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FROM THE MUDDY BANKS OF THE WISHKAH

MUDDY BANKS

1996

1-Intro | 2-School | 3-Drain You | 4-Aneurysm | 5- Smells Like Teen Spirit | 6-Been A Son | 7-Lithium | 8-Sliver | 9-Spank Thru | 10-Scentless Apprentice | 11-Heart Shaped Box | 12-Milk It | 13-Negative Creep | 14-Polly | 15-Breed | 16-Tourettes | 17-Blew


INFO

From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah is a live album by Nirvana. The album was released on October 1, 1996 by Geffen Records. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard magazine "Top 200", and "Aneurysm", released as a single from the album, reached No. 11 on Billboard's "Mainstream Rock Tracks" chart.


TRACK LISTING

1. Intro
2. School
3. Drain You
4. Aneurysm
5. Smells Like Teen Spirit
6. Been a Son
7. Lithium
8. Sliver
9. Spank Thru
10. Scentless Apprentice
11. Heart Shaped Box
12. Milk It
13. Negative Creep
14. Polly
15. Breed
16. Tourette's
17. Blew


SONGS INFORMATION

1. Intro
Recorded December 03, 1989. Astoria Theatre, London, UK.

2. School
Recorded November 25, 1991. Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland.

3. Drain You
Recorded December 28, 1991. O'Brien Pavilion, Del Mar, CA.

4. Aneurysm
Recorded December 28, 1991. O'Brien Pavilion, Del Mar, CA.

5. Smells Like Teen Spirit
Recorded December 28, 1991. O'Brien Pavilion, Del Mar, CA.

6. Been A Son
Recorded November 25, 1991. Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland.

7. Lithium
Recorded November 25, 1991. Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland.

8. Sliver
Recorded November 10, 1993. Civic Centre, Springfield, MA.

9. Spank Thru
November 19, 1991. Castle Theatre, Rome, Italy.

10. Scentless Apprentice
Recorded December 13, 1993. Pier 48, Seattle, WA.

11. Heart Shaped Box
Recorded December 30, 1993. Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, CA.

12. Milk It
Recorded January 07, 1994. Seattle Centre Arena, Seattle, WA.

13. Negative Creep
Recorded October 31, 1991. Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA.

14. Polly
Recorded December 03, 1989. Astoria Theatre, London, UK.

15. Breed
Recorded December 03, 1989. Astoria Theatre, London, UK.

16. Tourette's
Recorded August 30, 1992. Reading Festival, Reading, UK.

17. Blew
Recorded November 25, 1991. Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland.


SONGS MEANING

School - A song about the incestous Seattle Scene. The bands seem to resemble high school cliques.

Drain You - A song about (plainly and simply) love. Highly medical theme.

Aneurysm - Possibly about shooting heroin.

Smells Like Teen Spirit - An attack on the apathy of our own generation.

Been A Son - Song about a girl whose parents wanted a boy.

Lithium - A first person narrative of a nervous breakdown, or an update of the Marxist description of religion as 'Opiate of the masses'. An ode to disconnection.

Spank Thru - ???

Scentless Apprentice - Based on the novel “Perfume” by Patrick Suskind, about a perfume maker who kills virgins for their scent.

Heart Shaped Box - Themes of co-dependancy and many other themes.

Milk It - A song about co-dependancy, it heavily carries the medical theme.

Negative Creep - the first person narrative from an anti social person.

Polly - Based on the actual kidnapping of a 14 year old girl and her torture.

Breed - Growing up and being trapped by Middle Class America.

Tourette's - This song has no meaning at all. Kurt just screamed a lot. Based on tourette's syndrome, which causes one to shout out obscenities at any time.

Blew - The whole song conveys themes of entrapment.


ALBUM PICTURES

Front | Back | CD


LINER NOTES

Nirvana started as a live band (Don't all bands?). We played around for two years before the release of Bleach in June, 1989. At the time, Live shows were our bread and butter (this being prior to the release of Nevermind in September of 1991). We'd hit the road for months at a time... coming back with one or two grand... to be split three ways. In those days, that was as much "success" as we thought possible. The earliest performances on this album are brought to you courtesy of a sound board cassette recording of a December, 1989 show at London's Astoria. "Breed" (then called "Immodium") and "Polly" (the big rock version) are taken from this show, the last date of a European tour supporting fellow Sub-Poppers, Tad.

Early in 1991, the band signed with Geffen Records and acquired professional management. D.I.Y. fefll to the wayside.

Nevermind was recorded in the spring of 1991. Following summer tours with Dinosaur Jr. and The Jesus Lizard, Nevermind was released in the fall. Immediately following the release, we went on a tour headlining small venues that culminated with a Halloween Homecoming Show at Seattle's Paramount Theater. This show was filmed and recorded onto multi-track... yielding the version of Negative Creep, used in compliling this record.

Two days later, the band left for another European tour. "School," "Been A Son," "Lithium" and "Blew" were all taken from a show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on November 25, 1991. The show was filmed and recorded on multi-track for Dutch TV. "Spank Thru," this version having been recorded on November 19, 1991 in Rome, was actually the first Nirvana song.

While we were touring Europe, Nevermind was becoming all the rage back home. Though we were kept informed of the momentum, being so far away made us pretty oblivious to the extent of what was happening.

We ended the year with a brief West Coast Tour. The bill included Pearl Jam and Nirvana and was headlined by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The second show of this tour was on December 28, 1991 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (just outside San Diego). For whatever reason, our set was particularly aggressive that night - "Drain You," "Aneurysm" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" were all taken from this recording.

Early in 1992, the band toured Australia and Japan. Later in the summer, we traveled to Europe to make up some Scandinavian shows we had to cancel on the previous tour. The touring highlight of the year, however, was a headlining slot on England's Reading Festival. I have to say that hearing tens of thousands of people sing along with "Lithium" was a very cool moment in the history of the band. We were having fun playing and deciding to stretch the set out a bit - enter "Tourettes," a song which had been around for a few years (and eventually found it's way onto In Utero.)

Following the release of In Utero in 1993, we once again hit the road. Using left over props from the "Heart-Shaped Box" video shoot as set dressing (our first foray into the world of stage props), we concentrated on working up a set that spanned the band's entire career and gave the audience a longer show than we had done on past tours. In that we were playing the "big" halls on this tour, it felt like we needed to bring along a "big" sound... ladies and gentleman, please welcome Pat Smear.

"Scentless Apprentice" was filmed and recorded by MTV for their 1993 New Year's special... recorded at a show at a pier in Seattle. "Heart-Shaped Box" comes from a sound board DAT recording from a show at The Forum in Los Angeles in December, 1993. We took "Milk It" from a sound board recording from the Seattle Center Arena. "Sliver" is taken from a board tape from the Springfiled Civic Center (in Massachusettes)

In presenting this record, we hope that the ultimate allure of Nirvana (and especially Kurt) as well as the passion that we had - and have - for the music we made is once again brought to the forefront. Let all the analysis fall away like yellow, aged newsprint. Crank this record up and realize the bliss, power and passion... TOTAL NIRVANA!

Krist Novoselic


CREDITS

Chad Channing - Drums
Kurt Cobain - Guitar, Vocals
Robert Fisher - Design
Dave Grohl - Drums, Vocals (bckgr)
Lisa Johnson - Photography
Mark Kates - Photography
Scott Litt - Engineer
Bob Ludwig - Mastering
Kevin Mazur - Photography
Craig Montgomery - Engineer
Krist Novoselic - Bass, Liner Notes
Charles Peterson - Photography
Shauna O'Brien - Production Coordination
Craig Overbay - Engineer
Pat Smear - Guitar, Vocals (bckgr)
Diane Stata - Production Coordination
Andy Wallace - Engineer, Mixing


REVIEW

Kurt Cobain's guttural holler kicks off this live album named after a river that runs through the late singer and guitarist's hometown of Aberdeen, Wash. Although these concert recordings – taped at various Nirvana shows between December 1989 and January 1994, just three months before Cobain's suicide – were captured far from Aberdeen's murky waters and logging mills, the songs represent another chance for Nirvana to resolve the disparity between their humble beginnings as a loud, abrasive punk band and their subsequent meteoric rise to fame. Compiled and sequenced by the band's surviving members, bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah is a proud reclamation of the fury, raw power and incredible songwriting that were all but buried under the crush of analysis that followed Cobain's untimely death.

It was not Cobain the artist but Cobain the young man who collapsed under the weight of stardom and his coronation as the voice of a generation, the savior of rock & roll. Still, when listening to the inspired performances on Muddy Banks, one can hardly believe that, by the end of his life, Cobain felt like a fraud, as though he was punching a clock each time he walked onstage. But then, drugs and depression are the ultimate deceivers. What actually comes across on this record is the bittersweet mix of rage and despondency in Cobain's raw exhortations, whether in the grinding pop of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or the two-minute blast of "Sliver." Muddy Banks is not a tribute to a lost soul; it's a gift from his friends. Novoselic and Grohl have given Cobain one last opportunity to piss off your parents, wake the neighbors, blow out your car speakers and traumatize the family dog.

An electric live Nirvana disc was slated to be released in late 1994 as part of a double album with MTV Unplugged in New York, then canceled because Novoselic and Grohl were not yet emotionally ready to comb through so much Nirvana music. As it turns out, both Muddy Banks and Unplugged are strong enough to cut through any imposed legacy. But while the latter acoustic set is transcendental in its subdued conveyance of pain, Muddy Banks is its emotional, visceral flip side. It is riotous and liberating, showing Cobain, Novoselic and Grohl – along with In Utero tour guitarist Pat Smear and, on the two '89 tracks "Polly" and "Breed," early drummer Chad Channing – in their most natural state, smashing instruments and inducing irreversible tinnitus. Even "Teen Spirit" finds Cobain's guitar reeling outside the song's melodic boundaries and sparking new life in that nearly played-out hit. Listening to the roaring crowds pitted against Nirvana's flailing din, you have to wonder how a band this noisy ever got so fucking famous.

At the start of the record, Cobain's introductory shrieks are followed by a wandering Novoselic bass line and the warped groan of Cobain's guitar, which sounds like a monster chain saw. Nirvana then launch into the Sabbath-esque dirge of "School," from the 1989 Bleach album, a gritty preparation for the ensuing crush. "Aneurysm" finds Cobain's voice on fire, seething with so much disgust in the line "Love ya so much, it makes me sick" that it's downright toxic. Yet as rabid as it is in execution, "Aneurysm," like many other Cobain songs here, remains as infectiously melodic as a Beatles tune.

"Drain You" is beefier, badder and even more backwoods than its studio counterpart on Nevermind. A creeping tom-tom beat backs Cobain's carefully timed outbursts of guitar while Novoselic's bass dances on the brink of chaos. The tension finally breaks like an overstressed dam, and the song rushes out as a whitecapped torrent of pure rock & roll bliss. Before slamming into "Milk It," Cobain screws around with arty guitar tunings; then the band squashes that feigned moment of pretension with a thick slab of Seattle-bred noise. These more complex freakouts are offset by the equally awe-inspiring simplicity of numbers like "Been a Son" and the early Sub Pop single "Sliver," Cobain's goofy ode to the childhood travails of being baby-sat by his grandparents ("Had to eat mashed potatoes, stuff like that"). "Sliver" is a reminder to Nirvana wanna-be bands that Cobain's music was about much more than angst.

Cobain's singing on this album is as muddled as it ever was – a frustrated but dire attempt to communicate. It's not as if the words are everything, though, because Cobain's inflections speak volumes. Coupled with the music, the tension in his voice builds from one song to the next as if these performances were all part of one solid show. By the stop-and-start pummeling of "Negative Creep," Cobain sounds as though he is literally going to explode.

In his liner notes to this album, Novoselic advises, "Let all the analysis fall away like yellow, aged newsprint. Crank this record up!" There's one catch: By the end of From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, you want more. Except you can't have it. When Kurt Cobain died, he took it with him.


ALBUMS SECTION
Bleach | Nevermind | Incesticide | In Utero
Unplugged | Muddy Banks | Nirvana | Hormoaning

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