Paul McCartney To Play With Nirvana Tonight At The 12-12-12 Concert? Unfortunately, Yes
Say, say, say, what you want, but it's happening
For those of you who may or may not know, tonight in New York City is the granddaddy of all Sandy concerts. Taking place at Madison Square Garden, tonight's show will feature some of the biggest names in music history including (drumroll please) Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Kanye West, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, The Who, and Paul McCartney.
Read that again, please. Yes, all of the aforementioned musicians will be performing to raise money for Sandy. When you first look at that list, you have no choice but to say WOW, especially considering the potential collaborations between groups. So far, Rolling Stone reports that Eddie Vedder will be joining Roger Waters on the Pink Floyd classic "Comfortably Numb," which could be pretty cool. There's another purported collaboration though that doesn't seem so appealing; in fact, it's the headscratcher of all headscratchers.
Apparently McCartney and the former members of Nirvana recently got together for a jam session and according to the British newspaper The Sun, will be performing as a unit tonight. Yes, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl will be performing with possibly the least grunge-y/punk person this side of Pat Boone tonight.
"I didn't really know who they were," the Beatles legend told the paper. "They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said, 'Whoa? You guys haven't played together for all that time? And somebody whispered to me, 'That's Nirvana. You're Kurt.' I couldn't believe it."
Yes, McCartney didn't even know the legacy of Nirvana.
There are a million thoughts that pass through my mind when I first heard of this, with the first being WHAT THE FUCK! Close your eyes for a second and picture McCartney singing the following songs: "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Heart Shaped Box," "Sliver" and "Come As You Are." Notice edgier songs like "Rape Me," "Lithium" and "Polly" are missing since there's no way McCartney would ever entertain singing these. It's easier to see them playing Beatles songs, but even that would be extremely weird since Nirvana was influenced more by Led Zeppelin (that's what it said at the EMP exhibit in Seattle) Velvet Underground and the classic bands of that ilk more so than the Beatles.
Though reports say the supergroup will perform a newly composed song together, something doesn't feel right about this. The surviving Nirvana members could have literally picked anyone in the world under the age of 50 who would have literally jumped at the chance to live out their childhood fantasy fronting the band, so why would Novoselic and Grohl select one of the least cool people to take their iconic frontman's place? Yes, McCartney and Grohl performed together at this year's Grammys, but even so, this still seems so, so wrong.
Maybe it's because I grew up when Nirvana meant something and lived through Kurt Cobain's suicide, but of all potential pairings, this one makes the least sense. Hell, even Chris Martin would have made a better Cobain than McCartney.
It's hard to believe that if this is true, and by all reports it seems to be, and the best question to consider is what would Cobain think about this. Somewhere, he's rolling over in his grave, probably thinking that ANYONE would have better than seeing a 70-year-old dude taking his place. Right?
Granted this may be the most adventurous thing musically Macca has done since pairing with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder in the early '80s, but still, Nirvana used to stand for everything he wasn't. To that, I'll try to think of with the same aloofness and indifference that Cobain so eloquently sings in "Smells Like Teen Spirit":
"Oh well, whatever, nevermind."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.