Nirvana’s Weirdest TV Moments
Yesterday, the Internet was abuzz over a newly unearthed commercial Nirvana made in 1993 to promote ‘In Utero,’ their follow-up to their massive breakthrough ‘Nevermind.’ The promo spot is quite possibly the strangest thing Nirvana — or any rock band, really — ever committed to tape, and it stars Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic as expecting mothers learning what to expect in a bizarro pregnancy class taught by comedian Bobcat Goldwaith. Why anyone thought the 30-second clip would drum up sales for ‘In Utero’ is anyone’s guess, and all these years later, it got us thinking about some of the trio’s other oddball TV appearances. Nirvana had a strange relationship with the medium, given that they were charismatic, captivating performers not entirely comfortable with mainstream success, and in honor of the ‘In Utero’ ad — as well as the deluxe reissue due out in September — we decided to throw together this list of Nirvana’s Weirdest TV Moments.
A Crappy Interview
“Hi, welcome to ‘Bathroom’s Today,'” Novoselic says in this seldom-seen clip. That probably wasn’t the actual name of the program, but it might as well have been, as the boys conduct this WTF interview from an honest-to-goodness bathroom. Krist, pantless, sits on the can, while Dave, who does most of the talking, is in the bathtub. As they go on about god-knows-what, Kurt just kind of sits there, as puzzled as the rest of us. His main contribution to the conversation is suggesting that Novoselic wipe himself with one of the socks Grohl’s been wearing on tour. Smells like … well, not teen spirit, that’s for sure.
A Vision in Yellow
Were you to simply play the audio from this 1991 episode of MTV’s ‘Headbanger’s Ball,’ next on our list of Nirvana’s Weirdest TV Moments, you might not think it all that strange. As host Ricki Rachtman tries to hip viewers to the Seattle “grunge” sound about to render all of their favorite heavy metal bands irrelevant, Novoselic gamely answers his questions, chatting about punk rock and the group’s humble origins. Kurt, meanwhile, sits back and listens, content to let his bright yellow dress speak for him “It’s a headbanger’s ball, so I thought I’d wear a gown,” he says at the beginning of the clip. Sounds reasonable enough.
A Shout-Out to the Missus
Nirvana’s 1991 appearance on the U.K. show ‘The Word’ is memorable for two reasons. It marks the first televised performance of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ but if you ask us, that’s overshadowed by Kurt’s lead-in. “I’d like all of you people in this room to know that Courtney Love, the lead singer of the sensational pop group Hole, is the best f— in the world.” Cobain and the boys then turn in the kind of raucous performance we’re guessing Tesla and Extreme — due on the show the following week — would have trouble matching.
No Cookie for Frances
By the time the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards rolled around, Nirvana had learned how to play the fame game, and in this hilariously sarcastic interview, Kurt reveals where he keeps his Moonman statues (in the toilet, of course), and Krist insinuates that the network ensures their presence at such cheesy functions by threatening to harm members of his family. The best part, though, is watching as Cobain scarfs down complimentary cookies and refuses to let his daughter, Frances Bean, snag even a single bite, try as she may to snatch the thing from out of his hands.
Mocking the ‘Pops’
As the story goes, Kurt Cobain wasn’t happy about having to mime along to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on the long-running U.K. chart show ‘Top of the Pops,’ and rather than play along and pretend to bash out his signature hit, he changed up the lyrics and aped the droll vocal stylings of Morrissey. For a piss-take, it’s not half bad — at least until he crams the entire mic in his mouth.