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Eds. note: Last year, Ryan Bigge posted the following mock press release on a Nirvana news group. The pseudo press release and resulting real emails were then printed in his zine, and reappear here with Ryan’s permission.

MCA Records, Promotional Department. For Immediate Release. Nirvanas Anthology.

While most major labels are not known for their ability to exercise tact or patience, we feel that DGC has set a proud precedent by spending over three years mourning. However, we feel that the corpse is no longer warm, and before rigor mortis sets in, we would like to unveil what could well be the most glorious chapter in our label’s history, the Nirvanas Anthology. MCA spokesperson Cathy Clark puts it best:

“Many fans still feel great sorrow over Cobain’s suicide. This is understandable. However, rather than expressing that sorrow in a private and personal manner, we urge fans of the Nirvanas to transform their feelings of depression into a purchase. There’s no better way to be reunited albeit temporarily with the deceased. Don’t think of this as a money grab, think of it as therapy. As well, this album is endorsed by the remaining Nirvanas, which should keep the cynics at bay.”

Much of the excitement surrounding the Nirvanas Anthology has to do with the brand new song entitled “In Stereo” and the circumstances surrounding its recording.

This song began in the form of a four-track demo recorded by Kurt in the early 1990s, and was given to the two-and-a-half surviving Nirvanas by widow Courtney Love. Enlisting the help of famed Nevermind producer Butch Vig, they transformed the demo into a high quality Nirvanas recording. Dave Grohl, the Nirvanas drummer said, “It was a nice change. In the olden days, Cobain always had complete creative control. This time we all given a chance to throw in our two cents worth. I think that if Kurt was still alive, he’d really like “In Stereo”.

Here is a sample of the 45 tracks that compose Anthology One:

Let’s Get Ugly — A Vaselines cover taken from a 1988 Sub Pop compilation. This was recorded when the band was still known as the Silver Nirvanas.

Flannel Fields Forever, takes 9, 12, and 34 — These tracks are different takes of Flannel Fields Forever. The album version was a patchwork quilt of takes 2, 25, and 78 which were digitally grafted together to create the finished song. Here, for the first time, can be heard some of the other takes that Cobain originally conceived and how this song could have sounded.

I Like Myself and Wouldn’t Mind Living — An early demo of the song that would become I Hate Myself and Want to Die. Listen carefully and you can hear Dave shouting “Cranberry sauce” at the end of the song, for reasons that have yet to be explained properly.

Talk to Me — Originally, this song was written by Kurt Cobain for Iggy Pop. However, Mr. Pop is on record as saying, “I have been writing the same song for twenty years, and my musical consistency is all I have, so I had to decline recording this song.” So here is Cobain’s version, as recorded on 4 track

Scoff — An alternative take of this song from the Bleach album, featuring the drumming of former Nirvanas member Chad Channing. Controversy over the reasons for Channing’s firing on August 16th, 1990, shortly before the recording of their breakthrough album Nevermind, continues amongst music academics to the present day. Channing argues that he was a better drummer, but that Grohl was hired because his look and sound more closely fit the Nirvanas mold

Heart Shaped Box — This features the original Steve Albini production and highlights the Nirvanas’ innovative use of loud guitars and even louder drums.

I Can Scream Louder Than Love (The Ballad of Kurt and Courtney) — A song co-written by Love and Cobain about the trials and tribulations of two successful rock’n’roll musicians trying to raise a child and live out a normal life, even though their every move is being observed under the media microscope. It also addresses their numerous and well publicized shouting matches and neighbor awakening arguments. Their touching harmonies and harsh screaming all combine for an aural treat. If one listens carefully, the plaintive cries of the youngest and most promising member of the Nirvanas, Francis Bean, can be heard just before the second bridge. Incidentally, after hearing little Francis Bean scream in key, Dreamworks Records signed her to a five album deal rumored to be worth over eight million dollars. Plus many, many, many more! Work is underway on Anthology Two due out by April 8th, 1998. For further information about this, or any other MCA releases, please phone, fax or visit our website.

Ryan Adds: At the bottom of the e-mail press release I listed an URL that had the full 1,800 word-anthology press release, complete with mafia thugs, truckloads of money, and a hefty amount of Beatles illusions:

Email Replies:
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 96 11:37:25
From: ??????
Subject: when is this due out?
when is this due out.

Subject: Re: Nirvanas Anthology Announcement
Date Sat, 14 Dec 1996 11:57:24 GMT
Is this for real?

Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 14:12:10 Subject: Nirvana
I like to know more about the Nirvana Anthology, like when it is coming out. I read that Anthology 2 is coming out around April 8th, 1998 but you didn’t mention anything about the first Anthology. I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me this and anyhting else about these Anthologies because I’m a big Nirvana fan. Thanks.

