LIVE NIRVANA SESSIONS HISTORY 1987–1988 - Cobain residence, Olympia, WA, US View in Google Maps

  • Cobain, Kurt (vocals, guitar, percussion)
  • [X] Vendetagainst
  • [X] Unknown #1
  • [X] Unknown #2
  • [X] Unknown #3
  • [O] Unknown #3
  • [X] Sappy instrumental
  • [O] Sappy
  • [O] Polly
  • [O] Seed
  • [X] When The Saints Go Marching In instrumental
  • [U] Unknown #4
  • [O] Clean Up Before She Comes
  • [O] Clean Up Before She Comes
  • [O] Beans
  • [O] Unknown #5 instrumental
  • [O] About A Girl
  • [U] Unknown #6
Source ID Quality Complete Runtime Lowest Gen Tracks Featured Notes
SBD #1a 9.5 0:08:25 TBC>FLAC • Seed
• Clean Up Before She Comes
• About A Girl
SBD #1b 8.5 0:10:46 Unofficial CD (Dressed For Success) • Unknown
• Clean Up Before She Comes
• Beans
• Unknown (instrumental)
• About A Girl
Unknown #4 appears under the title Bambi Slaughter, Unknown #5 appears under the title Black And White Blues. Beans cuts out. Clean Up Before She Comes is slightly more complete here than on SBD#1a, but is considered to be of inferior sound quality.
SBD #1c 9.0 TBC ANA(2)>CDR(1)>FLAC • Beans
• Unknown #6 (long version)
• Unknown #3
This source is sometimes referred to as the Touch & Go demo or Kurdt's Kassette. Unknown #3 appears as a sample in an audio collage titled Montage Of Heck (short version). Beans is without the intro found on other sources.
SBD #1d 8.5 0:08:06 ANA(X)>DAT(1)>FLAC • Polly
• Seed
• Sappy
This source is more complete than SBD#1f, but is considered to be of inferior sound quality. Polly fades out.
SBD #1e 9.0 0:00:38 ANA(2)>DAT(1)>FLAC • Unknown #6 (short version) This source is sometimes referred to as the Master reel compilation tape.
SBD #1f 8.5 0:07:21 Unofficial CD (The Demos) • Polly
• Seed
• Sappy
This is the best available source for Sappy. Polly fades out.
SBD #1g 8.5 0:02:28 TBC>FLAC • Polly This is the best available source for Polly. Polly fades out.
SBD #1 CLIP 8.5 TBC ANA(X)>CDR(X)>FLAC • Vendetagainst
• Unknown #1
Vendetagainst and Unknown #1 appear as samples in an audio collage titled "Montage Of Heck (long version)."
SBD #2 9.5 0:04:27 TBC>FLAC • Beans
• Polly
Alternative mixes. Polly features some pre-song noises not found on other sources.
SBD #3 9.5 TBC Official CD (Kurt Cobain - Montage Of Heck: The Home Recordings) • Unknown #5 (instrumental)
• Unknown #2
• Beans
• Clean Up Before She Comes (alt. take)
• Sappy
• Unknown #3 (alt. take)
Alternative mixes. Unknown #5 (instrumental) appears under the title The Happy Guitar. Unknown #2 appears as a sample in an audio collage titled Montage of Kurt. Unknown #3 appears under the title She Only Lies.
SBD #3 CLIP 9.5 TBC Official Blu-ray (Cobain: Montage Of Heck) • Sappy
• Sappy (instrumental)
• Sappy (instrumental)
Alternative mixes, further upmixed to 5.1 surround sound by Steve Pederson, 2014. All tracks are cut and feature voice-over and/or other extraneous sounds. The last track is back-masked on this release.

While these songs are grouped together here, they are not thought to have been recorded at the same sitting. All are Kurt Cobain home demos, recorded some time between 1987 and 1988, presumably at Cobain's contemporary residence.

Circa Summer 1988, Cobain was dubbing many of these songs onto cassette compilations and sending them out to prospective record labels. One example of such a compilation can be found on page 81 of Come As You Are: The Story Of Nirvana, where Cobain annotates Polly, Seed and Sappy (Sad) as Mellow 4-track shit. (1)

Beans is an odd acoustic number that sees Cobain adopting a cartoonish falsetto and experimenting with the speed on his vocal track. Cobain had apparently considered the song for inclusion on Bleach, but the idea was dismissed out of hand by Sub Pop co-owner, Jonathan Poneman. He thought we were retarded, Cobain told NIRVANA biographer, Michael Azerrad, believing that the band had been bulldozed into suppressing their more diverse and experimental tendencies to fit the label's grungy formula. (1)

Another experimental track makes reference to the backwards masking of Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven, with Cobain recording some phonetically reversed speech and then back-masking it to say, She's selling the escalator to Hell!

  1. Azerrad, Michael, 1993. Come As You Are: The Story Of Nirvana. Doubleday.

© Alex Roberts. August 28, 2011