “Rape Me” to dramatically condemn rape and emphasize his support for women, but the song sparked immediate controversy. “Over the last few years, people have had such a hard time understanding what our message is, what we’re trying to convey, that I just decided to be as bold as possible,” he told Rolling Stone. A huge supporter of the riot grrrl movement and a fan of bands with female members like the Breeders and the Raincoats, Cobain wanted In Utero to pave the way for more female artists. “Maybe it will inspire women to pick up guitars and start bands,” Cobain said in 1993. “Because it’s the only future in rock ‘n’ roll.”

Wal-Mart and Kmart refused to carry “In Utero” because of the song “Rape Me” and the graphic imagery on the back cover.
Cobain agreed to change the title of “Rape Me” to “Waif Me,” while the back cover was softened to comply with the demands. “When I was a kid, I could only go to Wal-Mart,” he told his manager Danny Goldberg. “I want the kids to be able to get this record.” 

Understandably, “Rape Me” caused other issues for the band, most notably at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards when network executives told the band that if they played the song they’d immediately cut to commercial. Feeling challenged, Cobain played a bit of the song when they walked out and then went directly into a blazing rendition of “Lithium.” 

All three members received credit on “Scentless Apprentice,” an extreme rarity for the group since Cobain normally wrote the songs himselfThe raging “Scentless Apprentice,” inspired by Patrick Süskind’s 1985 novel Perfume, is the only track on the studio album co-written by Cobain, Novoselic and Grohl. (On Nevermind, they shared credit on “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and its B side “Aneurysm.”) “Scentless Apprentice” was recorded in just one take. “Nobody said, ‘We should do it again,’” Grohl said “Because that was the fucking take.”

Cobain wrote out a detailed vision for the “Heart-Shaped Box” video with William Burroughs as the star. “William and I sitting across from one another at a table (black and white),” he wrote. “Lots of blinding sun from the windows behind us holding hands staring into each other’s eyes.”

By the time he approached Burroughs, he had decided to cast him as an elderly Jesus, even offering to conceal his identity. “I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives,” he wrote in a letter. “Let me assure you that this is not the case.” Though Burroughs declined the offer, Cobain finally got to meet his beat hero at his home in Kansas that fall. 

After Cobain met Courtney Love in 1990, Love gave Dave Grohl a heart-shaped box to give to Cobain. She filled it with items that matched Cobain’s taste — a porcelain doll, dried roses and other tokens — and sprayed some of her perfume on it. As Cobain and Love’s romance blossomed, the item became a symbol of their love. It was also the one item in their home they had in common.

 

“Pennyroyal Tea” was one of Nirvana’s first songs to showcase the soft-loud-soft formula they became famous for. It was first written and recorded on a four-track with Dave Grohl in Cobain’s house in Olympia, Washington. It went through several permutations before its release on In Utero, including instrumental takes recorded by Jack Endino in 1992. “Pennyroyal Tea” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” were debuted live the same night, at the O.K. Hotel in Seattle in 1991. “Pennyroyal Tea” was slated to be the third single for In Utero,but was cancelled after Cobain’s suicide in 1994.
After Cobain’s death, the label decided to recall copies of the single, which had a B side of “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” and destroy them. But copies had already been sent overseas and somewhere between 200 and 400 of them reached the fan community.

Image result for photos from NIRVANA - " MTV Unplugged

On This Day – In 1993, Nirvana recorded their MTV Unplugged special at Sony Studios, New York. Nirvana As opposed to traditional practice on the television series, the band played a setlist composed of mainly lesser-known material and cover versions of songs by The Vaselines, David Bowie, Lead Belly,  and the Meat Puppets whose Cris and Curt Kirkwood joined Nirvana onstage.

The set was released nearly a year later “MTV Unplugged in New York” as a live album by the band. It features the acoustic performance on November 18, 1993, for the television series MTV Unplugged. The show was first aired on the cable television network MTV on December 16th, 1993.

MTV Unplugged in New York was the first Nirvana album released following the death of Kurt Cobain. The album has become the group’s most successful posthumous release, The performance was released on DVD in 2007.

Nirvana had been in negotiations with MTV to appear on its acoustic-based show for some time. It was while touring with the Meat Puppets that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain finally accepted. The band wanted to do something different from a typical MTV Unplugged episode for its performance. According to drummer Dave Grohl, “We’d seen the other Unpluggeds and didn’t like many of them, because most bands would treat them like rock shows and play their hits like it was Madison Square Garden or somewhere similair, except with acoustic guitars.” The group looked at Mark Lanegan’s 1990 album The Winding Sheet as a source of inspiration. Among the ideas the band members came up with included covering David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” and inviting members of the Meat Puppets to join them on stage. Still, the prospect of performing an entirely acoustic show made Cobain nervous.

