Kurt Cobain Demo to Feature in 'Montage of Heck' Theatrical Re-Release

Untitled song culls from cassette likely recorded around making of 'Nevermind'

A previously unreleased Kurt Cobain demo recording will feature in the theatrical re-release of 'Montage of Heck.' Credit: Michel Linssen/Redferns/Getty

Nirvana fans will be able to hear a previously unreleased song that Kurt Cobain wrote when the documentary, Montage of Heck, gets a widespread theatrical re-release on August 7th. Filmmaker Brett Morgen mixed in the tune – without re-editing what people saw in the film's HBO broadcast – though he would not say where in the movie it would play in an interview with Billboard. "I don't want to get people out there bootlegging it on their cell phones," he said.

The untitled song comes off a demo cassette, one of over a hundred that Morgen sifted through while making the film, and finds Cobain singing in falsetto. Billboard reports that the feel of the song will be familiar to Nirvana fans with "dense slow-shred-slow guitar" and difficult-to-hear lyrics that may or may not be "wonder how I breathe" and "I'm a bad man." The trade magazine likens Cobain's singing to Brian Wilson.

Morgen estimated that the song was recorded in 1991. The cassette he found the tune on also contained a rough version of "Old Age," a song Cobain wrote during the sessions for Nevermind and later released as B side on Hole's "Beautiful Son" and "Violet" singles. A Nirvana recording of that tune would eventually appear on the box set With the Lights Out and deluxe edition of Nevermind.

The filmmaker highlighted that Cobain had a cinematic knack for mixing his recordings that lent themselves well to a movie theater release. "Kurt played around with sound collage, particularly with [stereo] effects," he said. "And it's a sensory experience that really envelops you."

In May, Morgen said he had big plans for a Montage of Heck soundtrack album, which would feature a "treasure chest" of previously unreleased Cobain originals. "It's great material that should be out there in the world," he told KCRW. "I finished the film and there was all this other music. No one asked me to do anything, I just started cutting the thing together and telling the estate that they should put this out." He has yet to announce a release date for the record.

Cobain's legacy, and specifically the way Morgen depicted it in Montage of Heck, has drawn scrutiny on two separate occasions from Cobain's friend and Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne.