NFC News 07/2005
July 25, 2005

The movie Last Days had a limited release in US movie theatres on July 22. Loosely based on the final days of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, LAST DAYS is filmmaker Gus Van Sant's meditation on the inner turmoil that engulfs a brilliant, but troubled, musician in the final hours of his life. Michael Pitt (THE DREAMERS) stars as Blake, an introspective artist whose success has left him in a lonely place, where livelihoods rest on his shoulders and old friends regularly tap him for money and favors. LAST DAYS follows Blake through a handful of hours he spends in and near his wooded home, a fugitive from his own life. Expanding on the elliptical style forged in his previous two films, GERRY and the Palme d’Or-winning ELEPHANT, Van Sant layers images and sounds to articulate an emotional landscape, creating a dynamic work about a soul in transition.

To watch a clip from the movie, or the official theatrical trailer, click here. You can also find stills from the movie and additional information. The official website for the movie is available here. For a comprehensive document with production notes and more, click here.

Apparently Kurt's own idols, Sonic Youth, contributed heavily to the film: " 'It was kind of weird at first,' [Sonic Youth frontman, Thurston] Moore said. 'Everything that seems to have been written about [Kurt] was about the mythology and exploiting the subject for the sake of ego. But we trusted Gus [Van Sant - director of the movie]; we thought he would deal with it more like a filmmaker and make it more of an artistic and poetic thing.' Originally, Moore's position on the film was 'music curator', but with his expansive knowledge of and friendship with Cobain, his role soon grew to adviser and mentor to actor Michael Pitt, who plays Cobain doppelganger Blake in the film. The resemblance is eerie and uncanny. 'I spent time with [Pitt] to hip him to the fact that the character he's referencing wasn't just a lost junkie rock star cliché, even though [Cobain] was conflicted about becoming such a thing,' Moore said. '[Cobain] was serious, an intellectual to some degree creatively, and had a very sharp wit. While Michael doesn't necessarily outwardly display all of that onscreen, it was certainly part of his creative thought process.' " Read the full story here, courtesy of MTV. The same link provides an exclusive 5-minute clip from the film.

Gus Van Sant has written an article about meeting Kurt Cobain back in 1991. You can read that here. Finally, a bunch of reviews of the movie are collected here.

View some production stills from the movie below (courtesy of Special Ops Media):

Dave Grohl and Courtney Love are still not on particularly friendly terms it appears. " 'Dave gets to walk away unscathed and be the happy guy in rock, when he's one of the biggest jerks', Love says in the August issue of Spin, on newsstands Friday. 'He's been taking money from my child for years.' " Read the full story here, courtesy of Yahoo! and AP. Courtney was recently admitted to a hospital following an undisclosed medical condition. Read more here. Another story on Courtney here.

A new book by Chuck Klosterman called "Killing Yourself to Live : 85% of a True Story" includes a number of references to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. "Klosterman follows up on 2003's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by expanding on an article he wrote for Spin about driving cross-country to visit several of America's most famous rock and roll death sites, from the Rhode Island club where more than 90 Great White fans died in a fire, to the Iowa field where Buddy Holly's plane crashed. Along the way, Klosterman opines on rock music, never afraid to offend—as when he interprets a Radiohead album as a 9/11 prophecy or reminds readers that before Kurt Cobain's suicide, many preferred Pearl Jam to Nirvana." You can find a transcript of the Nirvana/Cobain mentions in the book here. Special thanks to Kelly for this one. You can order the book here.

July 16, 2005

Rolling Stone recently did a lengthy interview with Dave Grohl where he talks openly about his Nirvana years for a change. As for whether Grohl remembers the first time Kurt Cobain dived into his drum kit, he replies: "It was on the first tour I did with him in England. Before I joined the band, I'd only seen Nirvana play once, and I didn't even watch them. I saw the first few songs and wound up outside talking to an old friend. Danny Peters from Mudhoney was playing drums -- this is the day after I flew up to join the band -- and I was told not to tell anyone why I was there, because they didn't want to freak out Danny. He's amazing, but I think they wanted a different kind of drummer. So the first time I really watched Nirvana was when I was auditioning for the band in a gnarly rehearsal space we shared with Tad -- I didn't know Kurt had a habit of diving into drummers. So in England, he jumped into my drum kit like some sort of Evel Knievel shit. It looked so painful. I mean, it's like diving into a pile of sheet metal. Kurt said once that he aspired to be a stuntman, so whether it was putting firecrackers underneath his shirt to look like he was being shot or jumping off the roof of his house with a cape, he had no fear and a high tolerance for pain. Launching yourself into a set of drums fucking leaves marks. It's crazy." In the rest of the interview he talks about his time in Nirvana, Krist, Kurt and Pat, the last year of the band and the MTV Unplugged show. Read the interview here.

Pat Smear, former member of Nirvana, is currently producing a movie about The Germs - the legendary punk band of which he was a founding member. You can follow how the movie is coming along here.

July 3, 2005

A new tribute album to Nirvana has been released: The Piano Tribute to Nirvana which is out on Vitamin Records. The album interprets some of Nirvana's legendary songs in classical piano arrangements. More info here.

"The Piano Tribute to Nirvana interprets [Nirvana's] songs with the fitting sounds of florid keys, flourishing and focusing on those Nirvana tunes that really made you FEEL. 'Lithium', 'All Apologies', as well as many other unforgettable gems are delivered in classical piano arrangements, providing a warm musical utopia, lifting the listener to a state of nirvana."

Also released recently by Vitamin Records is a tribute to the Foo Fighters: The Shape and Colour of my Heart.

"The catchy hooks of Foo Fighters songs are well suited to string arrangements. A collective of talented musicians utilize cello, viola and violins to take Dave Grohl's music to majestic new heights; 'Everlong' and 'Learn to Fly' take on anthemic qualities that are surprising and beautiful. This re-issue of 'The String Quartet Tribute to Foo Fighters' also includes two brand new interpretations of classic tracks 'Monkey Wrench' and 'My Hero'." More info.

If you would like to buy a copy of either of these albums, NFC has worked out an exclusive deal with the label. Simply enter a coupon code when you order one of the albums, and you will get the other one absolutely free! To use this offer, you need to register as a member on the Vitamin records website first. Then, when you are at the checkout page of the online ordering process, enter this code: QNGTNHQXL. To order, go here and click 'add to cart'. Important: You must add both CDs to your shopping cart to use this offer.

NFC'er Justin Williams recently visited Seattle and shot some photos of the park close to Kurt's home, the actual house he lived in and some other nearby scenery. You can find a big zip file with all the photos here. These photos are only for use on this website.

A soundtrack for the movie Last Days was recently released. The CD plays for 65 minutes and features previously unreleased music by Michael Pitt (who is Blake in the film) and a classic song by Velvet Underground. Other artists on the CD include The Hermitt, Lukas Haas and Tenlons Fort. You can order the CD from the online MK2 store.

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