The band dedicated two days to rehearsals. The rehearsal sessions were tense and difficult, with the band running into problems performing various songs. During the sessions, Cobain disagreed with MTV as to how the performance should be presented. Producer Alex Coletti recollected that the network was unhappy with the band’s choice of the Meat Puppets as guests (“They wanted to hear the ‘right’ names – Eddie Vedder or Tori Amos or God knows who,” Coletti recalled) and the dearth of hit Nirvana songs on the setlist. Upset, the day before filming was set to take place, Cobain refused to play. However, he appeared at the studio the following afternoon. Cobain was suffering from drug withdrawal and nervousness at the time; one observer said, “There was no joking, no smiles, no fun coming from him … Therefore, everyone was more than a little worried about his performance.”

Nirvana taped its performance for MTV Unplugged on November 18th, 1993, at Sony Studios in New York City. Cobain suggested that the stage be decorated with stargazer lilies, black candles, and a crystal chandelier. Cobain’s request prompted the show’s producer to ask him, “You mean like a funeral?”, to which the singer replied, “Exactly. Like a funeral.”  Nirvana was augmented by guitarist Pat Smear and cellist Lori Goldston, who had been touring with the band. Despite the show’s premise, Cobain insisted on running his acoustic guitar through his amplifier and effects pedals. Coletti built a fake box in front of the amplifier to disguise it as a monitor wedge. Coletti said, “It was Kurt’s security blanket. He was used to hearing this guitar through his Fender Amp. He wanted those effects. You can hear it on the song ‘The Man Who Sold the World.’ It’s an acoustic guitar, but he’s obviously going through an amp.”

Unlike many artists who appeared on the show, Nirvana filmed its entire performance in one single take.  The band’s fourteen-song setlist included a single song from its debut album, Bleach, four songs from the 1991 album Nevermind, three tracks from the then-recently released In Utero, and six cover songs. The group shied away from playing its better-known songs; the only contemporary hit the band performed was its 1992 single “Come as You Are”. Ten songs in, Cris and Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets joined the band onstage to perform three of their group’s songs with Nirvana. The set ended with a performance of the traditional song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, following the arrangement of blues musician Lead Belly, whom Cobain described right before the song as “his favorite performer ever”. This rendition has been regarded as one of the greatest live single song performances of all time.

Music critic Andrew Wallace Chamings described, “For the final line, ‘I would shiver the whole night through,’ Cobain vocal jumps up an octave, forcing him to strain so far he screams and cracks. He hits the word ‘shiver’ so hard that the band stops, as if a fight broke out at a sitcom wedding. Next he howls the word ‘whole’ and then does something very strange in the brief silence that follows, something that’s hard to describe: He opens his piercingly blue eyes so suddenly it feels like someone or something else is looking out under the bleached lank fringe, with a strange clarity. Then he finishes the song.” After the band finished, Cobain argued with the show’s producers, who wanted an encore. Cobain refused because he felt he could not top the performance of that song.

 

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The MTV Unplugged In New York performance was released on DVD on November 20th, 2007. The DVD release featured the entire taping, including the two songs (“Something in the Way” and “Oh Me”) excluded from the broadcast version. Bonus features consisted of the original broadcast version of the performance, a 1999 MTV special titled Bare Witness: Nirvana Unplugged featuring the recollections of MTV producers and audience members, and five songs taped during the pre-show rehearsal: “Come as You Are”, “Polly”, “Plateau”, “Pennyroyal Tea”, and “The Man Who Sold the World”.

Nirvana 

  • Kurt Cobain – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Krist Novoselic – acoustic bass, accordion , acoustic rhythm guitar
  • Dave Grohl – drums, backing vocals,

Additional musicians

  • Pat Smear – acoustic guitar,
  • Lori Goldston – cello,
  • Cris and Curt Kirkwood – acoustic bass and backing vocals

kristeenyoungpic

Making noises for her being thrown off Morrisey’s recent USA tour , backed by Dave Grohl on drums and legendary record producer Tony Visconti on all guitars, this is wildly energetic, operatic at times and a huge slice of Pop……”How Are You So Calm When Its So Severe”