9/9/92 - MTV Video Music Awards, Los Angeles, CA.
“We didn’t wanna play “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” So we came into the rehearsals, we were gonna play two new songs [Rape Me & Tourette’s] that fit into the four minute, twenty second slot. So we practiced those and the Stage Manager said “Oh, OK, as long as it fits.” Then we get a call the next day, MTV says we cannot play unless we play “Smells Like Teen Spirit”… Then they told us that we could get on the show if we played “Lithium” later on in the set. They totally rearranged the whole show.” - Dave Grohl.
During the performance, against MTV’s wishes, Kurt started to play “Rape Me,” but stopped and went right into “Lithium.”
“I’d like to thank my family and our record label and our true fans and.. You know it’s really hard to believe everything you read. Thanks.” - Kurt Cobain.
“We were asked to play on the MTV Music Awards. We were supposed to be the first band on. They wanted us to play Smells Like Teen Spirit. So we come to the rehearsals and we have these two new songs. A song called Rape Me and a song that doesn’t have a name yet. So we go up and we rehearse that. We had a 4 minute and 20 second slot. And all the stage managers and everyone said “Oh you’re not gonna do Teen Spirit.” “No, we’re going to do these two new songs.” “Well, do they fit in the four minute, 20 second slot?” “Yea.” “Okay fine.” Next day we get a call from MTV saying “Look, if you don’t play Smells Like Teen Spirit you’re not going to be on our awards ceremony.” So we said, “fine, fuck you, keep your awards ceremony.” So then they offered, “look, if you want to be on the show you can play Lithium later in the set.” So, we thought, “okay, cool, we’ll tell ‘em we’ll play Lithium, and we’ll go up there and we’ll do the two new songs and say ‘MTV go to Hell’ or whatever… So we went out and started into that song Rape Me. Just to get some little palpitation going in Mr. Big Cigar. We should have fucking done the whole thing. For me personal, I fucking hate MTV. I hate it. I really hate it so much because it’s, you know. “Video Killed the Radio Star.” It’s true. It’s so true. Like last night we’re smashing up equipment cause all these people see our Lithium video, which is pretty much a compilation of all these shows in the past where we have destroyed our equipment or jumped around and dove into drum sets or whatever. People expect us to destroy everything at the end of the show. Last night was like “give them what they want and destroy the equipment.” - Dave Grohl.