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 (www.swans.pair.com) 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!