LiveNIRVANA.com > Sessions History > Practice Sessions > July 14–15, 1993 - Jukebox City, Seattle, WA, US

LIVE NIRVANA SESSIONS HISTORY:
July 14–15, 1993 - Jukebox City, Seattle, WA, US View in Google Maps

Artist

  • NIRVANA
    • Cobain, Kurt (vocals, guitar)
    • Grohl, Dave (drums)
    • Novoselic, Krist (bass)
  • Duncan, John (guitar)
  • Goldston, Lori (cello)

Set

  • [?] Dumb
  • [?] Polly
  • [?] Something In The Way
  • [?] Something In The Way
  • [?] Something In The Way
  • [?] Something In The Way
  • [?] Something In The Way
  • [?] Heart-Shaped Box
  • [?] Heart-Shaped Box
  • [?] Heart-Shaped Box
  • [?] All Apologies
  • [?] On A Plain
  • [?] Been A Son

Best available sources

It is not known whether this session was recorded, no tapes have surfaced to date.

Notes

NIRVANA rehearse at Midnight above Jukebox City, Seattle's pre-eminent jukebox factory on 1st Ave. South. Since most of the power outlets are dead, the band fumble around trying to set up equipment in the moonlight. Sitting in on the session is rock critic, Gavin Edwards.

The band have barely played together since they finished recording at Pachyderm, but have reconvened here in preparation for a surprise show at the New Music Seminar in New York City the following week.

Edwards describes the scene in a November 1993 article for Details magazine, Stifling a yawn, Dave settles in behind his drums. Kurt grabs a chair and tunes his acoustic guitar, which is decorated with a Nixon Now bumper sticker. He can't quite adjust his mic and asks Krist for help. Also present at the session are guitar roadie Big John Duncan and cellist Lori Goldston, both of whom have been enlisted for NIRVANA's New Music Seminar set. Tonight the band are learning the ironic lesson that they can't play unplugged without electric current, Edwards jokily observes. (1)

After a tense start, NIRVANA finally begin their rehearsal at 1 AM with Dumb. Despite their long separation, they make an acoustic set sound graceful and effortless, Edwards enthuses. The cello bolsters the group's sound, but as usual, the most powerful instrument is Kurt's voice: Thick, raspy, and knowing, it snakes through every song. (1)

Progressing through the set, Cobain remarks on how many of the songs have similar three-chord progressions and expresses concern that they be sequenced carefully, lest the acoustic set sound repetitive. (2)

When Cobain enquires as to whether Grohl should play along with him during Something in the Way, Grohl responds, I think you sound better alone. But I have such shitty rhythm, Cobain grumbles back. (2) Despite Cobain's uncertainty, Edwards finds the subsequent solo renditions particularly stirring: Every time he plays it, he does it a little slower, until his drawling, hesitating words of alienation are floating through the loft, as eerie as the night-time glow of the Seattle Kingdome trickling through the windows. (1)

Cobain and Grohl then set about working out harmonies for Heart-Shaped Box—when Cobain says I'm not sure how to navigate the shouts, Grohl suggests, Just sing it an octave lower. (2)

Cobain later introduces On A Plain to the band by announcing, Well, I thought this'd be a good acoustic song. (2)

Reflecting on the session, Edwards writes, The group are playing some of their best music in this loft—and nobody's around to hear it, except maybe the teens who sometimes scale the wall of the factory to listen at the windows. (1)

Very special thanks to Gavin Edwards for his unique insight into this practice session.

References

  1. Edwards, Gavin, 1993. Heaven Can Wait, Details, Nov. 1993).
  2. Edwards, Gavin, 2006. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.
© Alex Roberts. August 28, 2011