Archive for March, 2014

Sorry I’m just passing along stuff at the moment rather than actually writing stuff and adding stuff on here – I can promise you it’s because there’s substantial amounts of Nirvana-related homework happening at the moment that I’ll tell y’all about as soon as I can! Sorry, sorry!

Anyways, photos, the charming devastation left after these fine-upstanding-citizens left one of the apartments they rented in LA. The interest for me comes from this being Cobain’s transition between living in the art-orientated cheap-as-chips accomodation he’d haunted for years and was used to simply smothering in artwork and layering to knee-height in debris – to LA apartments and then further homes for which he would be paying a far more significant amount, presumably (in the case of the rental properties) with some requirement to keep them in good order. Not being used to what is essentially a middle-class property he simply treats it like it was just another cheap place he could do whatever he wanted with – this time because he could bloody well afford to.

Just two released both showing his personal affects and the famed drug tin.

I’m editorialising for sure…But, frankly, welcome to the twentieth year of zero evidence indicating anything other than that what Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and all serious investigators stated was true twenty years ago is still true.

My view remains that when someone says something untrue we say “that’s rubbish.” But when that person says twenty things that are untrue we say “oh, but there’s no smoke without fire…” For some reason the quantity of unprovable, unsupported rubbish is deemed to replace the truth/untruth of the individual elements:

For fun, here’s the audio files of Tom Grant:
What I love is that this is a guy who cares so much about ‘justice’ that after twenty years he still hasn’t found an official body or authority to whom he would submit his ‘smoking gun’ tapes, who doesn’t trust the public to whom he appeals sufficiently to let them listen to his supposedly earth-shattering tapes. The evidence would disappear? Give me a break. It’s been two decades – is the evidence a major geological formation or something to do with tectonic plate movements – i.e., something that requires 7,300 days to move…?

It’s a stunning 208 seconds of inconclusive pieces – that he’s edited and where the only statement of context is his own. Take a look at their last conversation. This is how a guy talks to someone who he knows has suffered a major bereavement and who isn’t exactly stable in the first place. I may not love Courtney Love but I think nothing at all of Tom Grant.

The article is phrased in the language of disappointment, built to emphasise that someone is being let down or not being treated right – hence the quotation about how much he was looking forward to it, the point about the text and so forth. That’s infotainment for ya!

Another way of looking at it would be that what is being commemorated is not ‘Nirvana’ as a full historical entity – in which case why draw the line at inviting Chad? Why not invite Aaron, Dave Mk.1, Dan, Dale, Jason, Pat…? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sells peak fame, not the years of puttering along, so realistically the induction is a celebration of two things; the Smells Like Teen Spirit single and the Nevermind album – nuance and the kind of ephemera that keeps fans occupied is far less relevant than than the one song most everyone in the world remembers plus that ‘album with the baby on the front’ that tens of millions of potential Hall of Fame customers purchased. In a way, what’s being celebrated is two spikes in attention, not even the full two and a half years of fame (let alone the full winter 1986-spring 1994 band), just the explosion around Nevermind and Teen Spirit in late 1991-early 1992, then Cobain’s elevation to sainthood in 1994.

An argument could be made about Chad’s contribution but what metric to use? Grohl serves 41 months compared to Chad’s 24, Grohl plays 207 shows compared to Chad’s 140, Grohl records 59 songs over 7 recording sessions while Chad records 35 over 6 sessions – again, if the other drummers are excluded because they’re not around long or they don’t play much then it becomes tenuous arguing Chad ‘did enough’ he should be there. An argument based on quantity doesn’t really cut it.

A different argument would be that Chad lay down the drum patterns in studio subsequently followed by Grohl on around half of Nevermind thus making him a contributor – unfortunately that again opens up the door to inviting others given Polly was first attempted either with Aaron or Dave Mk.1. It’d also make it hard to exclude the others given a lot of the work on Bleach was first created by Aaron or Dave though subsequently recorded formally by Chad. Too many blurred lines to exclude anyone unless everyone is excluded apart from the guy who has become most comfy alongside the LA/NYC rock tradition and business.

