Today in 1991, Nirvana performed at Studio C (Top Of The Pops) in the United Kingdom. Artist performing on the show were required to sing live with a backing track. The band seized the opportunity to make a mockery of their performance: Cobain supplementing a wayward vocal by fellating his microphone, Novoselic and Grohl dancing around, not even pretending to play their instruments. The show’s producers were not amused, afterwards they asked Kurt if they could redo their performance, Kurt’s response: “No, I’m quite happy with that, thank you…”
Today in 1989, Nirvana had their first European show in Riverside, Newcastle. Someone in the audience threw a beer bottle, which hit Krist on the side of his head. After being hit with a flying beer bottle by a kind fan, & frustration from a broken amp, Novoselic slams his bass down and breaks the neck. The snapped-off neck went right through one of the speakers in Kurt’s rented Twin Reverb amp.
Cobain: “These next two songs are written by a band called the Vaselines, we get to play with them pretty soon, in a few days in Edinbrugh, Edinbrow, however the fuck you pronounce it!” Fan: “Edinbrough” Cobain: “Edingbrough, Edinbrough!” Fan: “We love you!” Grohl: “Thank you!”
Today in 1991, Nirvana had a session at the BBC Maida Vale Studios in London, UK.
The band only performed “Dumb, Drain You, & Endless, Nameless” - producer Dale Griffin recalls this final Peel session:
“Dave and Krist were in another world. They looked drained, zombified, tired beyond all help. But Kurt looked far, far worse. I made a bee-line for him. I had worried after session two about how would cope with “The Big Time” and he looked to me like something about “The Big Time” wasn’t agreeing with him. I stood two inches from his his face and spoke to him, but his eyes didn’t see me, nor did his ears hear me. He hadn’t a clue who the hell I was. We decided to let the guys rest, whilst their crew assembled their equipment and Fred (who is a woman) and Mike set up mics and inserted cables and plugged-up compressors, limiters, effects units, reverb, delays, repeats… “fairy dust” as it’s called in the trade. Kurt fell asleep on the big couch at the back of the recording console.
We were well off schedule, but I was prepared to let that go. Better we get something on tape in due course, than stick to the strict rules and risk getting nothing. We’d had two trouble-free sessions—so the guys were “in credit”! Meanwhile, Dave and Krist got themselves up and running and “Fred” showed them up to the BBC canteen for food and the inevitable cup of tea which solves all things. Kurt slept on. I’d been pondering that problem for some while, when I noticed that, at the back of the control room, Kurt was beginning to stir and blink and groan… showing decided signs of movement and consciousness. So I decided that an avuncular chat with him was in order. Dave and Krist had returned, looking rather the better for food and drink and were getting their drum and bass set-ups working—loudly.
For a start, Kurt obviously had no idea who the old fart talking to him could possibly be—so I brought up our previous sessions/meetings—but to no avail. The look of him—his eyes, his pallor, his lack of focus worried me greatly, since it reminded me so keenly and, in retrospect, so poignantly, of the later days of Paul Kossoff’s life [lead-guitarist with ’60s British rock band, Free]; It was a hateful thing to see a young man like Koss wishing his life away on the dross of drugs. I hated to think that the same thing was happening to this likeable and highly talented young American, who was standing so unsteadily just inches from my gaze. I started to ask him whether he felt able to attempt the session today. “Sure, why not!” was his swift reply, though his words were not backed-up by his body’s language, like his legs uncertain ability to hold him up for any great period of time. The more we spoke, the more concerned I became that it wasn’t fatigue alone that had rendered Kurt almost helpless.
With the best will in the world, the set they played was not their finest hour, but I admired the way they did what they had come to MV5 to do, and they didn’t complain about their lot the whole of the time they were in the studio.”