Thursday, September 13, 2007

Endless, Nameless...The Nirvana Story Part One...Show # 162

Nirvana were one of the biggest bands of the nineties. Their influences ranged from bands such as The Beatles, Devo, Cheap Trick, Sex Pistols, and Black Sabbath, to indie bands such as The Pixies, Vaselines, Black Flag, The Stooges, and Flipper (to name a few). They would be known as a grunge band that blended elements of punk and metal, but Nirvana were different from the other grunge bands that came out of the emerging scene in Seattle during the late 80's/early 90's. Nirvana contained elements of punk and metal, but they also contained a pop element. Their pop element differed than the other Seattle bands.

After being introduced by Buzz Osbourne (the Melvins) to Krist Novesellic, Kurt Cobain decided to form a band together due to their interest in punk music and feelings of alienation within their home town. After attempting to find a vocalist/guitarist with Cobain on drums and Novesellic on bass, the order was switched around (Cobain on vocals/guitar and Novesellic on bass duties) and after getting drummer Aaron Burckhard on drums, Skid Row was formed. Chad Channing was on drums in 1987 and the band would be known as Nirvana. In 1988, Nirvana released their first single on the Seattle independent record label Sub Pop. "Love Buzz" was actually a cover of a song originally done by the band Shocking Blue, Nirvana's version is re-worked and is better in my opinion. The single was backed by the song "Big Cheese".

The album Bleach would come next in 1989. Recorded for $606.17, the album was heavily influenced by bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Seattle band Mudhoney. The album which was produced by Jack Endo, was successful on college radio and it created a buzz that got major labels interested. The actual album itself contained a lot of songs showing the bands potential, but also revealing that they had not found their sound yet. The slow drudging "Blew" starts the album, continuing into the heavy-dirty, "Floyd the Barber". "About A Girl" is a song that shows off Cobain's Beatles influence, while still sounding original and different. Other interesting tracks from the album are "School", "Paper Cuts", and "Swap Meet". The band toured a lot behind this album displaying intensive energetic live shows.

Another important note about Bleach is that another guitarist is credited on the album even though he did not actually play on it. This was Jason Everman (also featured on the cover), he did tour a little bit with the band after the release of Bleach, but he would be fired, he also have a brief stint with Soundgarden. Everman also supplied the band with the money to record Bleach. The Blew EP was also released in 1989. The EP contained four tracks "Blew", "Love Buzz" (which can be found on Bleach), and "Been A Son (which can be found on the 2002 Nirvana greatest hits CD)", and "Stain" (on the Incesticide) . The EP was only released in the UK, it was released on vinyl and CD.

The band then released the single Sliver with "Dive" as the B-side. The songs featured a new drummer, Dan Peters from Mudhoney. Nirvana went through a lot of drummers before they would finally find a suitable hard-hitting one to compliment their music and make it even stronger than before. This man would be, Dave Grohl who was playing in the DC hardcore band Scream. During this time the band also signed to a major record label Geffen/DCG in 1990. Before signing over the band also did some work on demos with Butch Vig, but they would then go to Sound City Studios in Los Angeles to work on songs for what would become Nevermind. After spending two months recording Butch Vig mixed the album, but it needed to be remixed. The band chose Andy Wallace from a list of possible people to mix the album, after seeing that he worked with the metal band Slayer. Later on in the bands career, they would say that the mixing on Nevermind was too polished.

Nevermind took the world by storm in 1991, because of the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit". People latched onto this song and it got heavy rotation on mainstream radio and MTV. The album exploded into the mainstream sucking in the Seattle grunge scene with it and a thousand copy-cat bands. The album itself is a mix of the bands punk and pop influences on a more focused level than Bleach. No one thought the album would turn the world of music upside down, but it did. The album itself had a similar impact as Sex Pistols did in the late 70s with their album Nevermind the Bollocks. At the time mainstream radio was filled with older bands and hair metal polluting the airwaves, Nevermind wiped them out. The album contained songs such as "Come As You Are" and "Drain You", which were pop songs that contained watery sounding guitar effects. "Breed", "Territorial Pissings" and "Stay Away" showed off the bands punk rock influences. The band drew influences from all over on this album such as The Pixies, REM and many others. The album ends with the eerie acoustic song "Something in the Way" in which Cobain sings of living under a bridge. After this track there is a hidden song, a song that would be known as "Endless Nameless". Initial copies of the American release of Nevermind failed to include this track. The song was created for the band to let off their frustrations of being in the studio. It would also be a song in which the band would end their lives shows with then smash their instruments.

