Preferred Remembrance Part II

So what could I imagine being worthy future Nirvana releases?

Well, OK, clearing away what is already known to be on the way — Autumn 2013 will see the Super-Deluxe edition of In Utero which presumably will include the Rio De Janeiro and Word of Mouth outtakes, plus the unmixed versions and leftovers from Pachyderm Studios in February. It’d be nice to see some of the earlier versions of In Utero material also. In some ways, given the drawn out origins of In Utero, with some songs dating back to 1990, there’s potential for quite a span of material to be incorporated.

Moving beyond that, there are enough alternative takes left from studio sessions, plus radio session tracks and TV performances to make for a solid CD (or two) along the lines already provided by With the Lights Out; the outtakes from June 1988, the unreleased Sappy take, the jam performed on Dutch radio in late 1991 alongside takes of Here She Comes Now and Where Did You Sleep Last Night, the audio of Seasons in the Sun seen on the With the Lights Out DVD, the jams from January 1994…There’s enough.

For the anniversary of his death coming up in 2014, however, it would be great to see a Kurt Cobain collection. This would naturally have to, finally, feature an officially approved release of the Fecal Matter demo of Easter 1986 (see Gillian G. Gaar’s book Entertain Us for a really well-argued explanation of why this recording took place later than was thought), could feature more of the radio session with Calvin Johnson from 1990, could finally spit the 1994 basement demos out (and stop teasing everyone with their existence) and could gather up some of Kurt’s wider musical experiments which run into far more unusual terrain than anything seen on Incesticide. I can’t imagine Montage of Heck ever seeing official release but some of the other scraps would be good to hear cleaned up. Such a release could also hoover up some of Kurt’s collaborative work; The Go Team single, the two tracks performed with Earth, Mark Lanegan. In some miraculous future maybe someone will have found the 1982 Cobain demos too…Let’s dream.

Either in combination with that, or as a separate release in its own right, I’d very merrily listen to a two CD set of Kurt’s acoustic (or electric if they exist) home demos. While it’s fair to say that the pieces seen so far aren’t exactly musical triumphs on the guitar front, they do possess a desirability simply because there’s so little material where Kurt’s voice is laid so bare, so stark.

Likewise, there are enough unusual live renditions available that a fully-polished and mastered major label disc would be of genuine interest despite the stirling work done by the fan community. The unusual 1991 take of Vendetagainst (A.K.A. Help Me I’m Hungry) often referred to as Come On Death would be great to hear in better fidelity; the opening jam from the Rio de Janeiro concert would be worthwhile; Curmudgeon, Oh The Guilt, variations on some of the early Nirvana songs likewise; and of course the various songs with alternative lyrics in their initial iterations — a release bringing these together would garner much goodwill from a fan base fed up of hearing yet another carbon-copy edition of Been a Son.

A similar project could gather together at least some portion of the many live covers Nirvana performed over the years. I’ve always adored the version of My Sharona from 1994; Bad Moon Rising and Run Rabbit Run from 1988 are both quality, Krist’s version of The End is great… There’s enough material out there and with a half competent mixing it’d be possible to use the shorter scraps and quotations Nirvana used live to segue between the more fully fleshed out songs. It’d be nice to see post-hoc mixing that actually does expand on the audio experience rather than just being used as a way of punching the listener in the head with VOLUME. It’d be lovely to have a covers collection.

The only other place I can imagine Nirvana going on record (not including endless reissues of full live shows on CD and/or DVD) would certainly be one for the hardcore only…Maybe that would preclude it receiving official support, but who does anyone imagine is forking out for vinyl reissues of Incesticide or scraps of extra Nevermind material anyway? J Mascis recently released an album with his friends under the name Heavy Blanket consisting of a short selection of studio jams. Nirvana’s live jams are intriguing, varied, interesting for refocusing on the musical talents of these individuals — the Nirvana: Live, Tonight, On Tape article by Brett Robinson I shared on Facebook and Twitter yesterday points to a couple of good examples. A single disc selection wouldn’t outstay its welcome, at least not with fans whose ears are open to feedback and raucous sprawls of sound.

That’d be the barrel fully scraped I believe – nothing left. The Swans official website ( has always run an intriguing project offering CD-R issues of a vast number of the band’s performances. If Universal had the patience then a custom-built website offering similar access to the live archive (whether as downloads or with a CD ordering option) would appeal. Beyond that…My imagination runs dry.

…Unless…Unless someone loses their mind and goes down the road of Having Fun With Elvis on Stage — this is worth a look if one wishes to see how bad posthumous recordings can be:

Other bright ideas for Nirvana recordings welcomed!


2 thoughts on “Preferred Remembrance Part II”

  1. “If Universal had the patience then a custom-built website offering similar access to the live archive”

    Yes they should do this. They should just launch a site and just archive some live recorded shows . Charge per download etc. Would be easy for them to do. Surprised they haven’t done so by now TBH.

    As for physical releases id like to see the Rosklide released on DVD at some point – it was professionally filmed and IMO a better 92 show than Reading – at least soundwise – i think Nirvana were better and tighter that night and one best sounding shows of 92. Altho theres nothing paticularly ununusal about setlist etc.

    As for possible ‘In Utero’ deluxe next year. I really hope they include the Endino recordings but have a nagging feeling they won’t . I mentioned something similar before – the only track that had Kurt do a vocal track for was “Rape Me”. The rest were instrumental and get the impression for some reason the record ppl / Nirvana camp think ppl aren’t interested in non-Kurt vocal instrumentals. It was also the only Endino In Utero session track they included on WTLO boxset.
    It’d be a big wasted opportunity if they don’t include the Endino session this time round but they left off even obvious stuff like the still unheard Sound City ‘Sappy’ off the Nevermind deluxe so who knows?.

    I think when they do these type of releases they really should somehow consult fans and ppl like Gillian a bit more.

    In Utero 20th deluxe thing if they do one might be lot more lowkey . They might just release ‘In Utero’ remastered brickwalled (argh) with just the B sides added and thats it.

    The MTV live & loud FULL release on DVD seems to me an obvious release for next year to me but again who knows ? I mean its pretty baffling that hasn’t been released already if you think about it.

    Shame they didn’t do an Incesticide 20th thing really – could have included studio Hairpsray Queen with Chad on drums (i doubt we’ll ever hear this now?) and also maybe live versions of the songs that featured on Incesticide as some bonus disc.


    1. A world of possibilities out there. On the live archive front, one thing that occurs to me is I suspect that the record label didn’t record that many live performances, that most of the recordings we know were illegally done, so therefore that’s why the live selections, etc. have been so limited. It doesn’t mean they can’t get hold of them but they’re maybe limited to whatever the band recorded for their own amusement.

      And yes, a properly done Incesticide Deluxe would have been lovely. The Fecal Matter version of Downer, the Bleach session outtake of Hairspray Queen, live alternative cuts of a few of the older tracks…A world of possibilities and roads untravelled.

      I think profit motive is potentially crucial. They’ll continue creating the collections that are easiest and least taxing to put together. They’ll pick material that they don’t have to pay anyone to clean up, they’ll try not to be paying any licensing to Sub Pop or to other labels…Result? Never going to satisfy the hardcore fans, maybe enough for the beginners. Nice to have not need to have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s