Top 5 Nirvana moments - Dinosaur Pile Up
- Sep 28, 2011
Matt Bigland from Dinosaur Pile Up guest blogs on one of his favourite bands of all time, naming his five greatest ever Nirvana videos to mark the 20th Anniversary release of Nirvana’s 'Nevermind'. From Reading 1992 to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', watch Dinosaur Pile Up's top five Nirvana videos and find out why they made the cut...
5. Smells Like Teen Spirit
So. I think the first Nirvana video I ever saw was Smells Like Teen Spirit. No surprise there I guess. But looking back, when I was like nine-years old seeing some sneering 'on the edge' looking dude, wearing the same shitty clothes as I was, just bludgeoning out rad music on his beat up Fender, along with a 10 foot tall bassist swinging his bass around his knees, and a drummer hitting the drums like he's gonna just hit straight through them with his hair going everywhere - I guess that all would be pretty eye-opening. The crowd of jocks/punk-rockers/cheer leaders all losing themselves in the smokey sports hall. It's a massively heavy image for a small kid to take in. Suddenly my cereal probably didn't seem as important and I wanted to buy a guitar. It's all so intense. It's all so dirty and real.
It makes me feel the majority of acts in music have become so safe now. The lack of risk in the industry is a huge bummer. You sit back and watch a video like Teen Spirit and think "F**k, what happened.." It seemed like expression was a lot more visceral, and Nirvana was at the head of that. Perhaps even opened the door to it more than another band. Anyway, I think what is certain is that songs and videos like this are gonna make a kid feel something, really feel it. Not to diss on any bands or anything, that's not really my style, but just looking at what's popular right now, I'm pretty sure a lot of the bands that are in the press and stuff right now wouldn't make a kid lift his head from his cereal. That's why Nirvana were one of the great bands.
4. Reading Festival 1992
One of my all time favorite pieces of live footage of any band ever is Nirvana playing at Reading Festival in 1992. The whole performance is totally incredible. It's weird, because in one sense it's just three guys playing guitar, bass and drums really loud on stage, and a lot of it's pretty messy. But in another there's something really weird about it. It feels like that could never happen again. Like it was a one off. There's an energy to it. It's SO raw, the crowd sounds like an enormous ocean, and there's these three gnarly looking guys at the front of it, controlling the whole thing by just relentlessly slamming out their punk rock with complete abandon. They look totally tiny when the camera zooms out etc. It's so "alive". To me it's exactly what seeing a band should be like. It's like a lost gem or something. One of my favorite tracks by Nirvana is 'Drain You', so seeing them play that is amazing.
3. Drain You/Smells Like Teen Spirit 1991
This is a cool video. It's Nirvana playing Drain You and Smells Like Teen Spirit at Reading in 1991. It's interesting to me because it's kind of shitty and they're kind in the process of growing in to the band everyone would come to know. They seem a bit weird, Kurt's wearing a weird red leather jacket. Dave is dorky and Krist is SUPER dorky. But just to think a year later they would be headlining the festival as a totally different beast. It's cool to hear these two songs, my favorite and then their most popular back to back, before they'd become the biggest band on the planet, and when they were still just an exciting new band. It kind of seems like their celebrity mystery wasn't formed yet, and it feels like you're watching a shitty band that sound a shit load like Nirvana. But low and behold, it's just them before you knew them.
2. Heart Shaped Box
I guess it's an obvious choice but the Heart Shaped Box video is really great. The imagery is so weird and on the fence between being gross and intriguing. Much the same as Kurt Cobain's lyrics I guess. It's strange watching it because you can't help but wonder what he was thinking whilst shooting it... Or what they were all thinking I guess. Or whether any of the imagery in the video had more meaning than just being bubblegum in a music video. Whatever - I love the video because it's so kind of 'fun' - if you can imagine a weird heroin-addict-type-jesus-figure-on-a-cross-and-futus'-hanging-from-trees as fun. The band are kind of f**king around and there's an air of "this secretly means something really important / we don't really give a f**k about any of this" vibe going on. I think for the darkness and gloom that surrounds Nirvana, they were really fun, and stupid.
1. In Bloom
I love this music video. It’s just so freaking funny. Again showing the humour of the band in a really nice light. And I love this song so much, I remember hearing it for the first time when I was really young and it blew my mind. Obviously what's cool is how the songs energy is contrasted with the video's restraint, until you see the band trash everything. But it just seems to suit them so well. Kurt’s expression just cracks me up. Sad to think they're not still around.
Dinosaur Pile Up are in the studio recording their second album right now, and will be on tour with Cage The Elephant next month.
Read Virgin Red Room's review of Nirvana's Nevermind.