Date: Sun, 8 Dec 1996 00:05:39 0500 (EST)
From: (She’s Lost Control Again)
Subject: Re: Nirvanas Anthology Announcement
This made me laugh. Thank you :). Jen

Date: Sun, 08 Dec 1996 14:20:07 +1030
From: Tim Moffat
Subject: Nirvanas Anthology 1 track listing
Can you please send me the track listing for Nirvanas Anthology 1? Id be really thankful if you could. And also, how could I obtain a copy of this in Australia? Thank you very much It’s better to burn out than fade away KURT COBAIN 1967-1994

From: Lars Murray
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 17:43:00 0600
Subject: SUGAR: Bob On Prodigy
As I posted in the Nirvana newsgroup, I thought the Anthology thing was hilarious and I say that as a hard-core Nirvana fan. cheers

Date: Thu, 05 Dec 1996 10:31:44 0800
From Vince Yim
Subject: Press release on the Nirvana anthology
Hey, was this for real? It seemed that the overtone on the beginning and the end was rather sarcastic, as MCA seems to be portrayed as a group of money grubbing leeches. Hoping that they’ll turn their sorrow into a purchase only to later say, Don’t think of this as a money grab, think of it as therapy. And at the end, they say, Why waste valuable time forming your own opinion when we’ve done it for you? As well, there’s the stuff about how Francis Bean Cobain was offered 8M, Pat Smear with a gun to his head, and the fact it seems to be just like all the hoopla surrounding the Beatles Anthology with the new song Free as a Bird. The idea of a Nirvana anthology doesn’t seem too far fetched, but I don’t think that the remaining members of Nirvana (Dave, Krist, and Pat) would be actually doing this. But if it is for real, couldja give me the fax and phone number? After all…FREE preview copy. Peace

From: Bill Tatalovich
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 22:07:51 0600 (CST)
Subject: SUGAR: non Bob: Nirvana
Well, I see that no one has posted about this fairly strange post yet, so I figured I would. I can’t really tell if this whole thing is a joke (the Nirvanas Anthology). I believe it is, and if indeed it is a joke, it is not funny. I never liked Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, or even Courtney Love, but joking about someones death is just not cool. Nuff said. And if it is not a joke, it’s just as fucked up. I don t know. Somebody please enlighten me on this whole thing. I’m confused.

From: (Ichabod Crane)
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 1996 03:19:42 EST
Subject: Re: SUGAR: no Bob: Nirvana
As a HUGE Nirvana fan, I found that message absolutely hysterical when it was first posted to Usenet. I don’t think the original author was poking fun at Kurt himself or at his unfortunate death, but rather at how the media and Geffen Records and whoever else have milked his death for as much profit as they possibly can. It’s so quaint that Geffen has released 3 Nirvana items since his death (the Unplugged and Wishkah Cds, and the Live, Tonight, Sold Out video), and each has been released just in time for Christmas… is that savvy marketing or what? I would not be surprised in the least to see a Nirvana Anthology out in time for Christmas of 97 or 98

Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 03:54:50
From: Jeff Mills
Subject: Re: Nirvanas Anthology Announcement
You know, if you spent as much time doing something constructive with your life (or lack thereof) instead of posting crap like this, things would be a lot better off

Date: Tue, 03 Dec 1996 22:54:07 0800
From: Robert York
Subject: Re: Nirvanas Anthology Announcement
I’m uninterested in a drugged out, self destructive, whinning jerk that spent 10 years trying to kill himself. Obviously he wasn’t too smart. I could kill myself much faster if I wanted. Another druggie with millions in the bank and still feeling sorry for himself, there is no redeeming qualities in Corbain or Nirvana. Just another drug and destruction group with no talent. Dead and buried is where it should lie. Good riddens

Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 02:29:36 0500 (EST)
Subject: hello?
Could you explain this Anthology????

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 00:25:33 0500 (EST)
Subject: hello??? Hi, i would really want to know about this Anthology of Nirvana you guys put together. Some of the stuff sounds very phoney, but reassure me…..

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 23:24:54 0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: hello???
I have a couple other questions, if you wouldn’t mind answering them. Anyway, my question was that, how did all of you guys obtain all of Nirvana’s material, the rare stuff? And do you have the Fecal Matter? If you do have the Fecal Matter demo, would you sell it seperatly?…..well…. thanks! later

Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997 00:46:40 0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: hello???
Ok….i have been to alot of underground bootleg stores as well as mainstream stores and they have no clue about this anthology. If i was to purchase this anthology, is there ANY way i could possibly listen to it before i buy, if that’s possible. Because i know alot of people being ripped off by so called Nirvana fans, and they don’t receive anything. thanks later

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 00:22:41 0400 (EDT
Subject: Re: hello
I have told everyone about that and they just laughed at you guys. Sorry, but they did. It’s quite amusing to see such ignorant people like yourself to actually try (but fail miserably) to create this phoney little sham to scam people. When i was talking about the Fecal Matter and etc…..I wanted to see if you guys knew anything about Nirvana. There are a lot of people I talked with that think you are incredibly funny, and also feel extreme hatred for your fake life you lead. Now listen…..all these Nirvana pages want your page to be shutdown. Please do me and every Nirvana fan out there a big favor, keep your artificial business in your head, as opposed to exposing it to innocent Nirvana fans. I despise and feel great animosity for you and ever other fake Nirvana fan out there. You destroy music, and what it is worth. Please shutdown your page. It’s people like you that ruin the music.

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 22:47:27 0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: hello???
Ok…well if you actually believe that you own every Nirvana album I suppose that you have Shades of Gray? Then explain why every Nirvana page is basically ridiculing you and your page? If you were such a big Nirvana fan in the first place, why was there a reason for twisting shit around in your anthology? You can browse through numerous Nirvana pages just laughing at the intelligent life you lead. I’m sorry that this is harsh. but someone has to put a end to all this phoney fake Nirvana crap going around. I personally think you are a overweight pediphile that just has nothing better to do with your time, except to browse among little kids. That’s what all phoney Nirvana fans are. You got to get on with your life, instead of creating shit. People are extremely pissed off at this situation. I would advise for you to cancel you AOL account. Not to frighten you or anything, but..there are some Nirvana bootleggers that take this phnoey stuff a little too far. What a fan you are, trying to receive money from a fake Anthology created just for your ammusment. I’m sure Kurt would be very proud of you.

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