That’s where the shame is really, having true representatives of the late Eighties’ North-West underground on stage would be a joy – guys who really did slog it out for no thanks and no cash in the times when Seattle was barely mentioned in a musical context so the people making music there had to love it very much to want to make something happen. It’d be a nice contrast seeing Aaron’s weathered rock look, Dave’s everyman expression, Chad’s ‘pixie of eternal youth’ walking out past the applauding suits. That would have been a real statement saying that Nirvana really had broken the line between underground and mainstream – instead the ceremony will be a reminder that the barricades were rolled back across the path soon enough with those deemed less able to commoditised ignored.

My friend in Spain Carlos presented me with links to this genuinely well constructed webdocumentary on Nirvana today – damn, what a great gift for a Friday!

I’m sure a lot of you have seen it, it seems to have kicked off around a year ago, but its a neat collage of Nirvana related footage, interviews and other elements carrying the tale from early days to final finish.

Not sure I need to add much more really apart from mentioning that I had my haircut at the weekend, there’s a hint of a mullet about it, that touch of length at the back…And I must guiltily admit to really liking it…

As an aside, the Scottish band Urusei Yatsura…Everytime I listen to them I shake my head and wonder how they never got big…And then I hear the noisiness, the dissonance and remember why it is that I like them and therefore why they’d never break through to the mass consciousness.

Then I listen to the Everyone Loves Urusei Yatsura album and realise that without that dissonance they become…Ugh…A bit like listening to Cast. Yeuch.

So I return to the Hello Tiger single, or the We Are Urusei Yatsura album or the amazing Yon Kyoku Iri EP and remind myself that pop and noise together is a brilliant thing and that this band is a brilliant thing.

And I smile, sing along, enjoy the broken guitar breakdowns…

…And all is well with the world. Have a good weekend! Scottish rock kicks ass!


It seems I’ve been granted my 15 seconds of Internet era fame, how funny. The dearly beloved girlfriend of a dearly beloved friend pointed out there was a new NME Nirvana Special in the local newsagent during a trip to Edinburgh. Late last night on the way home at 23.00 I started flipping through and stopped during the discussion of Cobain’s Fecal Matter demos because the NME referenced me in the piece. How chucklesome! Made me smile. This is the post I made that it seems to be referring to – nice to be seen…

Now, the things my poor friends have to endure…A quick stroll of the centre of Edinburgh readily throws up two Nirvana locations; the former Calton Studios where Nirvana played on October 26, 1990 and November 29, 1991 plus The Southern Bar where Dave Grohl and Cobain played an acoustic set for a local charity on December 1, 1991 – usefully still called ‘The Southern.’ Even I could spot that!

Carton Studios_1

Carton Studios_2

The Southern

Not much to add really except the fact that these shows had a genuine personal connection for Cobain. For a start, he’d personally requested that the Japanese band Shonen Knife join Nirvana for the tour in late 1990 which involved contacting their booking agency in Japan to set things up. Next, he used the Edinburgh show as a chance to persuade the Vaselines to reform for one night only – again, this was a chance to flex some personal musical loves – two on the same night! Remember also this was pre-Nevermind Nirvana, the Nirvana that didn’t have that much weight or power. This was the first real moment where Cobain could indulge in this way by getting those he adored to come play with his band; imagine if there was a first time that you were able to get your favourite artists to come perform with you, to reform just for you, that’d be a pretty great evening.

The 1991 performances were a further personal event; Nirvana had toured with a band way back in 1989, on their first U.K. tour, called the Cateran – another Scottish favourite (damn, Scotland had a lot going on! Cobain’s loyalty continued later with Teenage Fanclub being his choice for summer 1992.) The Cateran morphed into The Joyriders (Murdo MacLeod and Kai Davidson, former Cateran-ers forming the core of the new band) and, while he brought Captain America (heir to the Vaselines) and Shonen Knife on tour again, he paused for one night to support a local event set up by his old friends in the Joyriders.

There was a further personal reason for the hook up given Murdo was the brother of Nirvana’s tour manager Alex Macleod and had stayed in touch over the intervening years. Apparently Cobain and Grohl turned up so late many people had gone home after the Joyriders’ set (word had gotten round that the ‘very special’ guests were Nirvana) but once they arrived a lock-in ensued with the Cobain/Grohl combination kicking out a mini-set for the lucky couple dozen left. A charmed night indeed with all money then turned over for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Here’s a little map ripped off from Google in case the stroll appeals to you sometime.

Edinburgh Map