At last night's Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, Joan Jett, ex-Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon, New Zealand pop star Lorde and singer-songwriter St Vincent became the latest singers to take Kurt Cobain's place fronting the In Utero-era line-up of Nirvana, following in the footsteps of Sir Paul McCartney, who collaborated with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear for Grohl's Sound City documentary. Last night's collaborations brought fresh, interesting angles to Kurt Cobain's songs, but here's five singers we hope we never see fronting the Seattle grunge legends.
Such is Fred Durst’s adoration for Kurt Cobain that Limp Bizkit’s frontman has a tattoo of Cobain on his chest. Durst has also poured his love for Cobain into song, identifying a hitherto undiscovered link with the singer on My Own Cobain, a bonus track on the Bizkit’s 2011 album Gold Cobra. “I’ve been impacted by his poetry, his philosophies and music, obviously,” Durst noted. Yeah, obviously. Keep your distance Fred.
In 1992 Nirvana turned down the opportunity to open up for Guns N’ Roses and Metallica on the rock titans’ history-making stadium tour, irritating Axl Rose immensely. Tensions between the two bands spilled into the public arena at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, when a confrontation between Courtney Love and Rose led Guns N’ Roses’ frontman to tell Cobain to “shut his bitch up” or he’d “take [him] to the pavement.” Nirvana’s frontman subsequently related the story onstage, prompting one young fan of both bands to confront Cobain to ask why the two couldn’t just get along. Cobain’s response was fairly unequivocal. “The guy is a fucking sexist and a racist and a homophobe, and you can’t be on his side and be on our side,” he insisted. So that’s that then.
This isn’t actually as unlikely as you might think. Like so many American musicians of his generation, Kurt Cobain was once a Kiss fan, which led to Nirvana contributing a ragged take on Do You Love Me? to the 1990 Kiss tribute album Hard To Believe. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic too were fans: Grohl even had a poster of the band on his bedroom wall as a teenager. Gene Simmons, however, doesn’t share the love. Speaking about the lack of genuine superstars in music last year the Demon noted “Kurt Cobain - no, that’s one or two records, that’s not enough. What, just ‘cause you died that makes you an icon? No.” Move along Dave, nothing to see here.
Like Kurt Cobain, the winner of 2012’s X Factor is a champion of ‘authentic’, ‘real’ music and an outspoken opponent of the corporate music industry, recently railing against “people telling me what I can and can’t do, what music I can make, what music I can’t make.” This none-more-punk attitude has resulted in the singer being dropped from his record label. Who better then to shove it to The Man in a reborn Nirvana than the newly-liberated doe-eyed, hand-wringing emo-pop ‘sensation’? No. Just, no.
Actually, let’s be honest, this would be fucking awesome. In truth Courtney might be the only singer in the world with the voice, the stage presence, the attitude and the sheer balls to breathe new life into her late husband’s songs, some of which – Heart Shaped Box, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle, etc,. - explicitly reference the couple’s relationship. But it’s never going to happen, people. Or is it? One of the biggest surprises of the ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center last night, was the sight of Courtney embracing Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic onstage, indicating a thawing in relationships that over the years might politely be described as “strained” at best. Hmmm, we’re keeping our minds open on this one actually…
Read more about NIrvana, Kiss and the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony here.