'Vana Be Adored
New Musical Express, November 23, 1991
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"America is a f__ing police state. It's an awful place. Education is so bad. People are so spoiled. They have VCRs, cheap gasoline, and 40 channels and they're not going to rock the boat. Nobody cares that the USA is completely f__ing over the Third World.
"Personally, I'm looking forward to total economic collapse. They're putting so many band aids on the economy right now. Bush is pumping money into the banks, but it won't be long before they go down. And when that happens it's going to make the '30s look like a f__ing holiday."
Nirvana discuss their loathing of the bigoted, Iethargic, transmission-frazzled, materialistic American condition, at length. But it's an attitude that's tricky to properly validate when your ass has been bought and paid for by The (Geffen) Man. And his singular objective is to jettison it through MTV channels into the rock hyperbowl, alongside the label's stuffed centerpiece, Guns N' Roses, for fat cash returns.
"We'll do something to f__ it up, I know we will," shrugs Kurt. "I'm sure once Guns N' Roses started becoming really successful, Bush had them checked out, and found they weren't articulate enough to be a threat to anybody."
"I THINK I drank a little too much last night," says Chris cheerfully. "I was so sick this morning. I was throwing up, like . . . foam. Everywhere. I felt like a human fire extinguisher."
We are at The Word, Channel 4's music TV show. Nirvana's waiting room comes complete with ensuite bidet for nervous guests. Their rider consists of three cans of Top Deck shandy. Nirvana wonder why anyone bothers to manufacture Top Deck. I explain that 'the kids' are big on shandy, because it's well 'arc to manage a splash of beer in your lemonade at age six.
Oddly, Terry Christian is claiming a personal triumph at securing Nirvana for The Word: "I got 'em on this show, dint I? I Iike a bit of metal. But mainly Manchester stuff. Used to have some credibility in Manchester before I started doing The Word, dint I? But yeah, Nirvana. Bangin' band."
Nirvana are the blister on the butthole of the programme. Kurt swears on air and the man with the bleeper button screws up. Their current single 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is delivered in stone cold ugly style. Two minutes and 41 seconds through a guaranteed clear four minute slot, The Word begin to roll their credits. Suddenly the tiny Geffen promotions lady acquires a thirst for blood.
Nirvana themselves couldn't give a sod about one minute 19 seconds of poxy air time. "It isn't worth a scrap," agrees the band's agent, "Let's face it, when you're joy-riding in the US Top Ten, your independent communication skills are evidently pretty efficient."
AND HEREIN lies the crux. Nirvana have made a more profound impact on America with 'Nevermind' then Guns N' Roses did with 'appetite For Destruction'. And they're running all the grotesque 'smack and fanny' barons out of town. In 1991, all great commercial rock successes, bar one, in the US, have been the product of a corporate engineering feat. The fantastic truth about Nirvana's new-found fortune is that there was no prior plan, no strategic media massage, no radio ass-kissing, no trading fine Colombian. . . erm, beans, for favours. Nirvana have made it simply on the magnificent quality of their sound-bytes.
Nirvana's "sun is up and wheels are down". And one million clued-in kids now rooming with 'Nevermind' are (re)discovering just how vital and exciting rock music really should be. Bon Jovi, and the crippled Old Guard twits will never walk again.
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