FMF Episode #9 – Nirvana


Intro Background Music: Los Straitjackets – Smells Like Teen Spirit

DJ: Welcome to Feel Me Flow!  In today’s episode, we’re gonna jump into the world of Nirvana.  We’ll start with a very happy birthday wish to Krist Novoselic; he turns 52 today!  Born in Compton on May 16th, 1965, the bass player for Nirvana migrated to Aberdeen with his family when he was 14.    It’s a good thing they moved, man, Compton would turn out to be a bit of a tumultuous place as the years went on.  To celebrate Krist’s birthday, we’re going to explore some of Nirvana’s influences, some covers of their tunes, some songs that inspired them, and some songs that may have been inspired by them.  Nirvana formed in 1987 in Aberdeen, WA.  Kurt and Krist (then Kurdt and Chris) went to high school together and apparently became friends while frequenting the Melvins‘ practice space.  After signing to Sub Pop in 1988, the band would eventually sign with David Geffen at DGC and release Nevermind in 1991 to an explosion of success.  The band was officially in existence for about 7 years, ending when Kurt Cobain took his life in 1994.  Today’s episode gets loud and in your face; some songs are a bit gnarly.  I wouldn’t crank this one at work, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t play it.  Los Straitjackets are playing their cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” behind us.  The instrumental rockers rode the post-Pulp Fiction wave of surf revival in the 90’s.  Alright, everybody, it’s time to tie your flannel around your waist, rip your jeans, and crank up the boom box; we’re gonna rock with the lights out…

Set 1:

  1. Nirvana – About A Girl
  2. Green Day – Amy
  3. Tom Petty – You Don’t Know How It Feels
  4. Manfred Mann – L.S.D.
  5. The Who – Armenia City In The Sky

Intermission 1 Background Music: Shawn Lee – Sexy Beast

DJ:  Can’t have a Nirvana playlist without some Nirvana, right?  We heard “About A Girl” from their debut 1989 LP Bleach.  Being their first LP, it’s the only one to not feature Dave Grohl on drums.  Dave would join the band after Chad Channing quit in 1990.  Sounds very Pete Best-ish.  Next, Green Day gave us a solo guitar ballad from their garage rock-flavored Dos! LP; the second in their ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy.   From 1994’s Wildflowers, we heard “Honey Bee” by Tom Petty.  When Tom was asked to play Saturday Night Live in 1994, he asked Dave Grohl to drum for the performance of “Honey Bee”.  Dave obliged, bringing parts of Nirvana and Tom Petty together on one stage.  Manfred Mann played us “L.S.D.” off of their 2nd LP 1965’s Mann Made.   While at first glance, the song may seem to allude to drug use, the lyrics point straight to money and not wanting to share.  I wonder what the L.S.D. stands for?  Speaking of money, The Who finished up our set with their trippy track “Armenia City In The Sky” from The Who Sell Out.  Nirvana took a few cues from Keith Moon and Pete Townshend when it came to ending a show; these guys sure liked to smash their instruments.  Also, Nirvana would receive criticism for “selling out” their punk fan base when the band made it big.  Who cares though, right?  Imagine if we didn’t have the music of Nirvana in our lives.  We wouldn’t get awesome Nirvana covers.  Let’s hear from Charles Bradley backed by the Menahan Street Band doing a soul cover of Nirvana’s “Stay Away”…

Set 2:

  1. Charles Bradley – Stay Away
  2. Curtis Mayfield – Freddie’s Dead
  3. The Pixies – Gigantic
  4. The Shirks – Motherhood Of The Wolf
  5. FIDLAR – No Waves

Intermission 2 Background Music: 18 Carat Affair – Death Became Her

DJ: After Charles Bradley soul-ified Nirvana’s “Stay Away”, we jumped into more psych-soul with “Freddie’s Dead (Theme From Superfly)” from Curtis Mayfield’s enormously successful Superfly Soundtrack.  Coincidentally, in 1991, Wes Craven would release the 6th movie in the A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise; Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.  I think we all know by now that there is no “final” in horror movies.  The Pixies were a huge influence on Kurt Cobain, and he’s even admitted to ripping them off.  In honor of that rip-off, we played “Gigantic” from their 1988 debut Surfer Rosa.  The song title apparently alludes to a certain man’s…endowment.  Kurt listed Surfer Rosa in his “Top 50 By Nirvana” hand-written list (look out for more of those later on).  Coming from the Washington DC punk scene, where Dave Grohl started his music career, we have The Shirks with “Motherhood Of The Wolf” from their debut self-titled 2013 LP.  FIDLAR brought us “No Waves” from their debut self-titled LP.  FIDLAR’s Elvis and Max Kuehn are the sons of Greg Kuehn of  80’s punk band T.S.O.L.  I guess acronym bands run in the family? (Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk / True Sounds Of Liberty)  Alright enough spelling, let’s get into some power pop with another cut from Kurt’s Top 50, “My Sharona” by The Knack.

Set 3:

  1. The Knack – My Sharona
  2. Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, & Pat Smear – Cut Me Some Slack
  3. Beat Happening – Indian Summer
  4. Murder By Death – Lounge Act
  5. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World

Intermission 3 Background Music: The Chantays – Pipeline

DJ: Along with 5 other tracks (three by Meat Puppets, one by Lead Belly, and one by The Vaselines), Nirvana famously covered David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” on their MTV Unplugged In New York LP in 1994.  The album would be the first to be released after the death of Kurt.  Here, we heard the original version from Bowie’s 1970 album The Man Who Sold The World.  Before that, we heard a cover of “Lounge Act” by Bloomington, IN band Murder By Death.  The track was lifted off of Reimagine Music’s Nirvana tribute album Come As You Are: A 20th Anniversary Tribute to Nirvana’s Nevermind, which has a couple pretty great cover versions of Nirvana’s songs.  Beat Happening’s “Indian Summer” was another “Top 50” cut from their sophomore 1988 release Jamboree.  The song is their most known and possibly most accessible, being covered by anyone from Ben Gibbard to R.E.M.  Let’s get heavy again with some Fear.  This goes out to all you country folk…

Set 4:

  1. Fear – I Love Livin’ In The City
  2. Saccharine Trust – I Am Right
  3. The Kinks – You Really Got Me
  4. Hole – Teenage Whore
  5. Juliette & The Licks – Comin’ Around

Intermission 4 Background Music: The xx – Intro

DJ: I first remember seeing Juliette Lewis in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, although many of you may have seen her as Wayne’s girlfriend in The Wonder Years.  After a successful acting career, Juliette tried her chops in the music biz.  She’s put out two albums with The Licks and two solo efforts.  Female fronted rock groups started increasing in popularity again after the alternative wave of grunge and riot grrrl.  Courtney Love fronted one of the more famous groups in the genre, Hole.   We heard the first single that Hole put out, “Teenage Whore” off of their debut album Pretty On The Inside.   The LP came out exactly one week before Nevermind and was produced by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.  Before Hole, we heard The Kinks doing “You Really Got Me” from their debut 1964 LP Kinks.  1964!  A full 27 years before grunge would break through to the mainstream.  Saccharine Trust’s debut EP Paganicons, where we got “I Am Right” from, was on the “Top 50” album list as well.  The EP was produced by Mike Watt of Minutemen and Spot, later from Black Flag.  Fear frontman Lee Ving wails on “I Love Livin’ In The City” from the debut 1982 LP The Fear Record.  Lee actually had a minor acting career in the 80’s too, and you might recognize him as Johnny C. from Flashdance, or Mr. Boddy from Clue.   That album was also a “Top 50” listing.  We’re gonna play some new tunes now, with a brand new track from Auckland, New Zealand’s Scared Of Girls.  The song’s called “Beach Teens” and comes from their debut EP SUCK.  Take us to the waves, boys!

Set 5:

  1. Scared Of Girls – Beach Teens
  2. The Dead Milkmen – Bitchin’ Camaro
  3. Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen – Hot Rod Lincoln
  4. The Vaselines – Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
  5. The Clash – Straight To Hell

Intermission 5 Background Music: CYBEREALITYライフ – E N C A R T A ’98 野生動物

DJ: We started that set with brand new music from Scared Of Girls.  We like what we hear from them so far!  Next was a classic from The Dead Milkmen, “Bitchin’ Camaro”.  The track comes from their 1985 debut LP Big Lizard In My Backyard.  After gaining some momentum on college rock radio stations, the band would grow in popularity after MTV started airing the video for “Punk Rock Girl“.  Continuing the car theme, we played a bit of a rockabilly tune with “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen.  The track seemed to help spark the rockabilly revival that would spring up a little bit each decade.  The 80’s featured Stray Cats, the 90’s had Reverend Horton Heat, etc.  This song comes from the 1971 debut from Commander Cody, Lost In The Ozone.  The Vaselines were an indie duo from Scotland that put out two EPs and one short LP before disbanding in 1990.  They would reform later in the 2000s and continue to play.  We played “Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam” from their sophomore EP Dying For It, which was another “Top 50” listing.  Speaking of that pesky “Top 50“, The Clash’s Combat Rock was featured on it as well.  Launching the band to megastardom with “Rock The Casbah” and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”, the album would prove to be their most successful.  We played “Straight To Hell” which most of the younger generation would recognize as the song sampled for M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes“.  “I fly like paper, get high like planes”.  Nice.  Alright, well while Foo Fighters are working on new material, we’re going to play a song from their latest EP, Saint Cecilia.  Here’s “Savior Breath”.

Set 6:

  1. Foo Fighters – Savior Breath
  2. Lagwagon – May 16
  3. MDC – John Wayne Was A Nazi
  4. Sinéad O’Connor – All Apologies
  5. Tribe Society – Heart-Shaped Box

Outro Background Music: Kurt Cobain – The Happy Guitar

DJ: Ahh we love a cover that totally twists the song into a new genre.  That was New York City’s Tribe Society doing “Heart-Shaped Box”.  The band released the EP 27 earlier this year and it features covers of 7 artists who died at 27.  Maybe we’ll play one of those tracks in another tribute episode.  Before that, we played Sinead O’Connor’s version of “All Apologies”.  Coming from her 1994 album “Universal Mother”, one can’t help but wonder if she recorded it after hearing of Kurt’s suicide.  It sure is somber, yet quite a pretty version.  Another “Top 50” track played before that; MDC’s “John Wayne Was A Nazi”.  MDC originally stood for Millions Of Dead Cops, but would eventually be changed many times to things like Multi-Death Corporations, Millions Of Dead Children, and more.   The band stood strong for anti-hate messages and human rights.  Getting a namesake song in for the day, we heard Lagwagon doing “May 16”.  Taken from 1998’s Let’s Talk About Feelings, the track was featured on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 soundtrack along with other great pop-punk/hip-hop acts.  Lagwagon has been a Fat Wreck Chords staple since their debut in 1992, and singer Joey Cape and drummer Dave Raun are also members of Me First And The Gimme Gimmes.  Well people, that’s gonna wrap up this week’s show.  Happy 52nd Birthday to Krist Novoselic; we hope it’s a great one!  Join us tomorrow on Feel Me Flow for our International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) episode!  It’s better to burn out than to fade away…

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