1991 and 1993 Nirvana Demos Leak

Posted: August 3, 2015 in Unreleased n' Posthumous Nirvana

Well gosh…I’m not sure there’s much I’d like to add except to thank my friend Diego C for bringing this to my attention and to the tireless denizens of LiveNirvana for the existing depth of their thoughts and analysis on this one.

Basic summary, over the weekend a number of unreleased demos – alternative takes and/or mixes from a number of sessions across 1991 to 1993 leaked. They consist of:

Smart Studios (April 1990)

Polly (alt. mix)

Here She Comes Now (alt. mix)

Sound City (May-June 1991)

Sappy (unreleased)

Old Age (alt. mix v1)

Old Age (alt. mix v2)

Verse Chorus Verse (alt. mix)

BMG Ariola, Rio de Janeiro (January 1993)

Scentless Apprentice (alt. mix)

I Hate Myself and I Want to Die (alt. mix)

Milk It (alt mix)

Onwards into Countless Battles (alt. mix)

Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip (alt. mix)

Seasons in the Sun (alt. mix)

Pachyderm (February 1993)

Heart-Shaped Box (instrumental)

Tourette’s (alt. mix) – thanks Raffaele!

I won’t post links simply because the YouTube links seem to being pulled down at a rate of knots so basically just hunt around, you’ll find them pretty easily. They seem to have been posted as audio files on Zomb Torrents first and, like anything in e-format, they’ve flowed from there.

So, personally, I had a rough weekend. A major bout of food poisoning had me inspecting my brother’s bathroom floors and facilities in more detail than I’d ever wish, I’m weak today, sleepy, a touch brain-dead…And this cheered me no end.

Any notes, not much, if you’re a Nirvana fan then you know these songs by now, you’ll notice inflections and alterations that revive and refresh old memories – its how outtakes work really, something known so well you’re not really listening suddenly tweaked in some small way to wake you briefly from autopilot. Why would anyone listen in this detail to something they’ve been listening to twenty plus years? But listening to a slightly new version? Ah, that’s different.

Sad though it is to reduce thoughts to impressions I just thought I’d listen through and note elements – naturally my ears aren’t the be-all-end-all, musicians among you will note more than I do. Just things I enjoyed…

“Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol…” A touch of extra noise in the first couple seconds, from 2.45 there’s another guitar track given more prominence returning to lend weight from about 4.45, cymbal work more prominent from 5.30 onward, 6.30 onward the bass is really up in the mix. Annnnd a nice extra minute and twenty of indulgent guitar improv from Cobain.

“Tourette’s” Double-tracked or additional vocals joining in on the “heys!” They do actually add something I’d have to say…

“I Hate Myself and I Want to Die” A few stray sounds noted compared to the With the Lights Out edition but otherwise nothing much to see here. A general lightness and freshness to it. Cobain goes crazy at 3 minutes in, neat. Gives a deeper impression of his spontaneity on this track, either that or his ability to make pre-planning sound wild.

“Sappy” Well was it ever going to be more than a light diversion? It’s nice to hear the roar of the 1990 version stripped back but it definitely lacks a certain spark, there’s a sketchiness to it (and to Cobain’s vocal) that is either appealing or a bit ‘meh’. It’s fine though, such a likable song is impossible to ruin and it’s fun watching Cobain haul through another quite significant variation on this song that he could never get just right. I wish there were as many versions of this out there as there have been ‘Been a Son’.

“Scentless Apprentice” Gains a few stray opening sounds and amp noise at the end edited out of subsequent release but heck, I’ve always enjoyed Cobain’s lyrical approach to this one!

Go forth, enjoy the rest as you will.

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Comments
  1. Brian says:

    Searching in vain…. Everything’s pulled down….

  2. coen says:

    I still have the links, you can download them from zombtorrents, just like Nick said. Thanks for dropping my name, mate! 🙂
    BTW it seems to exist another source more complete, with alt. takes for CAYA and Moist Vagina. I haven’t searched for them yet. Hope it helps.

  3. Kurt74 says:

    Hi nick
    In your article there is Tourette’s but not in your list 🙂

  4. coen says:

    Don’t forget those amazing acoustic demos that surfaced last week! ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ (with Dave back from the Olympia days?) and ‘Verse Chorus Verse’. I cant stop listening to them, trying to decipher some of the lyrics (in the latter, that is).

  5. Xenfomation says:

    In the words of The Onion in response to 9/11 : “Holy F***ing Shit!”

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