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Kurt Cobain’s horror movies
01:02 pm


Kurt Cobain
horror films

In 1984 Kurt Cobain was 17 years old and bursting with creative adolescent energy. He was already friends with Krist Novoselic and Dale Crover, who a year earlier had formed the Melvins with Buzz Osborne and Matt Lukin, best known today as the bassist for Mudhoney.

One of the things they liked to do together was record footage in a horror movie style—it’s doubtful that they had any concrete designs to put a movie together; more likely they were play-acting as much as anything else. It’s not a “horror movie” as much as a bunch of unconnected shots cobbled together into a kind of “horror home movie.”

The two most memorable moments on the video are a few shots of Cobain wearing a Mr. T mask and worshiping in front of a pentagram, and another handful of shots in which Cobain pretends to slash his own throat and wrists, fake blood and all. That last section has earned the tape an alternate title of “Kurt’s Bloody Suicide,” which as you’ll see below is rumored to be Kurt’s own title, but Dale Crover dismisses the notion. If not, it’s of questionable taste given Cobain’s actual demise in 1994 by his own hand.

Mike Ziegler, once described as possessing “an arsenal of Nirvana recordings that goes unparalleled by any trader in the universe,” once asked Crover about the “horror movies.” Here is the substance of that conversation:

Ziegler: Do you happen to remember what the title of the movie was called? I’ve heard rumors from people that Kurt said the movie was titled “Kurt’s Bloody Suicide.”
Crover: I’m sure that there was no title. We were just fucking around with a camera.
Ziegler:  So… what the hell is up with the Mr. T scene in the beginning. Whose crazy mind thought that one up?
Crover: The Mr. T Idea just developed as we shot it. Krist filmed while I held the lights. Kurt made the satanic altar and played Mr. T. I think I manned the vacuum cleaner for the coke snorting scene. We were going to do more but never finished.
Ziegler: What did you use to record it?
Crover: Novoselic’s super 8.

Keep keeping after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘My Life in Orgone Boxes’: William Burroughs on his sexual science experiments in OUI magazine, 1977

Burroughs contemplating an orgone box
As a contributor to this blog, I spend a lot of my time poking around looking for suitable subjects that might please and edify the DM readership. When I come across an item uniting William S. Burroughs, Wilhelm Reich, Jack Kerouac, orgasms, heroin, Jean Cocteau, and even tangentially Kurt Cobain that has not been written about all too much, I can be sure I’m in the ballpark of a good DM post.

In 1977 OUI magazine published an item by William S. Burroughs with the title “My Life in Orgone Boxes,” in which he explained that he built his first orgone accumulator in 1949 on the farm of a friend named Kells Elvins in Texas. Among other things, in the article Burroughs addresses Jack Kerouac’s fictionalized version of Burroughs’ device as presented in On the Road but insisted that the account was “pure fiction.”

That Burroughs used an orgone accumulator is (a) pretty well known, and (b) not very surprising, given who Burroughs was. But let’s back up a moment here. What is an orgone accumulator, anyway? (It’s sometimes called an orgone machine or an orgone box.) Reich was in the first wave of post-Freudian thinkers, and he attributed his discovery of “orgone energy”—that is to say, energy with the capacity to charge organic material (cellulose), unlike electromagnetic energy—physical manifestations of sexual energy—as occurring in January 1939, after working off of Freud’s theory of the libido.

One of the first experimental orgone accumulators. Note the stack of Reich/orgone publications propping the door open. Much larger version here.
Reich was sure that he had discovered the secret to manipulating and enhancing sexual experience by removing/satisfying electric blockages within human beings. Quoting from his book The Function of the Orgasm: Sex-Economic Problems of Biological Energy (The Discovery of the Orgone, Vol. 1):

The orgasm formula which directs sex-economic research is as follows: MECHANICAL TENSION —> BIOELECTRIC CHARGE —> BIOELECTRIC DISCHARGE —> MECHANICAL RELAXATION. It proved to be the formula of living functioning as such. … Research in the field of sexuality and bions opened a new approach to the problem of cancer and a number of other disturbances of vegetative life.

