Director Brett Morgen’s long-gestating documentary on Kurt Cobain has found a home at HBO.
It is the first documentary to be made with the cooperation of Cobain’s family and will include never-before-seen home movies, recordings, artwork and photography, plus material from his personal archives, family archives and songbooks. The film features dozens of Nirvana songs and performances as well as previously unheard Cobain originals. Cobain committed suicide 20 years ago at the age of 27.
Cobain’s daughter with Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain, is an executive producer with Larry Mestel and David Byrnes.
Pitchfork: Did it make sense to you that Lorde and St. Vincent were there singing in Nirvana?
CL: Not at first. Initially, I thought it was sexist, and a little bit ghettoizing. But then I was like, “No, Kurt would have loved this.” And there’s reality to it. Apparently, no high profile dudes wanted to do it. It’s interesting, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t know where Lorde is going. I like the St. Vincent girl a lot—I looked at some of her YouTubes and I like her look, her attitude, her whole thing. She was pretty cool, especially for being as nervous as she probably was. But I am telling you—the Kim Gordon moment was so punk. Kim gave the punkest performance, the one that Kurt would’ve approved of the most. It was the punkest thing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has ever seen. I was really proud of that.
She came out wearing a striped mini-dress and did this total panty-roll on the floor. She rocked it. It was totally flat. I swear to god, I was watching [Rolling Stone and Rock Hall founder] Jann Wenner’s table, and their jaws were on the floor, because everything had been so in-tune all night. [laughs] It was truly a celebration of the spirit of what was subversive about In Utero and [Steve] Albini, and what remains punk about Nirvana. Me and Kim, we’re not BFFs, but I was getting my hair done recently, and my hairdresser said, “Kim Gordon was asking how you were, she said to tell you hi.” I was like, “Really? We don’t really talk, but tell her hi.” So we’ve kind of made peace through our hairdresser.
I went to the afterparty and, at that point, I was emotionally drained. There were people in the room who have stolen vast amounts of money from me. I couldn’t have given a shit; I just let it go. Grohl said something good while skirting around the issue of us slamming each other for 20 years: It was just our way of dealing with the carnage we had to deal with. Someone suggested we go into the press room and hug it out, but I was like, “What? Nooo.” We hugged privately. We didn’t whore it out. It was genuine. I had this long speech, which I worked my ass off on, and then I saw it on the teleprompter, and was just like, “Don’t even bother, just get this over with and bury the hatchet.” It wasn’t going to make great television, in terms of oration. I’m not getting a TED Talk because of a Hall of Fame speech, trust me.
Nirvana were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and along with Courtney Love and Dave Grohl sharing a stage, Michael Stipe did the induction speech.
Michael Stipe: Good evening. I’m Michael Stipe and I’m here to induct Nirvana into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
When an artists offers an idea, a perspective, it helps us all to see who we are. And it wakes up, and it pushes us forward towards our collective and individual potential. It makes us — each of us — able to see who we are more clearly. It’s progression and progressive movement. It’s the future staring us down in the present and saying, “C’mon, let’s get on with it. Here we are. Now.”
I embrace the use of the word “artist” rather than “musician” because the band Nirvana were artists in every sense of the word. It is the highest calling for an artist, as well as the greatest possible privilege to capture a moment, to find the zeitgeist, to expose our struggles, our aspirations, our desires. To embrace and define a period of time. That is my definition of an artist.
Nirvana captured lightning in a bottle. And now, per the dictionary — off the Internet — in defining “lightning in a bottle” as, “Capturing something powerful and elusive, and then being able to hold it and show it to the world.”
Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl were Nirvana. The legacy and the power of their defining moment has become, for us, indelible. Like my band, R.E.M., Nirvana came from a most unlikely place. Not a cultural city-center like London, San Francisco, Los Angeles or even New York — or Brooklyn — but from Aberdeen, Washington in the Pacific Northwest, a largely blue-collar town just outside of Seattle.
