Cover #5 – Nirvana, “Pennyroyal Tea”

05 Apr

Cover #5 of our month long covers project is Nirvana’s “Pennyroyal Tea”, from the album In Utero, released in 1993 and written by Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl.

Fifteen years ago, give or take a day, Kurt Cobain decided he couldn’t take it anymore.  Oh sure, big whiny rock star couldn’t count all his money, boo hoo.  Well, actually, the man had an incurable, brutally painful stomach problem that no one could possibly diagnose or cure.  The only thing that stopped him from hurting was heroin.  Then the heroin stopped working.

Should he have killed himself?  Of course not.  No one knows what he’d be doing today.  Nirvana would probably be in their “reunion tour” phase, and Frances Bean would have a Daddy to protect her from Courtney.  Who is, I’m sure, a good mother.

Fifteen years ago was April 5, and people generally assume that’s the day he died.  That night, Pearl Jam played Boston, and at the time very few people outside the “scene” in Seattle even knew Kurt was missing.  Eddie Vedder knew, and before they launched into the first live performance of “Immortality” ever, he said “this song’s for Kurt, wherever he is.”  Considering that song is probably about “not being able to handle fame,” it’s kind of creepy.

They found his body that Friday,  April 8.  It was the day of my friend Jeff’s 15th birthday party.  I got home from school and got a call from my friend Brian.  As I was running to answer the phone, my flannel shirt caught on the doorknob and ripped in half.

Brian told me Kurt Cobain killed himself, and I didn’t believe it cuz it was Brian, but then I turned on the radio and there it was.  The guys at Jeff’s house hadn’t heard the news either and I wound up having to tell them.  These are the things where we remember exactly where we were.

Anyway, here’s an unplugged Nirvana cover.  This song’s really about nothing, except Kurt feeling bummed and not being able to cure his tummy troubles.  Still, I’ve always been fond of it.

Download.  Stream.  Don’t distribute, don’t sell, don’t burn out or fade away, maaaan.

Next up…: Circus freaks.


Posted by on April 5, 2009 in April Covers, history, music


2 responses to “Cover #5 – Nirvana, “Pennyroyal Tea”

  1. beth

    April 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Not a song about nothing.

  2. geekusa

    April 6, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Oh, I knew about the herb, and its use as an abortive, which is probably what Kurt was talking about – he wanted to get rid of his stomach pain, and personified it as a fetus, which is where Pennyroyal Tea comes from. The song’s mostly about that…. except the Leonard Cohen afterworld line, which sounds nice but means nothing.


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