Check that out: “the formula of living functioning as such,” wow. Reich’s idea was that orgone energy was virtually everywhere and pointed to both the aurora borealis and the blue tint seen in sexually excited frogs as evidence. As he put it in The Function of the Orgasm, “‘Biological energy’ is atmospheric (cosmic) orgone energy.” Then:

The color of orgone energy is blue or blue-gray. In our laboratory, atmospheric orgone is accumulated or concentrated by means of an apparatus specifically constructed for this purpose. We succeeded in making it visible by arranging certain materials in a specific way. The blocking of the orgone’s kinetic energy is expressed as an increase in temperature. Its concentration or density is indicated on the static electroscope by the differences in the speed of the discharge. The spontaneous discharge or electroscopes in non-ionized air, a phenomenon designated as “natural leak” by physicists, is the effect of atmospheric orgone and has nothing to do with dampness. The orgone contains three kinds of rays: blue-gray, foglike vapors; deep blue-violet expanding and contracting dots of light; and white-yellow, rapidly moving rays of dots and streaks. The blue color of the sky and the blue-gray of atmospheric haze on hot summer days are direct reflections of the atmospheric orgone. The blue-gray, cloudlike Northern lights, the so-called St. Elmo’s fire, and the bluish formations recently observed in the sky by astronomers during increased sun-spot activity are also manifestations of orgone energy.

It was later realized that Reich’s device for enhancing sexual stimulation with electricity was more or less a modified Faraday cage.

As Burrough writes in the OUI article, in addition to the one he and Elvins built, Burroughs also made a smaller version, a “potent sexual tool” constructed “from an Army-style gas can.” Burroughs used the smaller tool inside the larger box, “held the little one over my joint and came right off.” Then, in an aside, Burroughs explains that Jean Cocteau used to ejaculate without using his hands as a kind of party trick. Some trick!
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
In Their Own Write: Handwritten lyrics by Nick Cave, David Bowie, Joey Ramone, Kate Bush and more

Beat writer Alexander Trocchi was wise to the easy money to be made from selling handwritten drafts of famous works of literature. When short of cash for his drug habit, Trocchi would write out in longhand one of his novels (Young Adam, White Thighs, whichever) and sell it on to some collector as the one and only original handwritten manuscript. It kept him from finding a job or worse, from writing something new. Across London and Paris there’s probably dozens of these supposed “originals” cobbled together by Trocchi in his moment of need.

If Trocchi had lived and tried the same today, he would probably have been found out for his ruse as the market for original handwritten drafts to books, poetry and pop songs is now a mega business.

Last year, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for “Like A Rolling Stone” was sold at auction for $2 million. In 2005, John Lennon’s pen-drafted words for “All You Need is Love” made $1.25 million at auction, while in April 2015, Don Maclean’s handwritten lyric sheet for “American Pie” sold for $1,205,000.

Handwritten pop lyrics are as valuable as works of art—in fact they are works of art—as in this digital age where everything is written by keyboard, the value of such pen-scrawled texts on legal pad or hotel note paper only increase in value year on year. Though the top ten most expensive lyric sheets are about 2/3 the work of John Lennon (4) and Bob Dylan (2), there are plenty of other musicians out there who are finding their first drafts to popular songs offer them or their inheritors a comfortable pension.
David Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Jean Genie’ made $29,063 at auction.
Bowie: Lyric detail for ‘Jean Genie.’
Ziggy jams with a ballpoint pen: David Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Ziggy Stardust.’
One of Nick Cave’s many notebooks with original lyrics for ‘No Pussy Blues.’
Cave’s typed lyrics for ‘Push the Sky Away.’
No notebook or typewriter for Joey Ramone—the lyrics for ‘Disassembled’ were written on an old Alka Seltzer box.
More original pop lyrics, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kurt Cobain’s ‘MTV: Unplugged’ sweater sells for a staggering $140,800 at auction
07:05 am


Kurt Cobain
MTV Unplugged

Kurt Cobain and Nirvana performing on
Kurt Cobain wearing his famous sweater on MTV: Unplugged, 1993

The sweater worn by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s 1993’s MTV: Unplugged performance sold at an auction on Saturday for a cool $140,800. Four months after the taping of the show, Cobain committed suicide in an living space above his garage in his home on Lake Washington Boulevard in Seattle. 
Kurt Cobain's
A photo from Julien’s Auction of Kurt Cobain’s “MTV: Unplugged” sweater
According to Auction house Julien’s, the sweater (which came to auction by way of a “friend” of the Cobain family) was expected to fetch at least 100K. Damn. Here’s the description for the sweater that was listed in Julien’s “Icons and Idols: Rock N Roll” auction:

A blend of acrylic, mohair and Lycra with five-button closure (one button absent), with two exterior pockets, a burn hole and discoloration near left pocket and discoloration on right pocket.

No word on who the lucky owner of this very spendy piece of grunge history is.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Because nothing quite goes with tennis like grunge, watch John McEnroe cover Nirvana!
09:39 am


Kurt Cobain
John McEnroe

Very little information has been given on this video of famously furious tennis legend John McEnroe covering Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings,” but it is a strange and wondrous (and oddly appropriate?) sports-music crossover. Basically we know that the footage is from six days ago, and was recorded at The Stephen Talkhouse, a bar in the Hamptons—not very grunge, but can you picture McEnroe in Seattle? We can all be judgmental and shitty about this performance, but it was clearly intended as a fun night out and not some foray into a music career, so let’s just try not to be disturbed that Nirvana is being covered by dads in the Hamptons and let McEnroe have his fun, ok?

The audience apparently featured celebs like Lorne Michaels and Harvey Weinstein, and McEnroe is being backed (quite well, in fact) by his daughter Ava, and his wife Patty Smyth of Scandal. Remember her?!? (Say what you will, “Goodbye to You” is a solid bit of pop brilliance.) I guess the family that plays together, stays together, or… something.

Via Stereogum

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Illiteracy Will Prevail’: Demo tape from Kurt Cobain’s pre-Nirvana band Fecal Matter
03:25 pm


Kurt Cobain
Fecal Matter

Photo Credit: Charles Peterson
When Kurt Cobain formed his band Fecal Matter in 1985 with drummer Greg Hokanson and future Melvins drummer Dale Crover, his blazing path to superstardom as the singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of Nirvana was still several years away. Fecal Matter recorded a single demo on a four-track under the title, “Illiteracy Will Prevail.”

Now, for the first time ever, the entire demo, lasting slightly longer than 58 minutes, has surfaced online. Cobain’s uncanny ability to wrest tunefulness out of what is otherwise a gnarly punk mess is clearly in evidence all over this demo. You wouldn’t mistake it for the output of any other band.

The cassette cover for the 4-track demo
The demo has a dozen-plus “totally abrasive” tracks on it, the titles of which are not fully agreed-upon. The last full song (at the 45:08 mark) is an early version of “Downer,” which appeared as an extra track on some versions of Nirvana’s 1989 debut Bleach.

Fecal Matter broke up when the Melvins coalesced; future Nirvana bassist Krist (a/k/a Chris) Novoselic heard and dug the Fecal Matter demo, sought out Cobain, and the rest is rock history.

“Illiteracy Will Prevail,” approximate tracklist:
1. Sound of Dentage (00:00)
2. Bambi Slaughter (04:50)
3. Laminated Effect (08:24)
4. Blathers Log (10:42)
5. Class of ’86 (13:19)
6. Boatakk (17:15)
7. Love My Family (19:21)
8. Accusations (28:28)
9. Spank Thru (33:05)
10. Insurance (36:55)
11. Buffy’s Pregnant (38:24)
12. Vaseline (42:41)
13. Downer (45:08)
14. Instrumental version of Boatakk (48:09)
15. Riffs & “Turnaround” by Devo (49:48)

Listen to the entire “Illiteracy Will Prevail” demo below:

via Consequence of Sound

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Soaked in Bleach’: New documentary examines the theory that Kurt Cobain was murdered
10:35 am


Kurt Cobain

Soaked in Bleach
Nirvana fans worldwide were devastated, when on April 8th, 1994, Kurt Cobain was found dead. Adding to the distress, it was revealed he took his own life, dying from a self-inflicted shotgun wound. Over 20 years later, a new documentary, Soaked in Bleach, examines the possibility that Cobain’s shocking death wasn’t due to a suicide, but a homicide.

Largely told through information provided by private investigator Tom Grant, writer/producer/director Benjamin Statler takes another look at the case. Grant was hired by Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, in April 1994, supposedly to find Kurt after he went missing following a stint in rehab. Almost immediately after taking the case, red flags started popping up, and Grant began recording all the conversations he had with Love and others. Statler airs selections from those audio recordings, along with interviews with Grant, various law enforcement experts, and friends of Cobain’s, taking the viewer down a path that is revelatory and often chilling. I was surprised to learn of all the myths we’ve taken as truth in regards to the crime scene, how much the media played a role in disseminating this misinformation, and just how badly the Seattle police department bungled the case. Statler also filmed several recreations, and while such a technique can often appear cheesy and cheap looking, here they are highly effective and stylistically pleasing.
Kurt Cobain, 1994
Kurt in 1994

So if Kurt Cobain was murdered, who did it and why? In Soaked in Bleach, all roads lead to Courtney Love. Kurt was planning to divorce her and was drafting a new will at that time of his death; the two had signed a prenuptial agreement and Courtney had a lot to lose financially if the couple divorced. She’s portrayed, often through recordings of her own voice, as being highly manipulative and contradictory. In the documentary, she’s all but accused of orchestrating Cobain’s murder, which will surely be a stretch for many, while others will find it impossible to deny the possibility after watching the film. It’s worth noting that Love has yet to file a defamation lawsuit against Statler, nor Grant, who’s been pursuing the case, publicizing his findings—and his interpretations of those findings—for decades. (including his appearance in Nick Broomfield’s Kurt & Courtney documentary of 1998). Her lawyers did send Statler cease and desist letters and recently threatened theatre owners set to screen Soaked in Bleach, but no further action was taken.
Kurt and Courtney
Kurt and Courtney

Though the documentary is one-sided, and Statler doesn’t offer conclusive proof of foul play, what’s presented does raise many questions. One indication that Kurt’s death may have been a homicide is the unusually large amount of heroin found in his bloodstream. In the below clip from Soaked in Bleach, the query is put forth that if Kurt did inject the quantity of heroin that’s been stated (the toxicology report is still sealed by law), how could have he possibly fired that shotgun?

Soaked in Bleach will be released on DVD on August 14th. Watch the trailer and pre-order the disc via MVD or Amazon.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Listen to ‘Montage of Heck,’ Kurt Cobain’s mind-blowing music montage—made years before his fame

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Watch Nirvana sabotage Buenos Aires stadium show, opening with (still) unreleased song, 1992
10:39 am


Kurt Cobain

On October 30th, 1992, Nirvana were booked to play a major show in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They were so big at that point in time that they just about sold-out José Amalfitani Stadium, which can hold nearly fifty thousand people. Prior to their set, Kurt Cobain witnessed the negative reception their hand picked opening act received, and was so incensed that he considered canceling the gig. Nirvana ultimately did perform that night, but they were sloppy and their set-list was more than a little unusual, as they purposely incorporated rare songs from their catalogue that they knew most of the audience wouldn’t be familiar with, including a couple of unreleased numbers. It ended up being one of their oddest shows, and it was all captured on videotape by a professional film crew.

Kurt later shared his memories of the gig:

“When we played Buenos Aires, we brought this all-girl band over from Portland called Calamity Jane,” Kurt recalled. “During their entire set, the whole audience—it was a huge show with like sixty thousand people—was throwing money and everything out of their pockets, mud and rocks, just pelting them. Eventually the girls stormed off crying. It was terrible, one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, such a mass of sexism all at once. Krist, knowing my attitude about things like that, tried to talk me out of at least setting myself on fire or refusing to play. We ended up having fun, laughing at them (the audience). Before every song, I’d play the intro to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and then stop. They didn’t realize that we were protesting against what they’d done. We played for about forty minutes, and most of the songs were off Incesticide, so they didn’t recognize anything. We wound up playing the secret noise song (‘Endless, Nameless’) that’s at the end of Nevermind, and because we were so in a rage and were just so pissed off about this whole situation, that song and whole set were one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.” (from Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects)

Kurt Cobain in Buenos Aires
Kurt in Buenos Aires

If you watch the show (which is embedded below), you’ll realize that Kurt was misremembering or embellishing a bit here and there. While they did unearth a handful of rarities from their odds-n-ends collection Incesticide (which hadn’t been released yet), as well as “All Apologies” (it later turned up on In Utero), they also played most of Nevermind (but not “Teen Spirit,” which they teased before two songs), and a few of the highlights from Bleach. One thing Kurt failed to mention that they most certainly did do to annoy the crowd, was open with a strange, jam-like number that those in attendance had definitely never heard before.

Unavailable on any of Nirvana’s archival releases and believed to have been performed at just this show, the track has come to be known by the most-excellent of titles, “Nobody Knows I’m New Wave”—though there is no documentation available to confirm its validity. The go-to source for Nirvana bootleg info, Live Nirvana, believes it is just a jam, largely due to official biographer Michael Azerrad’s assessment in his book, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana:

“The first thing they played was an improvised jam, which deteriorated into a fifteen minute fest from Kurt, with breaks when he would stop to glare at the crowd.”

The circulating video of the show begins with “Nobody Knows I’m New Wave,” but lasts less than three minutes, so it’s difficult to know what Azerrad is referring to. Does the tape begin twelve-plus minutes after their set started? Or has Azerrad himself embellished or misremembered the event?

Though the majority of the lyrics were probably made up on the spot (including “I promise to shit on your head”; “I’m new wave/I’m old school”) and the racket they’re generating collapses after just a couple of minutes, structurally it does have a chorus, which makes me think it was somewhat worked out beforehand. Either way, this isn’t the sort of track most groups would start a stadium concert with.

In Come As You Are, Azerrad also notes that the band “had hardly practiced, their enthusiasm was low, and they played badly.” Regardless, there are some great moments, like the especially heavy version of “In Bloom” (though Kurt messes up a lot); when Dave Grohl brings a toy drum kit to the front of the stage for “Polly” (and Kurt cracks a smile); the aforementioned catharsis that is “Endless, Nameless”; and the intriguing opener. Is it a song or just a jam to piss-off the Argentineans? You decide.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Listen to ‘Montage of Heck,’ Kurt Cobain’s mind-blowing music montage—made years before his fame

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Kurt Cobain’s suicide note printed on tacky tee shirts
03:29 pm

Stupid or Evil?

Kurt Cobain

I’m probably not alone in this opinion… but making money from a person’s death in the form of a tee shirt seems pretty low to me. Even if that person was a world famous rockstar… it’s still incredibly tacky, IMO.

But someone—based out of Thailand with the name “Nuchyk”—is doing just that by selling tee shirts on eBay with Kurt Cobain’s suicide note in its entirety printed on the front. Apparently this has been done before on Etsy with Cobain’s letter on shirts and baseball caps. Etsy quickly pulled the items from their site due to overwhelming complaints.

You can click here to read Cobain’s final letter.

Via AV Club

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Kurt Cobain and Mark Lanegan’s short-lived Leadbelly tribute band

Before either of their bands achieved major national prominence, Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain were briefly members of a tribute band honoring the great blues artist Leadbelly. The band, called “The Jury,” was ill-documented, but it’s been mentioned in passing in numerous articles, like this one in the old Seattle music mag The Rocket.

That’s also how he [Lanegan] describes the events that led to his two highly-acclaimed solo albums on Sub Pop. He says the solo records came out of some work he was doing with his close friend Kurt Cobain, and that he felt it was pretentious to release a solo album. “It happened because Kurt and I were going to do this thing—with Krist Novoselic and Mark Pickerel—of Leadbelly covers. And that just kind of fell apart. But Pickerel and Jonathan Poneman kind of dreamt up the idea of doing the solo thing. I had some demos that I’d been working on and a bunch of demos I’d done with Kurt, that I never really gave him credit for.”

Those demos were recorded with Skin Yard guitarist Jack Endino, then and still the go-to producer in Seattle for heavy rock, during two sessions in August of 1989.

Easily the best-known expression of Lanegan and Cobain’s Leadbelly fandom was Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged version of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” a/k/a “In the Pines.” If you were breathing, sentient, and reasonably conscious in 1994, you saw the footage of that performance about twelve million times in the months following Cobain’s suicide, but Cobain had previously recorded that song with the Jury, and it was released on Mark Lanegan’s 1990 solo debut, The Winding Sheet. Cobain appears here on guitar, and shares vocals with Lanegan, though it’s Lanegan’s voice that dominates. It’s much more stylized and menacing than Nirvana’s more organic Unplugged take on the song—and one of the doomiest versions of that much-recorded old song there is.

Other recordings of the Jury that have surfaced are an instrumental version of “Grey Goose,” a solo acoustic Cobain performance of “They Hung Him on a Cross,” and a full band version of “Ain’t It a Shame to Go Fishin’ on a Sunday.” They turned up on the completist’s goldmine 2004 Nirvana boxed set With The Lights Out, the last one’s title truncated to “Ain’t it a Shame.” Cobain is out in front on that one. Some Internet sources have it that Lanegan played guitar on this, but as far as I can tell that credit is absent from the release, and I’m unaware of Lanegan playing any instrument. When you have a singing voice like his, who needs to?

Happy 50th birthday to Mark Lanegan! Also, happy birthday and bottomless gratitude to Beth Piwkowski, whose idea this post was.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Cheer up with your very own Mark Lanegan bobblehead
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push ‘In Utero’ anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Listen to ‘Montage of Heck,’ Kurt Cobain’s mind-blowing music montage—made years before his fame
02:04 pm


Kurt Cobain

Nobody better represented the young, angry, art school punk better than Kurt Cobain—a glance at his Journals is enough to convince that his desire to fuck shit up was bone-deep. Fortunately, his tastes for fuckuppery in music were broad and wide—as he put it after Nirvana broke big in 1991/1992,  “All in all, we sound like the Knack and the Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath.” The key there is that Kurt liked all four of the acts he mentioned, on some level—his fondness for ABBA, for instance, is well documented.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Kurt was enamored of putting together diverse mix tapes but, more to the point, unbelievably wacked-out sound collages that went way beyond anything as mundane as a mix tape. If mix tapes get off on juxtaposition, then sound collages are mix tapes on mescaline, with the juxtapositions colliding with each other every which way.

Photo: Krist Novoselić
Kurt assembled “Montage of Heck” around 1988 using a 4-track cassette recorder. It features sounds from Kurt’s wide-ranging collection of LPs, manipulated recordings of the radio, elements of Nirvana demos, and sounds created or recorded by Cobain. The list of artists that Kurt appropriated for “Montage of Heck,” reproduced at the end of this post, is fairly mind-blowing for a 21-year-old punker with (remember) no access to Napster, Spotify, Discogs, or In short, Kurt was the real deal—as if we didn’t already know.

Kurt actually made two versions of “Montage of Heck,” which are quite different, even though they share some audio material. There’s the short mono version, which clocks in at 8 minutes, and the long stereo version, which eats up about 36 minutes. For more technical information on the tracks, definitely check out this informative post over at United Mutilations.

True to Kurt’s insatiable appetite for music, “Montage of Heck” includes snippets (and more) from Frank Zappa, Shocking Blue, Queensrÿche, the Barbarians, William Shatner, and Daniel Johnston, alongside more tried and true classic rock acts like Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, the Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, and Van Halen. But even there, while they’re popular acts, most punks weren’t talking about Cher, Sammy Davis Jr., or the Monkees in 1988.

Just click “play” and let the weirdness take you over......

After the jump, a fascinating list of the source material Kurt used in making “Montage of Heck”.....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Kurt Cobain asks William Burroughs to appear in a Nirvana video
12:37 pm

Pop Culture

William Burroughs
Kurt Cobain

In August 1993, Kurt Cobain wrote William Burroughs to ask if he would appear alongside his band Nirvana in the first video release from their album In Utero. Though Cobain had been in touch with Burroughs before, the pair had not yet met in person. Cobain had previously supplied music for Burroughs’ spoken word disc The “Priest They Called Him.

Interviewer: How did you get on with William Burroughs when you recorded together recently?

Cobain: That was a long distance recording session. [Laughs] We didn’t actually meet.

Interviewer: Did he show a genuine awareness of your music?

Cobain: No, we’ve written to one another and we were supposed to talk the other day on the phone, but I fell asleep — they couldn’t wake me up. I don’t know if he respects my music or anything; maybe he’s been through my lyrics and seen some kind of influence from him or something, I don’t know. I hope he likes my lyrics, but I can’t expect someone from a completely different generation to like rock’n’roll — I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be a rock’n’roll lover, y’know. But he’s taught me a lot of things through his books and interviews that I’m really grateful for. I remember him saying in an interview, “These new rock’n’roll kids should just throw away their guitars and listen to something with real soul, like Leadbelly.” I’d never heard about Leadbelly before so I bought a couple of records, and now he turns out to be my absolute favorite of all time in music. I absolutely love it more than any rock’n’roll I ever heard.

Burroughs was one of Cobain’s idols, and he hoped he could convince the writer to appear in the video for the song “Heart-Shaped Box” as an old man on a cross who is pecked by crows. In his journal, Cobain explained that birds are “reincarnated old men with turrets [sic] syndrome.”

“. . . their true mission. To scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth . . . screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears but sadly we don’t speak bird.”

Burroughs knocked back the offer to appear with Cobain in the promo, though he would later make his final appearance in the U2 promo “Last Night on Earth.”

August 2, 1993

Mr. William Burroughs

Dear William:

It’s a bit odd writing someone whom I’ve never met but with whom I’ve already recorded a record.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to do the record—it’s a great honor to be pictured alongside you on the back cover.  I am writing you now regarding the possibility of your appearing alongside my band (Nirvana) in the first video from our new album, “In Utero.”

While I know Michael Meisel from Gold Mountain Entertainment (my management company) has been speaking to James Grauerholz, I wanted the opportunity to personally let you know why I wanted you to appear in the video.

Most importantly, I wanted you to know that this request is not based on a desire to exploit you in any way.  I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives.  Let me assure you that this is not the case.  As a fan and student of your work, I would cherish the opportunity to work directly with you.  To the extent that you may want to avoid any direct use of your image (thus avoiding the aforementioned link for the press to devour), I would be happy to have my director look into make-up techniques that could conceal your identity.  While I would be proud to have William Burroughs appear as himself in my video, I am more concerned with getting the opportunity to work with you than I am with letting the public know (should that be your wish).

Having said that, let me reiterate how much I would like to make this happen.  While I am comfortable letting Michael and James discuss this further.  I am available to discuss this with you at your convenience.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Best regards,

Kurt Cobain

While on tour with Nirvana in October 1993, Cobain visited Burroughs at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. In Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle, Burroughs recalled the meeting:

“I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.”

Along with his family and his child, Cobain counted meeting William Burroughs as one of the high points of his life.
Below, Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” video. Imagine how extra amazing this video would have been with WSB hanging from that cross!

Previously on Dangerous Minds
When Kurt Cobain met William Burroughs
Via FuckYeahBeatniks!

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Stupid Club’: Thousands gather to grieve for Kurt Cobain in Seattle park, 1994
03:24 pm

Pop Culture

Kurt Cobain

As we near the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death—the Nirvana leader killed himself on April 5, 1994—this morning the Seattle Police Department released two new crime scene photographs that give gruesome glimpses at his final moments.  His body was found on the morning of April 8, 1994 by an electrician named Gary Smith who had been hired to do some maintenance work at Cobain’s Lake Washington home. One photo shows Cobain’s wrist with a hospital ID bracelet, while the other shows his lifeless Converse-clad foot beside a box of bullets:


If you are of a certain age, it’s likely you’ll recall where you were when you heard the news. Thousands of grieving young fans in Seattle felt the need to be together to try to make sense of what had occurred. In “Stupid Club,” this fascinating short documentary from 1994, we meet several of them and it’s pretty interesting stuff, historically, sociologically speaking, whatever. Some of it’s sad, some of it is just goofy.

Worth noting is that the title “Stupid Club” refers to something that Cobain’s mother said in the wake of his suicide:

“Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club, I told him not to join that stupid club.”

Conspiracy theorists at the time—well, at least the ones not claiming that he had been murdered by Courtney Love—speculated that the “stupid club” his mother Wendy was alluding to is the “27 Club” of dead rock stars who never made it to to the age of 28 (Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat’s Alan Wilson) but she was most likely referring to two of Kurt’s uncles, and a great uncle, who had killed themselves.

Thank you kindly, Reginald Harkema!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rock stars with their cats and dogs

Cool pictures of musicians with their pet dogs and cats, which show how even the most self-obsessed, narcissistic Rock god has a smidgen of humanity to care about someone other than themselves. Though admittedly, Iggy Pop looks like he’s about to eat his pet dog.
Patti Smith and stylist.
This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
Bjork and a kissing cousin.
O Superdog: Laurie Anderson and friend.
More cats and dogs and musicians, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nirvana nightmare: Apparently Kurt Cobain is alive and well selling beer in the Netherlands
11:04 am


Kurt Cobain

Here’s a commercial for Bavaria Radler beer where it shows the likes of Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis chilling on a tropical island drinking some cold brewskies.

I’m sure Mr. Cobain—who famously feared being a sell-out—would have just loved this concept. Doubtful that it’ll cause Yoko Ono to yuck it up much either. I smell a lawsuit!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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