Kurt Cobain: Dave Grohl’s “Cliché” Riff That Became a Hit

Kurt Cobain

There was no contesting with any other songwriter in Nirvana matched to Kurt Cobain. Though he may have had finite chord selections and proper music theory. The emotional intensity conveyed through masterpieces like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘In Bloom’ resonated deeply with kids that were impossible to put into words. Although Cobain was open to collaboration, he did confess when he considered his group members didn’t write something satisfactory.

Prior to his engagement with Nirvana, Dave Grohl spent his time informally working on his own music. While in the studio with his friend Barrett Jones. Grohl took advantage of the unused tape at the end of different recording sessions to experiment with his own songs. Even though his music might have suited his personal choices, Grohl quickly dismissed anything he crafted for Nirvana.

When chatting about the idea of presenting his songs during Nirvana’s jam sessions. Grohl immediately replied to Lars Ulrich, “Our songwriter was brilliant. And what’s the final comment a drummer makes before being asked to leave the band? ‘Hey, I’ve got a song I believe we should try.'”

Although Grohl unveiled his original compositions through his demo side project Pocketwatch under the pseudonym Late!. Cobain remained open to collaboration for the band’s next album, In Utero. Apart from ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ ‘Scentless Apprentice’ recognized every member of the Seattle trio as a composer.

During an unplanned jamming session, Grohl formed the guitar riff that wound its way through the verses, building up to Cobain’s painful scream. However, Cobain initially displayed some hesitation toward adopting Grohl’s riff. In his recollection documented in “Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana,” Cobain described Grohl’s riff as a typical grunge sound akin to Tad, which made him hesitant to engage with it. Nevertheless, Cobain eventually decided to compose a song around it, primarily to boost Grohl’s morale. Surprisingly, the end result was truly captivating and impressive.

Cobain believed that his singing style and guitar parts, which he added on top of the basic rhythm, were what truly made the song sound good. Even though Grohl is credited as one of the central figures in the song.

Drawing from the novel “Perfume,” Cobain created one of Nirvana’s most mournful songs. Given the profound pressure he faced due to the band’s quick rise to fame. Cobain’s passionate screams of ‘GO AWAY’ during the chorus stand out as some of the most disturbing moments in 1990s rock.

Despite the rebuke directed at Grohl, his time during the In Utero sessions wasn’t entirely idle. He introduced a song from his Pocketwatch days called ‘Marigold,’ which became the only song in Nirvana’s album history sung by Grohl. It was included on the B-side of ‘Heart Shaped Box’ upon its release. Grohl even suggested that he could have potentially adapted some of the early Foo Fighters’ songs into Nirvana songs. While Kurt Cobain had a crucial influence on the band, Grohl was gradually establishing himself as a skilled songwriter in his own regard.

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