Can Paul McCartney pull off grunge? That's the question on everyone's mind going into his performance tonight with the remaining members of Nirvana. It's undoubtedly a weird collaboration, but should we really call it a Nirvana reunion?
McCartney and Nirvana's surviving members—drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic—will reportedly perform together at the big "12.12.12" Hurricane Sandy benefit concert tonight at Madison Square Garden. The artists' representatives haven't confirmed that, but they haven't denied it either. In an interview with U.K. paper The Sun, McCartney said that Grohl invited him over to "jam with some mates." The 70-year-old former Beatle had fun, but at first he didn't understand the session's significance:
I didn’t really know who they were. They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time? And somebody whispered to me ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it.
Does this mean McCartney will take the stage draped in flannel to belt out "Heart Shaped Box" tonight—even though Cobain allegedly once said, "I like the Beatles, but I hate Paul McCartney"? Reaction to the Nirvana "reunion" has united grunge lifers and Beatlemaniacs in outrage:
anyway clearly this Nirvana/McCartney thing is the sign that the hell mouth’s opening was slated for today. smoke em while you got em— maura johnston (@maura) December 12, 2012
I guess Grohl and Novoselic realized they had to outdo Courtney Love in tacky use of the Nirvana legacy— ShitDudeREAL (@dadflannels) December 12, 2012
Um, what the F?Grohl, Novoselic, Pat Smear, and ___?The last choice ever is the answer. Tonight in NYC. metro.co.uk/2012/12/12/pau…— Matt Spiegel (@MattSpiegel670) December 12, 2012
But some remain skeptical, knowing how British tabloids like to blow things out of proportion:
I could be wrong, but this "McCartney to play with Nirvana" story doesn't quite seem right to me. Beware the UK press.— Andy Greene (@greeneandy) December 12, 2012
It's worth noting that this wouldn't be the first time Grohl and Novoselic have played together after Cobain's death. They were both on the new Foo Fighters album from last year, and they've been recording with Nevermind producer Butch Vig lately. On top of that, Paul McCartney will play with just about anyone. Remember his brief stint alongside Linkin Park and Jay-Z?
To find out whether or not McCartney gleefully "oohs" all over "Smells Like Teen Spirit," tune into this livestream tonight:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.