Nirvana historians (aka “music bloggers“) have recently uncovered a so-called mixtape called the Montage Of Heck, which Kurt Cobain allegedly made when he was but a wee 21-year-old angst-ridden rocker.
Using a 4-track cassette recorder, possibly the one his aunt Mari talked about giving him in the documentary Kurt And Courtney, Cobain put together a collection of noises, songs and other random audio elements in what ended up being this 33-minute recording of… well… Noises, songs and other random audio elements.
In other words, to the untrained ear, Montage might just sound like a din of discourse, highlighted by, say, a man throwing up, screeching tires, distortion, and the occasional verse from Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds Of Silence”. (Full disclosure, I only made it to the 14-minute mark when the second round of vomit occurred.)
However, for other Nirvana diehards, it’s more of an art piece than a musical one. If all this dissonance is any indication of what it was like to live inside Cobain’s head, then it definitely offers us a revealing at his brilliance—and perhaps to some extent, his lunacy.
Take a listen and tell us what you think… Assuming you can make it all the way through.
For those interested in knowing all the elements involved in compiling Montage Of Heck, here’s a list for your audible enjoyment:
“The Men In My Little Girl’s Life” by Mike Douglas
“The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” by The Beatles
“A Day In The Life” by The Beatles
“Eruption” by Van Halen
“Hot Pants” by James Brown
“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” by Cher
“Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond
“Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver
“Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin
“The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis, Jr.
“In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly
“Wild Thing” by William Shatner
“Taxman” by The Beatles
“I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family
“Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” by The Barbarians
“Queen Of The Reich” by Queensryche
“Last Caress/Green Hell” covered by Metallica
“Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
“Get Down, Make Love” by Queen
“ABC” by The Jackson Five
“I Want Your Sex” by George Michael
“Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden
“Eye Of The Chicken” by Butthole Surfers
“Dance of the Cobra” by Butthole Surfers
“The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave” by Butthole Surfers
“New Age” by The Velvet Underground
“Love Buzz” by Shocking Blue
Orchestral music from 200 Motels by Frank Zappa
“Help I’m A Rock” / “It Can’t Happen Here” by Frank Zappa
“Call Any Vegetable” by Frank Zappa
“The Day We Fall In Love” by The Monkees
“Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath (intro)
Theme from The Andy Griffith Show
Mike Love (of The Beach Boys) talking about “Transcendental Meditation”
Excerpts of Jimi Hendrix speaking at the Monterey Pop Festival
Excerpts of Paul Stanley from KISS’ Alive!
Excerpts of Daniel Johnston screaming about Satan
Excerpts from sound effects records
Various children’s records (Curious George, Sesame Street, The Flintstones, Star Wars)