Chris Schulz: Lorde + Nirvana? It shouldn't have happened

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Nirvana's Rock Hall of Fame performance should never have happened, writes Chris Schulz.
Lorde and Dave Grohl perform at the 29th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York. Photo/Getty.
Lorde and Dave Grohl perform at the 29th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York. Photo/Getty.

I know their intentions were good. After all, you can't fault the rock pedigree of grunge vets Dave Grohl, Krist Noveselic and Pat Smear. Legendary hardly begins to cover their accomplishments.

The Nirvana trio - minus Kurt Cobain, obviously - wouldn't have been inducted in the Rock Hall of Fame if they hadn't proved their integrity, and knack for writing killer rock tunes, over the past 20-odd years.

And you can't criticise the singers standing in for Cobain during their induction performance: Kim Gordon and Joan Jett are icons of the rock world with decades of amp-destroying achievements behind them, while Lorde and St Vincent are rising stars well on their way to matching their elders' status.

They simply said 'yes' to a proposal that probably sounded pretty exciting when pitched to them.

But there was one thought going through my mind while watching - 'cringing' might be a better word - Nirvana's Rock Hall of Fame induction performance on Friday.

Kurt would have hated that.

I hated it too. It shouldn't have happened. The first time I tried to watch it, I turned it off in disgust. This morning I forced myself to hatewatch it again in case I was missing something. I wasn't. It was wrong, all wrong.

I'm particularly incensed about Lorde attempting All Apologies. She's great and you can't blame her for taking part. Could you say no to Dave Grohl?

But it's Nirvana's best song, a stunningly raw ballad that, if you read Kurt's chilling lyrics closely, read as something of an epithet considering what happened just months later.

No one should sing that song but Kurt.

I spent all weekend wondering why this 15-minute performance angered me so much. After all, should anyone really care about a Nirvana reunion when defunct bands reform for nostalgia tours on a seemingly weekly basis, and holographic tours by dead stars are coming soon to a stage near you?

Then it hit me: the great thing about Nirvana's legacy is that it's remained firmly in the 90s. They've never done an Alice in Chains and found a new singer. They haven't played with a Kurt hologram - and you just know there have been multi-million dollar offers. Courtney Love didn't do an In Utero solo tour. There hasn't been a Nevermind dubstep remix album. Thank God.

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Dave and Krist have never played Nirvana songs live since Kurt's death until now for a very good reason: alongside Kurt they achieved something that will never happen again. They changed rock music forever. It's unquestionable. There's nothing they can do to better that. They don't need stuffy pencil pushers from Rock's Hall of Fame telling them that. Just like they don't need other musicians - especially ones who weren't even alive at the time - performing their songs.

Their legacy was untouchable - until now.

All apologies? Someone needs to start apologising then.

* What did you think of Nirvana's Rock Hall of Fame induction performance? Post your comments below.

- nzherald.co.nz

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