Nirvana fans have read all about the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and probably even watched Michael Stipe’s moving speech. But now the entire 38-minute Nirvana event is available online – including the three-minute video intro, featuring archival commentary from Kurt Cobain and reflective asides from drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic.
“The momentum and excitement at the time was so great because there was just like this new thing happening,” Cobain says toward the beginning of the bittersweet clip, which blends goofy band-shot footage with live performance clips and interviews. “No one could quite pinpoint it, but we knew that we were a part of it.” Elsewhere, Grohl reflects on the band’s explosive live legacy (“There are bands that can either be the greatest band in the world – or a total fuckin’ trainwreck, and Nirvana was kind of one of those bands”) and Novoselic touches on the band’s “big crisis” (“Nirvana didn’t go to the mainstream; the mainstream came to Nirvana”).
Of course, Stipe’s induction is equally awesome, as he talks about missing Cobain and, at one point, quotes Urban Dictionary. “It is the highest calling for an artist, as well as the greatest possible privilege, to capture a moment, to find the zeitgeist, to expose our struggles, our aspirations, our desires, to embrace and define their time,” he says. “That is my definition of an artist. Nirvana captured lightning in a bottle.” After accepting the award, Grohl says he was “the luckiest person in the world” to be in the band, and Novoselic adds a thank you to their fallen friend: “I want to say thank you to Kurt Cobain, and I wish Kurt was here tonight, OK?”
Then there are the wide-ranging performances, with Grohl, Novoselic and guitarist Pat Smear joined by four female rock icons. Joan Jett helps out with a seering “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; Sonic Youth vocalist-bassist Kim Gordon adds abrasive wails to “Aneurysm”; St. Vincent’s Annie Clark helps out with “Lithium” and Lorde assist on “All Apologies.”
Nirvana entered the Rock Hall in their first year of eligibility, alongside an eclectic mix of artists, including Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt.