LIVE NIRVANA SESSIONS HISTORY (Fecal Matter) Easter, 1986 - Music room, Earl residence, Burien, WA, US

  • Fecal Matter
    • Cobain, Kurt (vocals, guitar)
    • Crover, Dale (drums, bass)
  • [U] Sound Of Dentage
  • [U] Bambi Slaughter
  • [U] Made Not Born
  • [U] Unknown #1
  • [U] Unknown #2
  • [U] Unknown #3
  • [U] Unknown #4
  • [U] Unknown #5
  • [O] Spank Thru
  • [U] Unknown #6
  • [U] Class Of '86
  • [U] Unknown #7
  • [U] Downer
  • [?] others?

The titles Laminated Effect and Blathers Log are thought to apply to some of the compositions listed above, though it is not yet clear which.

  • Audio: ¼-inch 4-track analog magnetic tape (session tape)
Source ID Quality Complete Runtime Lowest Gen Tracks Featured Notes
SBD #1 9.0 0:47:11 TBC>FLAC • Sound Of Dentage
• Bambi Slaughter
• Made Not Born
• Unknown #1
• Unknown #2
• Unknown #3
• Unknown #4
• Unknown #5
• Spank Thru
• Unknown #6
• Class Of '86
• Unknown #7
• Downer
SBD #2 9.0 0:01:40 TBC>FLAC • Unknown #3 Alternative mix. This mix is without bass or vocals.

Following the departure of Greg Hokanson, Fecal Matter continued to rehearse as a two-piece. During Easter Break 1986, (1) Kurt Cobain and Dale Crover journeyed up to Burien, to the home of Cobain's aunt Mari Earl, to cut a demo on her 4-track TEAC A-2340 deck. (2)

He arrived with a huge notebook full of lyrics, recalls Earl. I showed him how to adjust a few things, how to record with the reel-to-reel, and he went right at it. (3)

The drums were strong and forceful, Earl remembers. The guitar riffs were fast and furious, with a powerful hook. The lyrical content was rebellious and angry. Mostly slams against society in general. Kurt didn't like the social ladder in school. Kids thinking they were cool because they wore the right clothes or were handsome or pretty, or had money. His songs back then reflected his opinions about these things. (4)

Early versions of Spank Thru and Downer were tracked, as well as Sound Of Dentage, Bambi Slaughter, and a slew of untitled songs. Upon returning to Aberdeen, Cobain used the Shillingers' tape deck to dub off copies. (3) He named the demo Illiteracy Will Prevail.

Fecal Matter continued to rehearse for a while, albeit with an altered line-up—Buzz Osborne assuming bass duties and Mike Dillard drums—but the project quickly dissolved. (2)

After several months of foisting copies of the demo onto friends and associates, Illiteracy Will Prevail finally caught the attention of Osborne's friend, Krist Novoselic. Novoselic was impressed enough that he approached Cobain about forming a band. (5)

We append the above with notes on some of the misleading and counterfeit items in circulation:

The commercial bootleg, Fecal Matter, includes songs from the Reciprocal Sessions, but nothing from the real Fecal Matter demo.

A widespread forgery, traded to Rob Holmes in 1997, was later found to be the work of hoaxer, William Clarke. (6) For an in-depth look at the fake Fecal Matter demo, please see The LiveNIRVANA Fakes Guide.

  1. Gaar, Gillian, 2012. Entertain Us: The Rise Of Nirvana. Jawbone.
  2. Azerrad, Michael, 1993. Come As You Are: The Story Of Nirvana. Doubleday.
  3. Cross, Charles R., 2001. Heavier Than Heaven. Hodder & Stoughton, London.
  4. Gaar, Gillian G., 1997. Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History Of Nirvana, Goldmine, [online] Available at: http://www.nirvanaclub.com/articles/02.14.97.html.
  5. Nevermind It's An Interview, 1992. [CD] DGC.
  6. Lonsdale, Alan, 2001. LiveNIRVANA.com's Fakes Guide, [online] Available at: https://www.livenirvana.com/fakes/invented.php#fecal.

© Alex Roberts. August 28, 2011