Listen to Kurt Cobain’s rare demos of Nirvana and solo material
At a time when live music remains a distant memory, we’re digging into the Far Out Magazine vault to find our music fix. Here, we revisit some rarely heard early home recordings from the Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. While a selection of the recordings were made for grunge legends, a few of the tracks were destined for a solo record that would never be.
The iconic leader of the band who would sadly commit suicide at his home in 1994 before either set of songs could be released. Today, we’re taking a look back at some of these wonderful recordings and reminiscing about what could’ve been.
If you’ve been aNirvana fan for a little while, the rumour of Kurt Cobain’s impending departure from the band before his suicide in 1994 is a well-known tale. Whether from his former manager Danny Goldberg or Hole co-founder Eric Erlandson, the rumours Cobain was about to breakout from Nirvana seemed rooted in some fact. In an old interview with The Independent, to discuss Cobain’s life, Goldberg admitted: “I think he [Cobain] would’ve found different ways of expressing himself, sometimes with the band and sometimes not.”
If that wasn’t concrete enough, Kurt also wrote a song for his then-girlfriend, Courtney Love, and her band Hole, offering them a song he trialled on acoustic. Those recordings, which you can hear below, were called ‘Old Age’ which was released alongside their track ‘Violet’. Cobain handed the song an acoustic demo but gave the track away after being unhappy with the results. Whether or not these songs are for Nirvana, for Hole, or for, indeed, for Kurt himself, these demos are simply wonderful.
A selection of the tracks below featured on the Nirvana boxset With The Lights Out with Cobain demos of ‘Old Age’, ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘All Apologies’ all finding a spot on the release. While those tracks could be placed as either future Nirvana or Cobain solo efforts, the demo for ‘Creation’, which can also be found below, is a recording from his past.
The raw demo sees Cobain using a four-track recorder to add a little meat to the acoustic guitar bones. On it, Cobain adds a bassline and a ramshackle drumbeat courtesy of a suitcase and some furious hands. It is an insight into the droning melodics he would employ on Nirvana’s work and see him rise to superstardom.
While the demos below can serve as a reminder of what could’ve been, either with Nirvana or out on his own as a solo artist. The demos also show Cobain without the iconoclasm, without the intrigue, and instead, focused on doing what he loves—making music.
Listen below to a selection of rare home recordings from Kurt Cobain.