Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain takes the stage at MTV’s “Live And Loud” in 1993.
At the risk of sounding about a million years old, I actually remember watching Nirvana perform on MTV’s “Live And Loud” in 1993, videos from which we’re sharing all this week and next to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band’s third and final album, In Utero. (Check out a live rendition of “Heart-Shaped Box” from yesterday.) And while I was a little young to fully appreciate the larger scope of what I was seeing at the time, it was clear that something magical was happening on stage in Seattle.
Watch Nirvana perform “Rape Me” on MTV’s “Live And Loud” after the jump.
And then, well, you know what happened not too long after that. At the time, “Rape Me,” the second single to be released off In Utero, was controversial for the obvious subject matter of the lyric and title, but it also gave a pretty clear look at how Kurt Cobain was handling his band’s newfound fame. Not very well, it would turn out.
While Cobain talked about the song being a literal anti-rape song, many fans and critics interpreted it as an expression of his frustration with the media. The album art for In Utero – whose iconic cadaver-angles you can see on stage in the video here — was a related metaphor, turning yourself inside out for the world to see.
All that depressing stuff aside, the performance here is a fun one! (Shout-out to the audience dude wearing overalls at 0:53. Most ’90s dude ever.) The band, who, let’s be honest, were not always what you might call “supertight,” is in great form, and Kurt’s voice is full of raw intensity. Bonus points for being one of the first songs to introduce the world to the singing of a certain Mr. Dave Grohl, who lends some intense backups here on the final chorus.
Photo credit: Getty Images