Verse Chourus Verse: The Recording History Of NIRVANA
Goldmine #432, February 14, 1997
PAGE: 21 | back

1996 would see the official release of a number of live Nirvana tracks, beginning with a version of "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" included on the benefit compilation Home Alive: The Art Of Self-Defense, released in January on Epic. The album took its name from the Seattle-based group Home Alive, formed in the wake of Mia Zapata's murder. Home Alive regularly offers self-defense courses, and has attracted national attention due to the involvement of Seattle rock musicians like 7 Year Bitch. "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter," was taken from a performance from February 18,1994 in Grenoble, France.

ln March, Nevennind was released as a gold CD and on high quality vinyl by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab; the fact that gold, and not aluminum is used in the CDs is supposed to make them more resistant to decomposition, and Mobile Fidelity's mastering technique also enhances the sound. Ironically, the catalog number for this disc ended up being "UDCD 666." "That's exactly where it fell!" says Karen Thomas, a publicist for Mobile Fidelity "I went into the mastering department, the guys who give the releases the numbers, and I went, 'You guys, come on!' And they just looked at me completely straight and said, 'That's where it fell."'

More curious was the typo that appeared on the album cover. "All of the copy came from Geffen, on a disc, and we just put it in the computer so we didn't have to retype anything,"' says Thomas. "The CD booklet came out fine. And then here comes the LP, and on one part of it it says 'Produced by Butch Vig and "Virvana."' When somebody called us saying 'Were you guys playing a joke? Did you know this mistake was on here?' We didn't have a clue! Because we didn't even retype anything. Is that bizarre! It was spooky." Though not noted on the cover, the CD does have "Endless Nameless." In Utero was set for release in January '97; if not available in store, you can find Mobile Fidelity product at their website,

March saw the release of another Foo Fighters single, "Big Me," this time released in the U.S. and U.K. In the U.S., the CD featured all the bonus tracks that had appeared on the Foo Fighters previous U.K. singles: "Winnebago," "How I Miss You," "Podunk," "Ozone," and live versions of "For All The Cows" and "Wattershed" (these six tracks also appeared on their own on an Australian EP). In the U.K., the bonus tracks were drawn from a radio session recorded for the B.B.C. on November 23; "Floaty," "Gas Chamber," and "Alone And Easy Target."

The video for "Big Me," a take-off on commercials for Mentos mint, would go on to win three awards at the 18th Annual Billboard Music Video Awards; "Clip Of The Year," "Best New Artist" (alternative/modern rock), and the "Maximum Vision Award," and an award at last year's MTV Music Videos Awards. Foo Fighters cover of Gary Numan's "Down In The Park" turned up on a compilation released the same month, Songs In The Key Of X: The X-Files Soundtrack, on Warner Bros. Another soundtrack, featuring instrumentals, was released at the same time; The Truth And The Light: Music For The X-Files. Only the former disc has the Foo Fighters' track.

In May, an alternate version of Hole's "Live Through This" surfaced on KNDD. The take features Cobain singing during the track, and was recorded during the Live Through This sessions. A DGC rep confirmed that Cobain sang '`on a couple of songs" during the sessions, but denies that his involvement went any further than that. KNDD obtained the tape from a source close to the band; other stations around the country taped it from KNDD and began airing it themselves.

This past summer, Yo Yo A Go Go, a compilation of live tracks from the 1994 festival, was released on Yoyo, including the Stinky Puffs' "I Love You Anyway" with Grohl and Novoselic. Finally, on October 1, 1996, came the long-awaited live Nirvana album, From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishiah. Advance cassettes were released, with CD promos available along with a promo CD single of "Aneurysm." The album became the third Nirvana release to enter the Billboard charts at #1, with first week sales of 158,000 copies. Novoselic wrote the liner notes, and the album was also released as a double vinyl set (packaged in a single sleeve), the fourth side consisting of banter with the audiences.

The majority of the 17 tracks were taken from the Nevermind tour.of 1991, though there were two tracks from '89, one from '92, three from.'93, and one from '94. The latter date is incorrectly identified as being from the Seattle Center Arena, January 5, 1994; the band's shows were January 7 and 8. Though it might have served the group better to present a complete live show, Wishkah did offer a good look at Nirvana's more raucous side.

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