Nirvana - Rape Me (Live in Paris, France, 1994)
Watch Nirvana perform ‘Heart-Shaped Box’, ‘Rape Me’, Radio Friendly Unit Shifter’ and a rehearsal of ‘Very Ape’ featuring Kurt Cobain on drums here!
Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic speak on the negative feedback around their In Utero single in 1993.
Listen to ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and ‘Rape Me’ from MTV’s Live and Loud show here!
"Kurt wanted to play the tune “Rape Me” and was adamant about it. The MTV people were upset. We were being asked from all corners not to. I thought we should play something off Nevermind, do the gig, and leave. Easy, right? No. Kurt was very stubborn and refused to play another tune. There was quite a swirl around this issue." - Krist Novoselic.
The Record - Kurt Cobain, uh, talks about the songs on ‘In Utero.’
Serve The Servants: Initially this song was about coming of age during a time where your old enough to support yourself without the aid of your parents. A theme for the twenty somethings, if you will not. I’ve always felt that a person doesn’t necessarily have to force themselves to love their parents simply because of blood. [longer version here.]
Scentless Apprentice: "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind.
Heart-Shaped Box: Camille’s vaginal/flower theory bleeding and spreading into the fabric that Leonardo would have used to improve his hang glider but he died before he could change the course of history. Shit. I Claudius, I play dumb for thee! And Dorothy and Toto. [longer ranted version here.]
Rape Me: How bold shall the print be made?
Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle: The conspirators are still alive and well in their comfortable, warm, safe homes. Gag on her ashes. Jag on her gash. Uh, God is a woman and she’s black in black.
Dumb: All that pot. All that supposedly un-addictive, harmless, safe reefer that damaged my nerves and ruined my memory and made me feel like wanting to blow up the prom. And the patience to play guitar for five hours everyday after school. And to sleep during the day when I should have paid a bit more attention to my studies, especially in English. Far out.
Very Ape: I forget.
Milk It: If you really love me you will send medical supplies. Oh God. he’s awake again, don’t look, just ignore it before he starts to.. Oh shh, he fell asleep again. Thank God. How do you feel? Shh, be quiet.
Pennyroyal Tea: An herbal abortive. It doesn’t work you hippie.
Radio Friendly Unit Shifter: Boy, this will really get the air man’s blood boiling. He’ll be so pissed. Heh Heh. Clever.
Tourette’s: Me as an old man. I have made my conclusion but nobody will listen anymore. Birds. Birds are and always have been the reincarnated old men with tourette’s syndrome. But sadly, we don’t speak bird. The whales respond with their message for us in similar ways by beaching themselves.
All Apologies: Nothing has or will. Nothing could or should. Alternateens ignoring the Budweiser sponser banner behind the loyalist acts. An excuse to get laid. Jimmy Carter was and still is an extremely loving and sensible man. But when I was a kid, I only remember that he liked peanuts and had big lips.
This album is dedicated to dead relatives.
They are safe, warm and full of happy smiles.
"It’s an anti, let me repeat that, anti-rape song. I got tired of people trying to put too much meaning into the lyrics. I decided to be really blunt and bold." - Kurt Cobain on the song “Rape Me.”
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.”
"Basically, I was trying to write a song that supported women and dealt with the issue of rape. Over the last few years, people have had such a hard time understanding what our message is, what we’re trying to convey, that I just decided to be as bold as possible. How hard should I stamp this point? How big should I make the letters. It’s not a pretty image. But a woman who is being raped, who is infuriated with the situation … It’s like "Go ahead, rape me, just go for it, because you’re gonna get it." I’m a firm believer in karma, and that motherfucker is going to get what he deserves, eventually. That man will be caught, he’ll go to jail, and he’ll be raped. "So rape me, do it, get it over with. Because you’re gonna get it worse." - Kurt Cobain on the song “Rape Me”, 1993.
6/18/91 - Nirvana performing ” Rape Me ” for the first time live at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA. Krist and Dave were taken by surprise when Kurt launched into the song. They were still talking about it after the show, saying, “What the fuck? We don’t even know that song!”
January, 1994 - Kurt comes to an agreement with Geffen and changes the title of the track "Rape Me" to ‘Waif Me’ after ‘Wal-Mart’ and ‘K-Mart’ had banned the album in their stores, deeming it to be offensive.
"I understand that point of view, and I’ve heard it a lot. I’ve gone back and forth between regretting it and trying to defend myself. Basically, I was trying to write a song that supported women and dealt with the issue of rape. Over the last few years, people have had such a hard time understanding what our message is, what we’re trying to convey, that I just decided to be as bold as possible. How hard should I stamp this point? How big should I make the letters?
It’s not a pretty image. But a woman who is being raped, who is infuriated with the situation … it’s like “Go ahead, rape me, just go for it, because you’re gonna get it.” i’m a firm believer in karma, and that motherfucker is going to get what he deserves, eventually. That man will be caught, he’ll go to jail, and he’ll be raped. “So rape me, do it, get it over with. Because you’re gonna get it worse.” - Kurt Cobain.
December, 1993 - The 'All Apologies/Rape Me' split-single is released. United Kingdom censors the title of the song 'Moist Vagina' to 'MV'.