Kurt Cobain

Newly surfaced, pre-Nirvana mixtape offers a glimpse into Kurt Cobain's mind

The mixtape, "Montage of Heck," is 36 minutes long and mixes together disparate sounds to incredible effect


Sarah Gray
November 4, 2014 12:55AM (UTC)

At the age of 21 -- before the release of Nirvana's debut album, "Bleach," in 1989 -- Kurt Cobain made a mixtape titled "Montage of Heck." The legendary grunge artist's mixtape was recently uncovered by Dangerous Minds, and published on Vimeo by SpaceEcho two years ago.

"Montage of Heck" is 36 minutes long and mixes ambient noise with snippets of Led Zepplin, The Beatles, Queen, Frank Zappa and many others. Of the composition, Dangerous Minds writes:

Advertisement:

"Kurt assembled 'Montage of Heck' around 1988 using a 4-track cassette recorder. It features sounds from Kurt’s wide-ranging collection of LPs, manipulated recordings of the radio, elements of Nirvana demos, and sounds created or recorded by Cobain. The list of artists that Kurt appropriated for 'Montage of Heck,' reproduced at the end of this post, is fairly mind-blowing for a 21-year-old punker with (remember) no access to Napster, Spotify, Discogs, or Allmusic.com. In short, Kurt was the real deal—as if we didn’t already know.

The mixtape, via SpaceEcho, and full track list are below, allowing listeners to dip briefly into the creative mind of Kurt Cobain:

From Dangerous Minds:

“The Men In My Little Girl’s Life” by Mike Douglas
“The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” by The Beatles
“A Day In The Life” by The Beatles
“Eruption” by Van Halen
“Hot Pants” by James Brown
“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” by Cher
“Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond
“Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver
“Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin
“The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis, Jr.
“In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly
“Wild Thing” by William Shatner
“Taxman” by The Beatles
“I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family
“Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” by The Barbarians
“Queen Of The Reich” by Queensryche
“Last Caress/Green Hell” covered by Metallica
“Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
“Get Down, Make Love” by Queen
“ABC” by The Jackson Five
“I Want Your Sex” by George Michael
“Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden
“Eye Of The Chicken” by Butthole Surfers
“Dance of the Cobra” by Butthole Surfers
“The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave” by Butthole Surfers
“New Age” by The Velvet Underground
“Love Buzz” by Shocking Blue
Orchestral music from 200 Motels by Frank Zappa
“Help I’m A Rock” / “It Can’t Happen Here” by Frank Zappa
“Call Any Vegetable” by Frank Zappa
“The Day We Fall In Love” by The Monkees
“Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath (intro)
Theme from The Andy Griffith Show
Mike Love (of The Beach Boys) talking about “Transcendental Meditation”
Excerpts of Jimi Hendrix speaking at the Monterey Pop Festival
Excerpts of Paul Stanley from KISS’ Alive!
Excerpts of Daniel Johnston screaming about Satan
Excerpts from sound effects records
Various children’s records (Curious George, Sesame Street, The Flintstones, Star Wars).


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

MORE FROM Sarah Gray


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Cool Culture Kurt Cobain "montage Of Heck" Music Nirvana Video

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •