Courtney on Unheard Cobain Songs

By | May 15, 2002 at 12:00 AM

“I have a buttload of material,” says Courtney Love of the archive of unreleased material by Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. “I have the holy grail of rock & roll. That’s the story.” There are 109 tapes. “But not all of it’s great. Some of it’s fragments.” She thinks there are between five and eight “solidly good,” unheard acoustic songs. “There’s some stuff that’s not very melodic that I’m not fond of, but, hey, if you’re a fan of [Radiohead’s] Kid A, it might be really great. “On those tapes,” Love continues, “are everything from shitty collages to some pretty stunning, awe-inspiring acoustic songs to stupid, fucked-up shit. The songs began at our home, usually in a closet or in his room, and I have everything from stuff you’ve already heard in demo form to gasp-out-loud acoustic songs to things he’s playing with Patty [Schemel, Hole’s drummer] and Eric [Erlandson, Hole’s guitarist] to things he’s playing with the fucking heroin dealer to collages.”

“Things he’s playing with the fucking heroin dealer” refers to tapes recorded when Cobain would take his four-track and go score dope with a musician friend. He’d check into a motel room next to the dealer’s room, do dope and record with the friend and the dealer. “It’s really good,” Love comments. “Pretty much, Kurt was not a loser when it came to songwriting, you know.”

Online, Love has mentioned three songs by name: “The Son” (“magical”), “Opinions” (“funny and sad”) and “Ivy League” (“sick”). Love also mentions to me a song she and Cobain wrote together called “Stinking of You,” the same night he wrote the Hole B side “20 Years in the Dakota.” “It’s really cute and Breeder-y,” she says. She sings some of it to me, humming the riff in between the lyrics: “I’m stinking of you… I don’t care if my life is shattered, it’s my point of view…” She says she wrote the “stinking of you” bit (“that dumb little line”) and he wrote the “life is shattered” verses (“the more sophisticated, better part”).

Among the material that Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic planned to put on the Nirvana box set, aside from “You Know You’re Right,” was, according to Novoselic, material from: “KAOS radio, 1987, BBC Peel sessions, studio outtakes, sessions that we did in North Seattle, Rio de Janeiro, In Utero outtakes, live stuff.” He specifically mentions the “Butch Vig raw mix of ‘Teen Spirit,’ a rough mix that’s really different.” He adds, “You are going to have the people that were into Nevermind but never bought Bleach, and they are going to hear shit that sounds like Scratch Acid, shit that sounds like the Butthole Surfers; they are going to hear crazy fucking Flipper punk rock, and that’s what excites me, because I got turned on to that shit when I was a kid and it changed my life.” He and Grohl also say that they planned to include various jams on the box set.

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