Krist Novoselic said Nirvana came out of the American hardcore scene of the 1980s — this was a true underground. It was punk rock, where the many bands or musical styles were eclectic. We were a product of a community of youth looking for a connection away from the mainstream. The community built structures outside of the corporate, governmental sphere, independent and decentralized. Media connected through the copy machine, a decade before the Internet, as we know it, came to be. This was social networking in the face.
Dave Grohl said, “We were drop-outs, making minimum wage, listening to vinyl, emulating our heroes — Ian MacKaye, Little Richard — getting high, sleeping in vans, never expecting the world to notice.”
Solo artists almost have it easier than bands — bands are not easy. You find yourself in a group of people who rub each other the wrong way and exactly the right way. And you have chemistry, zeitgeist, lightning in a bottle and a collective voice to help pinpoint a moment, to help understand what it is that we’re going through. You see this is about community and pushing ourselves. Nirvana tapped into a voice that was yearning to be heard.
Keep in mind the times: This was the late Eighties, early Nineties. America, the idea of a hopeful, democratic country, had been practically dismantled by Iran-Contra, by AIDS, by the Reagan/Bush Sr. administrations.
But with their music, their attitude, their voice, by acknowledging the political machinations of petty but broad-reaching, political arguments, movements and positions that had held us culturally back, Nirvana blasted through all that with crystalline, nuclear rage and fury. Nirvana were kicking against the system, bringing complete disdain for the music industry and their definition of corporate, mainstream America, to show a sweet and beautiful — but fed-up — fury, coupled with howling vulnerability.
Lyrically exposing our frailty, our frustrations, our shortcomings. Singing of retreat and acceptance over triumphs of an outsider community with such immense possibility, stymied or ignored, but not held down or held back by the stupidity and political pettiness of the times. They spoke truth, and a lot of people listened.
They picked up the mantle in that particular battle, but they were singular, and loud, and melodic, and deeply original. And that voice. That voice. Kurt, we miss you. I miss you.
Nirvana defined a moment, a movement for outsiders: for the fags; for the fat girls; for the broken toys; the shy nerds; the Goth kids from Tennessee and Kentucky; for the rockers and the awkward; for the fed-up; the too-smart kids and the bullied. We were a community, a generation — in Nirvana’s case, several generations — in the echo chamber of that collective howl, and Allen Ginsberg would have been very proud, here.
That moment and that voice reverberated into music and film, politics, a worldview, poetry, fashion, art, spiritualism, the beginning of the Internet and so many fields in so many ways in our lives. This is not just pop music — this is something much greater than that.
These are a few artists who rub each other the wrong way, and exactly the right way, at the right time: Nirvana. It is my honor to call to the stage Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.
Dave Grohl: Thank you very much.
I was the quiet one in Nirvana. I was the drummer. But most of you don’t know that I was the fifth drummer of Nirvana. For whatever reason, I got to be the luckiest person in the world and also be in Nirvana.
But I have to give credit to all of the other drummers that came before me: Aaron Burckhard, thank you very much. Dale Crover, from the Melvins, who is my absolute drumming hero. Chad Channing, who was the drummer for Nirvana. Chad, where are you? I know that you’re here somewhere. Isn’t Chad here somewhere? Chad’s around here, isn’t he? [points at camera] Are you over there? Hey, Chad! So, here’s the thing — guess what Chad’s responsible for? If you listen to a song like “In Bloom” [imitates opening of “In Bloom”], that’s Chad. When I joined the band, I had the honor of playing Chad’s parts, so Chad, thank you very much for allowing me to play your drum parts; I appreciate that very, very much. Dan Peters, from Mudhoney, who got to play one show with Nirvana — thank you, Danny.
But there’s a lot of people that made this possible, people that you might not know, people that I grew up with in Springfield, Virginia. Like Michael said … [reacts to people from Springfield] Really? You could afford the train?
We came from this underground punk rock scene where there really were no awards or ceremonies or trophies — it was all about doing it for real, and the reward was doing it right and doing it for real and sharing the community of music. Helping other musicians and inspiring people. And so I got really lucky to grow up in the Washington D.C. punk rock scene where I was inspired by all these amazing people; too many to list. But everyone from Chris Page to Ralph to Dave Smith to Reuben Radding to Peter Stahl and Franz Stahl and Skeeter Thompson; all the people that I ever played music with — Barrett Jones — I have to thank all of you because I wouldn’t be here.
I’m also lucky that when we first started out, we didn’t know anything about business — we were in a fucking van, buying corn dogs from t-shirts that we had sold. We were lucky that we found a manager named John Silva and we met an accountant named Lee Johnson. And I’m happy to say that I’ve never, ever strayed from those two people in my life. It’s been 25 years! I mean, it’s a long list of people and I’m going to forget most of them.
Most of all, I have to thank my family because I was lucky enough to grow up in a musical family and in an environment that encouraged music. Parents that never told me not to listen to fucking Slayer, you know what I mean? I listened to some really, really fucked-up shit! But my parents never told me not to, because I was finding myself. So Mom — thanks. Thanks for letting me drop out of high school [laughs, points at trophy]. Kids, stay in school, don’t do drugs — it’s a bad idea.
I have to thank my beautiful wife, Jordyn, and my two daughters, who I hope grow up to inspire people just like every musician I grew up inspired by. Because I think that’s the deal — you look up to your heroes and you shouldn’t be intimidated by them; you should be inspired by them. Don’t look up at the poster on your wall and think, “Fuck, I can never do that.” Look at the poster on your wall and think, “Fuck, I’m going to do that!”
Dave Grohl and Courtney Love hug at the 29th Annual Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Krist Novoselic: Thank you Michael, for that great introduction, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I want to thank all of the Nirvana fans: Nirvana fans walk up to me every day and say, “Thank you for the music.” And when I hear that, it reminds me of Kurt Cobain.
I want to say thank you to Kurt Cobain, and I wish Kurt was here tonight, OK? And that music means so much to so many people, and there’s new generations and new fans coming up, and it’s really powerful. Kurt was an intense artist and he really connected with a lot of people.
With Nirvana, we started in Aberdeen, Washington — in Washington state — and we had a infrastructure there to support us. It was a music community. I want to thank Sub Pop Records; the music community in Seattle, in Washington State. I want to thank Buzz Osborne — thank you, Buzz, for joining us in punk rock music. I want to thank Jack Endino, who recorded our first record. Steve Albini and Butch Vig. Thank you Susan Silver for introducing us to the music industry properly. And thank you all again.
Wendy Cobain: I’m probably going to cry. I’m already crying because he’d be so proud — he’d say he wasn’t — but he would be. I just miss him so much. He was such an angel. Thank you.
Courtney Love: You know, I have a big speech, but I’m not gonna say it. This is my family I’m looking at right now — all of you. Brother Michael, Brother Krist, Grandma Wendy, Mr. Grohl. David!
And that’s it. I just wish that Kurt was here to feel this and be this. Twenty years ago, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame maybe wasn’t — but tonight, he would have really appreciated it. He would’ve appreciated Krist and Dave and Michael and his mother and his sisters being here. And I just want to give this to Francis, our daughter, who’s not here because she’s ill. That’s it —that’s all I have to say. Thank you so very much.
Courtney Love has big plans for Kurt Cobain’s legacy – if she can make them happen. The Nirvana frontman’s widow recently said that she hopes to make a biopic, documentary and musical about him. The latter production, she told NME, is “very likely” to happen. Moreover, it’s something she and her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, are hopeful could be done well.
“After being swarmed by tons of Nirvana fan mail and social-media posts pushing for a musical to become a reality, both Frances and I have thought long and hard and agreed that if we can reach up to the highest shelf and select a team of the greatest and most respected writers, producers and directors, then a Broadway musical is very likely to happen,” she said.
But for it to happen, she wants it to be done in a unique and deferential way. “There would have to be a story, and a great story, one that hasn’t been told before,” Love said. “I would devote countless hours with an A-team to create a project that reflects Kurt in the most respectful but honest way possible, so that his story, his music and his legacy can be resurrected on stage for not only the world to see, but more importantly for our daughter to see. I know her father’s spirit will be on that stage, and sitting in that theater with her will be the most emotional experience of our lives.”
Jay-Z’s new album Magna Carta Holy Grail, out July 4, will be in a million Samsung Galaxy phones, as the electronics giant has paid Hov $5 million upfront for the exclusive. Over the weekend Jay released the album’s track list by handing out binders in Brooklyn (see video above). The bonus track “Holy Grail,” which features Justin Timberlake and uses lyrics from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” You can read the lyrics below.
Courtney Love has gone from Hole to Hova. The singer told Huffington Post she gave Jay-Z approval to quote lyrics from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on his upcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. She explained that while the rapper’s camp used the lyrics first and asked for permission later, “which is kind of nervy, the business side is taken care of so it’s fine.” She also said this: “Jay-Z’s huge and we’re friends. I mean we’re not besties or anything…”
You’re touring now — are you going to be playing some of the new material?
No. I’m not. I can’t. I don’t want it to leak. And my book’s coming out at Christmas, too, so it just makes the most sense [to release the album then]. [The book] is coming out on Harper Collins, and they’re really determined to give it a huge push. I actually have a huge writing session with them in about 20 minutes. And it’ll be out by Christmas the way they’re pushing me… It’s like, today we’re going to deal with my emancipation, tomorrow we’re going to deal with this funeral, and the next funeral, and the next funeral, and tomorrow we’re gonna deal with Frances, and today with Michael Stipe. And today fashion. Fashion stuff is fun. I did that yesterday.
It’s an autobiography, then?
It’s a memoir. It’s not salacious in the sense of… if you look at my Wiki it looks like I’ve had sex twice. I’m trying to keep that myth going. You know, my stuff with other people — that thing — is really nobody’s business. I made that really clear with Harper Collins from the beginning, that there was going to be no malarkey, no name-dropping like that. I mean, it’s super important to keep my private life discreet — the few times that’s been breached, it’s never been a good thing. Edward Norton and I dated [but] you never saw us on a red carpet together. Other than personal snapshots there’s very few photos of us together. It’s not public, and I like it like that.
Continue reading the rest of the story on Flavorwire
Beautiful women who fall apart serve a necessary cultural purpose: they’re a warning against over-indulgence and narcissism. They also attract the peddlers of celebrity gossip in a way that few other stories do.
Today, it’s Amanda Bynes. In recent memory it’s been Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paula Abdul, Anna Nicole Smith and Courtney Love. The storyline is more or less the same every time: a celebrity whose career is ebbing does something erratic; the media takes notice; the celebrity realizes the media notices and the erratic behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, often involving social media; at some point the celebrity does something illegal or at least quite alarming and the police become involved; rubber-neckers look on and murmur concern while buying Us Weekly to get the latest.
While we’re transfixed, women are especially punished for appearing to go off the deep end. Men who behave like raging narcissists and actually get violent, on the other hand, are routinely enabled and placated. Take Charlie Sheen as the most obvious example: he attacked a couple of women and went on TV ranting about tiger blood, all while maintaining his role on a popular (if astoundingly bad) television show. His behavior, though violent and abusive, was laughed off as “antics”.
Courtney Love has revealed that she recently put an ad on internet listings site Craigslist looking for musicians to work with and received only one response.
The former Hole frontwoman explained: “I put an ad on Craigslist that said, ‘Band in the style of Hole looking for bassist in the style of Melissa Auf der Maur.’ I got exactly one response. There’s just not a lot of chick bass players.”
Speaking to Bust magazine, Love explained she would be releasing her new music under her own name, rather than as Hole, like she did with her 2010 album, ‘Nobody’s Daughter’. She said: “My name symbolizes a lot of things, and I have to sit in these rooms with lawyers and be called a ‘brand’ often, so I was just like, ‘Fucking name it after me!’ I don’t care.”