In its current issue, GQ celebrates the twentieth anniversary of Nevermind with a big oral history of Nirvana, and it is action-packed. (They even spoke to Kurt Cobain through a medium! No, just kidding, that’d be terrible.) Seeing as Courtney Love can never not talk about anything ever, some of this information has already appeared on the Internet in some form. But in the interest of brevity (you should still read the whole thing, of course), here are a few bits you don’t want to miss. Including the fact that, yep, Kurt was packing.
1. Kurt, at least at first, wanted to be insanely famous. Alan Mintz, Nirvana lawyer:
I was a music attorney, and they came up to my office. I asked them, “What’s our goal here? Is it to do another record for Sub Pop?” Kurt leaned forward and said, “Get me off this blankin’ label—I want to sell millions of records.” They left me a cassette of their demo. The next day I was walking down the street, singing to myself and racking my brain: “What is that song?” It hit me that it was the chorus to “In Bloom.” I called the band and said, “Let’s do this.”
One day we went to some record company in New York. We took the elevator to the sixty-sixth floor, walked into the president’s office. He was sitting at his big glass desk with his big leather chair. He looks at us: “So what do you guys want?” Kurt says, “We want to be the biggest band in the world.” Krist [Novoselic] and I look at him: “We do?” We laughed hysterically, because that was not gonna happen.
2. Kurt got played in the recording sessions. Jeff Sheehan, assistant engineer:
The first vocal we did, Kurt took off the headset after singing it once. [Producer] Butch [Vig] looked at me: “Is he done? What the hell?” Kurt came into the control room. “Kurt, do you want to, like, sing it again?” “No, that’s fine.” The look on Butch’s face was Oh, my God. Kurt hadn’t hit a few notes. But to Kurt, doing something again or overdubbing was cheating.
I’d ask him to do a warm-up take—I’d record it. I’d tell him I’m just doing levels — I’d record it.
3. Kurt was supposed to play Eric Stoltz’s part in Pulp Fiction. Courtney Love:
At the same time, boy, was he excited when the scripts started coming in. You ever wonder why he thanked Quentin [Tarantino] on the back of In Utero? Quentin asked him to play Eric Stoltz’s part in Pulp Fiction. You can ask Quentin that, because it’s true.
4. And, lastly, the penis thing. Love again:
Kurt had more presence and more beauty than Brad Pitt — who wanted to play Kurt, by the way. He was a leader, he was strong, in fact he was well fucking hung, if you really want to know.