Saturday Boxing - NirvanaWith this post, I think I’ve exhausted my box set collection and am coming to the end of the “Saturday Boxing” series. I say, “I think” because the way things are (un)organized around Apt. 104, I may have another box or two I forgot about somewhere. In the event this is the actual end, I have some two-disk sets with rarities and B-sides and things, and I’ll probably dig into those to keep my Saturdays occupied.
When I went to pull the music from With the Lights Out , the excellent Nirvana box, it sort of took me aback that their earliest recordings come from 20 years ago. It sure doesn’t seem like that long. This set came out in 2004, after a lot of wrangling between the surviving band members and Courtney Love.
Nirvana’s history has been more than well documented, so I don’t need to add to the clutter. I’m just going to post the music and the notes from the box’s booklet. There are also a couple of corrections noted on the With the Lights Out Wiki page. I’ll drop those in where appropriate.
Heartbreaker (Led Zeppelin cover).mp3
Recorded March 1987 at a house party in Raymond, Wash. Drums: Aaron Burckhard
“I don’t know whose house it was. We were just snotty and jumped around. We rocked, though,” – Krist
Help Me I’m Hungry.mp3
Recorded April 17, 1987, for KAOS Radio (Olympia, Wash). Drums: Aaron Burckhard
From Wiki: “The proper name for this song is believed to be ‘Vendetagainst.’ The former title may have been invented by bootleggers.”
Floyd the Barber (live).mp3
Recorded Jan. 23, 1988, at The Community World Theatre (Tacoma, Wash.). Drums: Dale Crover
The band was billed as “Ted, Ed, Fred” for this performance.
Ain’t It A Shame (Leadbelly cover).mp3
Recorded July 1989 for “The Jury” sessions at Reciprocal Studios (Seattle, Wash).
“Kurt and (Mark) Lanegan (of the Screaming Trees) told me they were going to write some songs together. But when they showed up they said, ‘Well, we tried writing some songs, but we didn’t record them and we forgot ‘em all. So we were going to some Leadbelly songs instead.’ It was just an off-the-cuff session. At the end I said, ‘I’ve got to write something on the reel, what do I call it?’ And someone said, ‘Call it the Jury!’ And they all laughed.” – Jack Endino
Recorded Sept. 25, 1990, for KAOS Radio (Olympia, Wash.).
Recorded Jan. 1, 1991, at Music Source Studios (Seattle, Wash.).
“They had been playing ‘Aneurysm’ live a lot, and it was really huge with the tom fills and the vocals coming in and the way the guitar goes from clean to dirty. What I was trying to get was the huge-osity of a live show. Kurt’s ability to scream like that was always otherworldly to me.” – Craig Montgomery
Oh, the Guilt.mp3
Recorded April 7, 1992, at Laundry Room Studios (Seattle, Wash.). Released on the Nirvana/Jesus Lizard split single.
“We got to the point where we could just crank out songs. Kurt would be improvising, and we were so good at playing we’d just pick up the song; the second time we’d play the song we’d record it. That’s what happened with all those B-sides we did at the Laundry Room.” – Kris
“They told me about the quick-and-dirty Laundry Room sessions; those had reminded them of what they liked about being in a band. They said they wanted to do sessions that were like that in spontaneity, but with better sound quality.” – Steve Albini
From Wiki: “This re-released version omits the sound of lighter clicks present on the original mix.”
Rape Me (acoustic).mp3
Home demo – recorded in 1992
The Other Improv.mp3
Recorded Jan. 1993 at BMG Ariola Studios (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
From Wiki: “Originally, ‘The Other Improv’ was to be included on Nirvana's third studio album In Utero. The song was dropped from the track list and was unheard of until its original demo form was released on the box set. The line ‘My milk is her shit’ is also found in ‘Milk It.’”
You Know You’re Right (acoustic).mp3
The booklet says this version was recorded in 1994, which I think is an error. More likely correct is this information from Wiki: “The earliest known studio version of the song was recorded on Jan. 1, 1991 by Craig Montgomery in Seattle, Wash. The song's lyrics and arrangement were refined several times over the next two years, with no two pre-In Utero live renditions sounding alike. The earliest versions of the song, including the 1991 studio version, even feature an additional verse and chorus.”