by (@zaragolden)

Covers to Catch: Lana Del Rey Does Nirvana, Kelly Clarkson Does Katy Perry

It’s Friday, and the internet has so kindly graced us with two worthy covers to drive us into the weekend:

Last night in Sydney, Lana Del Rey gave Nirvana‘s “Heart Shaped Box” a stormy and orchestral cover. Nirvana has come to be considered sacred territory, just ask Miley Cyrus, who took serious flack for her “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cover, but Lana’s haunting voice makes for an interesting tribute. Her obsession with fame is not without understanding of Kurt Cobain’s obsession with escaping fame, and her belts of “Hey, wait, I’ve got a new complaint” feel almost as tortured as Kurt’s devastating originals, and she somehow managed to make the brutal “I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black” line sound feminine and delicate. This was a risk, but it seemed to work.

Kelly Clarkson‘s cover of Katy Perry‘s “Wide Awake” was far less of a stretch, and great nonetheless. Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

Everybody Loves Our Town Author Mark Yarm On The Seattle Grunge Explosion, The Byzantine Stories Of Courtney Love, And The “Missed Opportunity” That Was Pearl Jam Twenty

The Seattle scene of the late eighties and early nineties produced some of the most beloved rock bands not just of the last twenty years, but of all-time. The influence and impact that acts like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains had on the world of music, both artistically and commercially, cannot really be overstated. However, there is far more to the “grunge” story than just the rise and fall of these four bands, as author Mark Yarm goes to very impressive lengths to chronicle is his new book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History Of Grunge (now available in handy paperback form!)

Over the course of three years and change, Yarm interviewed over 250 key players in the Seattle scene of that now historic era, everyone from superstars like Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Courtney Love, to the owners of the storied Sub Pop record label, to bands like the U-Men and the Melvins that were very influential in the scene but never quite broke on a national level in the way that the Big Four did. The book was named one of the Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2011 by no less an authority than Time Magazine, and is full of so many entertaining stories and thrilling anecdotes that we have read it cover-to-cover TWICE. You should do the same!

We recently sat down with ELOT author Mark Yarm over a cocktail or two in Brooklyn and talked about many subjects relating to the book, everything ranging from what it’s like to receive manic phone calls from Courtney Love, to Seattle’s well-documented infatuation with heroin, to the “missed opportunity” that was Cameron Crowe‘s Pearl Jam Twenty.

VH1: One of the things that everyone, including myself, finds so impressive about this book is the comprehensiveness. You talked to virtually every major player in the Seattle scene. How did you go about convincing people that you were the person who could tackle this story?
Mark Yarm: The general rule of thumb was that the further away from the white hot epicenter of the grunge explosion of the early nineties, the easier it was. I had the Blender piece that this emerged from, which was an oral history of Sub-Pop on the occasion of their 20th anniversary in 2008. I had already spoken to a lot of the players, and that was a good calling card for me. Some people didn’t talk to me, most notably Pearl Jam since they had their own book coming out. They’re usually not the most accessible guys, anyway. I had spoken to Jeff [Ament] and Stone [Gossard] for the Blender piece, and I also talked to Matt Cameron through the Soundgarden people. I spoke to all their previous drummers, who, if you’ve seen the Cameron Crowe documentary [PJ20], they didn’t bother talking to those guys. They just kind of gloss over them in a funny interstitial.

The frequently shirtless Chris Cornell of SoundgardenChris Cornell is one of the figures in the book that gets some crap because he was always ripping his shirt off. A lot of people, including people in his own band, didn’t like that he presented himself in that way. What was your sense of him, and did he ever tell you why he chose to be the shirtless guy?
There was a Mudhoney song, the song that this book gets its title after, called “Overblown.” It takes kind of a veiled jab at him (“And you’re up there, shirtless and flexin’ / Display of a macho freak”). I asked him about that song, and it didn’t really bother him. If you’re gonna be The Shirtless Guy, you gotta own it, I guess?

I don’t know, I’ve never been The Shirtless Guy!
Me neither! Not since infancy. But yeah, it was a small bone of contention because it was so ostentatious, and this was a scene that in many ways —not all ways, but in many ways— rejected that as “rock star behavior.”

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Last Lap: Billy Corgan Compares Modern Musicians To “Strippers”

Billy Corgan Compares Modern Musicians To “Strippers”
Billy Corgan got all “grumpy old man” in an interview at SXSW and said things like, “I was part of a generation that changed the world — and it was taken over by poseurs.” Everyone has an opinion, right? [Spin]

Courtney Love Has Beef With The Muppets
Even though it was approved by surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, Courtney Love is furious with The Muppets’ cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Ah, Courtney, will there ever be an end to the Love vs Everyone Else beef? [Pigeons & Planes]

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Last Lap: Best Coast Launch A Line Of Clothing With Urban Outfitters

Best Coast Launch A Line Of Clothing With Urban Outfitters
Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino is collaborating with Urban Outfitters in her first foray into fashion. We’re guessing that the line is going to mimic her indie-cool vintage style, with flirty florals and lots of cute dresses. [Pitchfork]

Listen To Kurt Cobain’s Isolated “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Vocal
This is absolutely haunting to say the least. Kurt Cobain‘s stunning isolated vocal from Nirvana‘s iconic “Sounds Like Teen Spirit” will send chills up and down your spine. [SPIN]

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Last Lap: Nirvana Are Re-Releasing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” To Vie For England’s Christmas Number One

Nirvana Are Re-Releasing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” To Vie For Number One
We swear the late Kurt Cobain turns in his grave every time something like this happens. Nirvana decided to re-release “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when it came to the surviving band’s attention that fans were rallying to make the classic song Britain’s Christmas Number One over whoever takes out the X Factor crown. Sigh. [NME]

Lady Gaga Goes To The White House To Battle Bullies
Lady Gaga really does love her ‘Little Monsters.’ So much so, she’s heading to the White House to chat with Obama‘s administration about combating bullying. Go go Gaga activism! [Popdust]

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Courtney Love Exercises Her Dirty Mouth And Disses Dave Grohl On Stage In Brazil

It wouldn’t be Monday morning without waking up to some deliciously NSFW antics from rock’s original angst princess, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love. This weekend at Brazil’s SWU Festival, Courtney mouthed off on stage after being provoked by an audience member holding up an image of her late husband and Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. The emaciated Courtney, mere millimeters away from slipping a nip, burst into an angry tirade, aggressively swearing and giving the finger to the fan who had so offended her in what we can only imagine was an attempt at honoring Cobain.

Spitting into the microphone, Courtney scathed, “You know, I don’t need to see a picture of Kurt, a–hole. And I’m going to have you f–king removed if you keep throwing that up. I’m not Kurt, I have to live with his f–king shit and his ghost and his kid every day. Throwing that up is stupid and rude and I’m going to beat the f–k out of you if you do it again.” Somehow, her rant turned to Dave Grohl and the politics of his relationship with Cobain when they were both in Nirvana. Seething, but with a half smirk on her face, Courtney declared, “Go see the f–king Foo Fighters and do that shit,” before flipping the audience a solid bird and storming off stage.

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Which Musicians Released Their Posthumous Albums The Fastest?

Following the announcement that Amy Winehouse‘s first posthumous album will be released a mere four months after her death on July 23, we started wondering how that timeline compared to some of history’s other notable posthumous record releases. From Nirvana to the Notorious B.I.G., we take a look back at the often uneasy relationship between art and commerce.

Artist:The Notorious B.I.G
Died: March 9, 2007
Album: Life After Death
Release Date: March 25, 2007
Speed To Market: 16 days

Artist: Otis Redding
Died: December 10, 1967
Album: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
Release Date: January 8, 1968
Speed To Market: 29 days

Artist: Tupac
Died: September 7, 1996
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Release Date: November 5, 1996
Speed To Market: 59 days

Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

Is Courtney Love The Devil? Urge Overkill’s Eddie “King” Roeser Thinks So

You’re forgiven if you’re feeling a little bit of Nirvana overkill of late, because we’ve been dealing with those same issues in the wake of Nevermind‘s 20th anniversary. However, Urge Overkill‘s Eddie “King” Roeser just shared an incredible story on the band’s official website about the handful of dates back in 1991 when his band opened for Nirvana just as they were beginning to break out in popularity, so we figured it was worth sharing with you. In his blog post, Roeser talks of how, over the course of one week, Kurt, Dave and Krist went from playing a “flat” show in Cleveland to “freaking out” because of the sudden onslaught of “meatheads” that started attending their shows. Roeser describes these gigs as being “easily among the greatest rock shows I have or will ever see,” but the bands ultimately split ways in Kansas. As Roeser tells it…

“Both bands drove through Stull, Kansas, as they wanted to partake of the legendary haunted crossroads celebrated by our song of the same name (we had just released the Stull EP). It was a warm autumn day and Cobain sat down against the huge oak tree by the church and joked ‘If there is a Satan, I want him to come and get me.’ No sh*t, that?s what he said.

Next time I saw him he had married Courtney Love.”

It’s tough to write a kicker that will top Roeser’s slam, so we’ll just leave well enough alone.

It Was 20 Years Ago Today?. [UrgeOverkill.com via Todd Wicks]

by (@unclegrambo)

The Baby From Nirvana’s Nevermind Cover Isn’t A Baby Anymore

Remember the naked baby on the cover of Nirvana‘s Nevermind? You know, the one who was swimming in hot pursuit of the almighty dollar? Well, turns out that little baby isn’t a baby anymore. The Nirvana baby’s real name is Spencer Elden, and he’s a 20-year-old student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California (and, if you haven’t put two and two together, he’s the guy in the picture above). He did an interview with CNN on the occasion of Nevermind‘s 20th anniversary, where he revealed a startling fact: Neither he nor his parents have ever received a single dime in royalties! C’mon Courtney Love, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, toss the kid a few sheckels and make it right. After all, he’s got student loans to pay off!

The Nirvana Nevermind Baby Is Back in the Pool 20 Years Later [Egotastic]

[Photo: Egotastic]

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Shearer’s Spotlight: The Top 3 Ways That Nirvana’s Nevermind Impacted The Music World

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT. Also, don’t forget to tune into VH1 Classic tonight at 11 p.m. to see the never-before-seen footage of Nirvana: Live At The Paramount, shot in Seattle way back in 1991.

This Tuesday, Sept. 27, the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Nirvana?s breakthrough album, Nevermind, will be released. For a band that took pride in appearing to be normal everyday schmoes, a multi-CD/DVD deluxe package feels a tad extravagant, but considering the impact the album made on the music industry, it also feels very appropriate, if not long overdue.

For those too young to remember, here are three ways Nevermind impacted the world of mainstream music:

1) Made Mainstream Rock Less Homophobic
In one of the most confusing paradoxes in music history, mainstream rock n? roll in the 1980s was dominated by misogynistic guys who liked to wear makeup. Nirvana?with its Pacific Northwest feminist sensibilities?helped put a halt to this way of thinking, especially when Kurt Cobain mockingly appeared on MTV?s Headbanger?s Ball wearing an evening gown. Interviews with openly gay magazines and really dressing like girls for their ?In Bloom? music video?while Kurt and Krist playfully grinded on one another?helped prove that mainstream rock didn?t need to be macho, to be good.

Read more…