Courtney Love Sells Some Nirvana

NirvanaThere is news from Courtney-land at this hour. Courtney Love has sold twenty-five per cent of her share of Nirvana's publishing catalogue to Larry Mestel of Primary Wave Music Publishing. Keep in mind that Courtney owns ninety-eight per cent of Nirvana's publishing rights, so a quarter of that is a lot.

I don't know Mestel, but I hope we can trust him. I suppose anyone is better than Courtney. If "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ends up in a girls deodorant commercial, I know who to blame.

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11 Years Ago Today

NirvanaEleven years ago today I learned Kurt Cobain had killed himself. On the tenth anniversary of his death, I wrote this entry in which I shared the method by which I dealt with this unexpected blow to my idolship. I listened to nothing but Nirvana for weeks and weeks.

I've been using Audioscrobbler to track the tunes I play on my computers for the past eleven months, and that has produced this cool synopsis of the bands and tunes I've listened to the most. On the top of the chart by a pretty decent margin is Nirvana leading The Tragically Hip 1513 to 1133.

The numbers don't lie, I'm more likely to play a tune from Nirvana than any other artist on the planet. It isn't because I'm still grieving eleven years later but because the catalogue of music Kurt left behind is absolutely awesome.

I suspect I'll be subconsciously gravitating towards these tunes in 2016 as well.

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"With the Lights Out" Tracklist

With the Lights Out TracklistWe finally have the tracklist for Nirvana's boxset "With the Lights Out".

There are 81 tracks in total, so I won't list them all here. You can see them on this page if you're a fellow fan.

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With The Lights Out

With The Lights OutAccording to this page, the long awaited Nirvana box set will be called "With The Lights Out" and will include three CDs and a DVD. It will be available November 23, 2004 and will set us back about 59.98 USD. Ouch.

The title, of course, is a lyric from their breakthrough hit and anthem for a generation, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". That song proved to the world that Teen Spirit was much more than a fresh and fun fragrance. "With the lights out it's less dangerous."

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Nirvana Box Set

Nirvana Box SetThe definitive band of my generation, Nirvana, is set to release a three-CD boxed set in November. Limited editions of the project will include a DVD, which boasts footage of the Kurt Cobain-led band playing at a 1987 house party.

We were supposed to get this gift for Christmas 2001, the 10-year anniversary of "Nevermind", but Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic were thwarted by lawsuits from Courtney Love, who objected to their planned use of the previously unreleased track "You Know You're Right" in the set.

I don't have any further details, but when I learn the track listing I'll share the info. Nirvana ranks in my top three bands of all time alongside The Tragically Hip and Pearl Jam. We Nirvana fans need closure. This box set may just give us that.

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Pure Genius

Kurt CobainHe wasn't just good, he was scary good. Over the past week I've spun every Nirvana CD in my collection. I've listened to Bleach, Nevermind, Incesticide, In Utero and MTV Unplugged in New York (Live) several times each. Every note reminded me of how talented a musician Kurt Cobain was and this entry will never be able to do his talent justice.

Perhaps this will. On November 18, 1993, Nirvana performed an acoustic show at Sony Music Studios in New York for MTV. The performance was taped and posthumously released on CD as the aforementioned MTV Unplugged in New York (Live). Everything was done in one take, as live, with absolutely no re-takes. There was minimal rehearsal and not a single run through of the actual play list Kurt would settle on. Kurt was also going through withdrawal and needed periodic hits of valium to keep him from falling to pieces.

Having read the previous three sentences of this entry, spin MTV Unplugged in New York (Live). Even if you don't consider yourself a Nirvana fan or don't give a shit about Kurt Cobain and his death that was reported ten years ago today, give this disc a spin. Hell, if you don't have it or access to it, I will personally hook you up. Contact me for details. I feel that strongly about this.

One take, completely live to tape and an absolutely perfect end result. Pure genius.

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Kurt Cobain

Kurt CobainI intended to write a lengthy piece about Kurt Cobain, his musical genius and his tragic demise ten years ago today, but there has been so much coverage of this in the printed press, on the radio and on television that I decided to spare everyone the details you all know too well. Instead, I'm going to revisit my teenaged self and briefly recount how Kurt's life and death touched my spirit.

