With the Lights Out, the long-delayed box set of rare Nirvana recordings will finally hit stores on November 23rd. The Universal Music set will include three CDs of unreleased Nirvana audio recordings and one DVD of rare video footage. Retailers predict the box will be one of fall's biggest releases, along with new albums from U2 and Eminem.
"I think that in its first week it will be our biggest box set ever," says music buyer Carl Mello of Boston's Newbury Comics. "We'll bring in quantity on that first week like what we would bring in on a superstar's new album."
Though the box was still in production in mid-September, it will probably include fifty tracks culled from the band's archives of unreleased studio demos, rare B-sides and selected live oddities. In a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic said that tracks will likely include material from "KAOS radio 1987, BBC Peel Sessions, studio outtakes, sessions that we did in north Seattle, Rio de Janeiro, In Utero outtakes, live stuff." He also said to expect the "Butch Vig raw mix of 'Teen Spirit,' a rough cut that's really different."
More important to many fans, the box may include some of Cobain's demo recordings. Courtney Love told the magazine in 2002 that she possessed 109 tapes of Cobain's solo material, which she believed contained about eight "solidly good" acoustic songs never heard before. "On those tapes are everything from shitty collages to some pretty stunning, awe-inspiring songs to stupid, fucked-up shit," she said. Three such songs are "The Son," which she called "magical"; "Opinions," described as "funny and sad"; and "Ivy League," which she said was "sick."
The box was originally planned for release in 2001 but was derailed by battles between Love and Nirvana members Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, which eventually led to a lengthy court case in 2001. The case was settled in 2002 with an agreement that initially resulted in the 2002 greatest-hits album Nirvana, which includes the previously unreleased "You Know You're Right." All parties approved the box-set idea this summer, and production on it commenced soon after.
The DVD included in the set is the first official Nirvana DVD release of any kind. The disc contains several rare promotional films, along with video of a 1987 house party the band played during its first year of existence. A sixty-page booklet will accompany the set.