That Time Nirvana Prank Called Gene Simmons

Steve Albini, who famously produced Nirvana’s In Utero among dozens of classic underground albums, has shared a story of when he and the pivotal grunge band pulled a prank on KISSGene Simmons.

Numerous prank phone calls were made during the In Utero sessions, including one to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder where Nirvana and Albini pretended to be longtime David Bowie producer Tony Visconti. Another involved tricking Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando with an impression of Madonna’s manager.

However, the most decadent prank call was made to Gene Simmons, who wanted Nirvana to be a part of a KISS tribute album. “They didn’t want to do it,” Albini tells the whatever, nevermind podcast (as heard below). “But they didn’t particularly want to talk to Gene Simmons so they had me call and pretend to be Kurt [Cobain]. That was pretty funny.”

“Basically I sort of bumbled through an excuse that would allow them to not do it without having to say they didn’t want to be on a KISS tribute record. They were very fun-loving people. I enjoyed that session, they were fun to hang around with.”

Listen to the full podcast below and check out Albini’s prank call story at roughly 55 minutes into the interview.

Nirvana and KISS were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Though KISS did not perform, the surviving members of Nirvana reunited for a performance for the first time in 20 years, being led by four female singers.

Top 30 Grunge Albums of All Time

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Watch Ty Dolla Sign Rock Out Nirvana With His Band

Though it feels at times like the rock world gets excluded from the party, it’s usually appreciated when members of the pop and hip-hop communities display their love for rock music. One of the latest instances of this happening came from musician Ty Dolla Sign who recently rocked out a bit of Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with his band.

The jam appears to be taking place during a rehearsal with Ty kicking things off with the familiar guitar riff before the rest of the band joins in. It’s clear the musician is enjoying it as he becomes a little more animated nodding his head along once the drums kick in.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the song that many credit for the explosion of the grunge era back in 1991. The Nirvana track topped the Alternative Airplay charts but also had such widespread acclaim that it crossed over to hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also played a large part in Nirvana’s Nevermind album eventually hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and unseating Michael Jackson‘s Dangerous album in early 1992.

Showing some appreciation for the Nirvana jam, one Twitter follower asked Ty for a guitar suggestion for his daughter, while others shared their admiration for Ty’s take on the track. But, as usual with Twitter, there were a few who questioned the choice as well. See a sampling of responses below:

Ty’s most recent offering was 2020’s Featuring Ty Dolla Sign album, which featured guest turns from Post Malone, Skrillex, FKA Twigs, Anderson.Paak, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj and more.

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Why Dave Grohl Won’t Sing Nirvana Songs in Concert

Dave Grohl said he dreams about playing with Nirvana again but can’t bring himself to perform Kurt Cobain‘s songs onstage.

The result has been a series of reunions with ex-bandmate Krist Novoselic and former Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear featuring various guest singers – notably at the band’s 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable singing a song that Kurt sang,” Grohl told Louder, adding that he doesn’t even return to Nirvana while jamming at home.

Grohl took over on drums after an earlier Nirvana lineup toured behind 1989’s Bleach and fell apart amid tensions with guitarist Jason Everman. Dan Peters of Mudhoney subbed on a few subsequent dates before Grohl permanently replaced original drummer Chad Channing in 1990.

“When I first joined the band, it was so much fun,” Grohl said. “I lived on the couch in Kurt’s living room. We rehearsed in a barn. We set up our gear and played those songs, and people bounced around and got hot and sweaty. I really loved the connection and the appreciation that Nirvana’s audience had with the band.”

The band dissolved in the wake of Cobain’s 1994 suicide, leaving Grohl to carry on following a switch to frontman with the Foo Fighters. His successor band is now preparing to release its 10th albumMedicine at Midnight, in February.

A rescheduled tour will presumably follow, but don’t expect to hear any old Nirvana favorites.

“I feel perfectly at home playing those songs on the drums, and I love playing them with Krist and Pat and another vocalist,” Grohl said. “I still have dreams that we’re in Nirvana, that we’re still a band. I still dream there’s any empty arena waiting for us to play. But I don’t sit down at home and run through ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by myself. It’s just a reminder that the person who is responsible for those beautiful songs is no longer with us. It’s bittersweet.”

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‘MTV Unplugged’ Episodes Ranked

One of the more vital music television series in the history of rock is MTV Unplugged, which really flourished in the ’90s as an outlet for acts to showcase their material in acoustic setting. In this list, we’re counting down 10 of the best MTV Unplugged episodes in the history of the show’s run.

The first episode was taped in 1989 featuring Squeeze, Syd Straw and Elliott Easton. Over the next year, bigger names would start to show and interest and by the early ’90s MTV Unplugged had become one of the network’s top rated shows.

The experience was so beloved by musicians that many of them decided to eventually release their Unplugged sets as live albums. Eric Clapton even earned Grammy Awards for his work during the taping of MTV Unplugged back in 1992.

Some acts like The Black Crowes and Pearl Jam used MTV Unplugged to springboard their careers forward while still somewhat in their infancy. Others like KISS and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant used it to provide true “moments” for fans of their legendary careers.

While MTV scaled back on music programming in the 21st Century, they have held onto the MTV Unplugged format and series welcoming artists to play acoustic for sets over the years.

Join us as we count down 10 of the best MTV Unplugged sets of all-time in the gallery below.

MTV Unplugged Episodes Ranked

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