Liz Evans
Kurt Cobain
Publisher Title Transcript
Raw Nirvana Yes

EMERGING ON the saw-toothed wave of Seattle's Sub Pop label, Nirvana landed like a slab of Stonehenge rock thrust unceremoniously onto a world full of Top Of The Pops fans. But they weren't always that way… they used to be called Skid Row… but opted to change their name after some other combo turned up with the same name. In the process, they sliced through the flabby middle of Stateside Rock 'n' Roll making a sound as euphoric as their newly adopted name. They surpassed the wacky goofiness of labelmates Mudhoney and the bludgeoning riffola of Tad, with their humourless intensity played out on highly-accessible songs. Nirvana pushed the Pop element to an unnatural brink and drowned it with psychopathic guitars.

With a newly-consolidated line-up, following drummer Chad Channing's departure in May and the arrival of new (ex-Scream) boy Dave Grohl, plus some savage new material (including the forthcoming single 'Sliver'), Nirvana have outgrown the Grunge tag and moved beyond mere Garage noise.

"It looks like it's gonna be pretty easy to find a big deal, we've just got to try to keep from being fucked," says vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Kurdt Kobain, his smudged eyeliner looking bizarre next to his scruffy checked shirt and bedraggled hair.

Nirvana are on the brink of bigger things and, having already proved their ability with a recent UK visit and a set of demos that has a batch of UK labels foaming at the chequebook, the next problem is simply how to market them. The trio have a peculiar individuality, their subject matter in their songs is sinister in its simplicity.

"It's a hard problem," agrees Kurdt. "Because we feel that we're diverse and accessible enough to try to infiltrate into more than just one market. We feel we can appeal to more than just the Metal or the Alternative Rock market. We want to try to be mainstream, too. We want to reach the Top 40. Even if the whole of the next album can't get across to that type of audience there's at least a hit single or two in there.

"Our next album is going to be so diverse that we really have no choice but to cross over. We can't be classified into this simple heavy Grunge Rock category anymore. We've moved a long way on from there."

With eight majors in the US also vying for their talents—and a veritable sackful of quality songs set to be unleashed when they do make the great multi-dollar handshake—Nirvana will have to start watching their step. For now the oddball fusion of powerchords and succinctly-phrased verbal charm will have you eating out of their hands.

© Liz Evans, 1990