LIVE NIRVANA SESSIONS HISTORY Spring 1991–Fall 1992 - Cobain residence, Olympia, WA/Los Angeles, CA, US

  • Cobain, Kurt (vocals, guitar)
  • [U] Unknown
  • [U] Old Age
  • [U] Low Rider
  • [?] others?
Source ID Quality Complete Runtime Lowest Gen Tracks Featured Notes
AUD #1 7.5 0:06:22 ANA(X)>DAT(1)>FLAC • Unknown
• Old Age
• Low Rider

A 0:46 minute clip of Old Age from this session first appeared on the collectors circuit in 1999. Collectors had misgivings about the clip's authenticity, mostly due to their lacking any real point of reference (hitherto, only a distorted 1:10 minute MP3 of the March 1991 boombox demo had been available). It was not until the release of the full Sound City studio version of Old Age, on 2004's With The Lights Out, that collectors were able to evaluate the clip properly.

To confirm the clip's authenticity beyond any doubt, a copy was sent to a panel of band associates: NIRVANA guitar technician, Earnie Bailey, instantly recognized the sound of Kurt's old Stella acoustic, The guitar sounds good and he tuned it quickly, so the recording may be from after late 1992, when the Stella got new strings and tuners. Cobain had been using a pair of pliers to tune the guitar prior to it's makeover. (1) Hole guitarist, Eric Erlandson, was also in no doubt about the demo's legitimacy, but believed Fall 1992 to be the cut-off point for it's recording, This was probably him working it out prior to Courtney recording it, Erlandson offered. We recorded the Beautiful Son single in October or November '92, and she did a quick solo acoustic version then. I believe he could have recorded it during the Fall of '92, but the lyrics weren't happening, so she put her own to it. (2) Nevermind producer, Butch Vig, suggested the demo may have been recorded earlier still, at the Oakwood apartment, Spring 1991. While he was unable to confirm it categorically, Vig suspected that Old Age was probably demoed acoustically prior to being tracked in-studio at Sound City. (3) Former NIRVANA sound engineer and Hole tour manager, Craig Montgomery, was also quick to vouch for the clip's authenticity, This is definitely Kurt, he asserted. Old Age was one of the poppiest songs he ever wrote. (4)

The demo opens with what appears to be an unknown song or song fragment, which lasts for approximately 50-seconds; abandoning that, Cobain launches into Old Age, complete with intro (this same intro features on Hole's Triclops Sound Studios, October 1993 version of Old Age and subsequent live renditions).

  1. Bailey, Earnest, 2004. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.
  2. Erlandson, Eric, 2004. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.
  3. Vig, Butch, 2006. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.
  4. Montgomery, Craig, 2004. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.

© Alex Roberts. August 28, 2011