When I was a teenager, there was no bigger band on the planet. From the moment I spun Nevermind on my portable Phillips CD player for the first time on the strength of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", a single getting heavy airplay on CFNY, the desires of my ears changed forever. Prior to this, I was a guy listening to Guns 'N Roses, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and other such 80s rock bands. When I needed an edgier fix, I would spin Public Enemy, probably my favourite band at the time. I was desperate for a musical movement to devour me whole, a musical movement that seemed far more organic than the contrived sounds of Warrant, Poison and Skid Row. Nirvana turned me on to a scene that offered me everything I was looking for. The media anointed it grunge.

I was 19 when I first heard that Kurt was dead. I went numb. He had it all. He was a huge rock star with lots of money and a baby girl. There were other options, weren't there? Couldn't he have just quit the business? Was it better to burn out than fade away?

At 27, Kurt Cobain had produced a great deal of genius. I loved Bleach, I loved Nevermind, I loved Incesticide and I loved In Utero. I remember going to Sam the Record Man at Yonge and Dundas the morning In Utero was released. I remember reading the liner notes during class at U of T...I couldn't wait to get home to give it a spin. I had a similar love for the music of Pearl Jam, but Nirvana was #1.

What I remember the most in those days and weeks following Kurt's suicide is listening to nothing but Nirvana. It's how I fed my sorrow. All Nirvana, all the time. Shortly thereafter, Alan Cross did an "Ongoing History of New Music" on Nirvana and Kurt's suicide and I still have that episode on tape. Unplugged in New York and From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah would follow, and both were as awesome as I expected them to be.

It was ten years ago today. The music Kurt Cobain produced during the short career of Nirvana is as relevant to me today as it was then. He was pained, vulnerable, screaming for help. He was ours and I miss him.

I am now 29 years old. That's two years older than Kurt was at the time of his death. I often wonder how he was able to look his daughter in the eyes and still want to end it all. Clearly, he felt his daughter would be better off without him. That, in a nutshell, is the saddest note in his final, tragic song.

Peace, love, empathy.

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11 Greatest Grunge Albums

11 Greatest Grunge AlbumsThe Mercury News out of the Bay Area has listed what they believe to be the 11 greatest grunge albums. I read this list and article with great interest considering the majority of what I listen to was released during the golden era of grunge.

Here is their list.

  1. "Nevermind," Nirvana
  2. "In Utero," Nirvana
  3. "Ten," Pearl Jam
  4. "Dirt," Alice in Chains
  5. "Vs.," Pearl Jam
  6. "Temple of the Dog," Temple of the Dog
  7. "Core," Stone Temple Pilots
  8. "Sweet Oblivion," Screaming Trees
  9. "Singles (Original Soundtrack)," various artists
  10. "Bricks Are Heavy," L7
  11. "Badmotorfinger," Soundgarden

The Mercury News did a great job. Every album on thier list is spun by me on a regular basis except for their selections from Screaming Trees and L7. In fact, if I were to compose my favourite 10 grunge albums, I'd have an eerily similar list. I'm spinning Dirt from Alice in Chains right now and it's a complete coincidence, I swear!

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RomaListening to the Nirvana bootleg classic "Roma" really brings it home. The sound quality is spectacular and the setlist astounding. The show took place in Rome on February 22nd, 1994, the location where weeks later Kurt would attempt suicide. Less than two months later he'd be dead.

Listen to "Serve the Servants". Listen to "Sliver". Listen to "About A Girl". Listen to "Heart Shaped Box". Listen to all 23 songs from this magnificent bootleg. The band sounds great...and then they were no more.

Sometimes I view my Top 10 Bands as listed in HyperLists and wonder who's fooling who? I don't even believe my own list. How can I have Nirvana listed at #3? When 17 year old Mike heard the opening chords to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" back in '91, music as he knew it changed forever. I haven't been able to listen to my Motley Crue or Poison CDs since. I still crave that sound the media labelled as "grunge" constantly I need a daily dose of grunge almost 13 years after the fact. My ears crave it, my mind begs for it and my heart demands it. "Very Ape" from the Roma bootleg is on right now and I'm delighted. It's perfect.

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