In 1992, Incesticide was released. It was an album of rarer Nirvana songs. The album contained songs such as "Sliver" a two minute punk song about Cobain wanting to leave his Grandmothers house, and a variety of Bleach sounding outtakes such as "Mexican Seafood", "Beeswax", "Downer", and "Big Long Now". The album also contained a variety of cover songs showing off the bands influences. "Turnaround" (Devo), "Molly's Lips" and "Son of a Gun" (Vaselines)were the covers. The album also contained "Aneurysm" one of Nirvana's best songs, a start and stop masterpiece, and "Been a Son" was another fast punker from the band. A number of these tracks were actually from BBC sessions that the band did. "Aneurysm", "Been A Son", Molly's Lips" and "Son of A Gun" were all taken from BBC session performances.

Hormoaning EP - two different covers (Japan, & Australia)

During the process of touring another EP would be released in Australia and Japan to support their tour there in 1992. In February of 1992, Hormoaning was released. The EP contained six tracks, four covers and two originals. Three of the six songs can be found on Incesticide ("Turnaround", "Molly's Lips", "Son of a Gun"), while the other tracks were "Aneurysm" (a different version than the one featured on Incesticde), "D-7" (Wipers cover), and "Even in His Youth (B-side form the "Teen Spirit" single) were harder to find. To support their releases the band toured to back their success, Cobain would get married and have a child and by 1993 the band would work on their follow up to Nevermind, In Utero. Before the actual recording took place during 1991-92 Cobain would go through numerous personal problems with drug abuse and dealing with fame. Nirvana would also make appearances on various TV shows such as Top of the Pops in the UK, and Saturday Night Live int he USA. Next week I will finish my post on Nirvana, going into 1993 and beyond.

In other news on this Friday September 14th, the University of Windsor will be hosting the Harvesting the FAM Festival, which is an all day event showcasing local talent such as artists, musicians, movies, and fashion. More info can be found here. On Septemeber 28-30th Windsor will be having the PA Festival, a three day event supporting various local and live acts at the Avalon Front and Phog Lounge.

Play list:

1. The Strokes – New York City Cops
2. Libertines – last post on the bugle
3. Replacements – shiftless when idle
4. Green River – ride of your life
5. Mudhoney – inside job
6. Nirvana – big cheese
7. Nirvana – even in his youth (demo)
8. Tankhog – shame
9. Hater – downpour at Mt. Angel
10. Queens Of The Stone Age – misfit love
11. Tricky Woo – hot kitty
12. Mark Inside – liar
13. Rapture – heaven
14. The Hives – love in plaster
15. Ride Theory – walk the line
16. Young Rival – don’t make a sound (demo)
17. Dead 60s – liar (live)
18. The Tweeks – quasi celebrity
19. The Situations – fashion girl
20. The D4 – evil heart
21. Yoko Casionos - cameras on
22. Turbo Fruits - devo girl
23. The Defandants – guilty of you
24. White Stripes – I can’t wait

Nirvana Videos:

In Bloom (Sub Pop Version)
Aneurysm (Live Amsterdam 1991)
Territorial Pissings (Live Jonathan Ross Show 1991)
SNL 1992 (Teen Spirt/Territorial Pissings)
Stay Away (Live Reading Festival 1992)
Lounge Act (Live Reading Festival 1992)
Sliver (Music Video)
In Bloom (Music Video)
Nobody Know's I'm New Wave (Live Argentina 1992)
School & Come As You Are (Live Argentina 1992)

1 comment:

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