Nirvana

Here We Are Now
Nirvana

Information

Rumour has it that the lyrics to Nirvana's 1991 smash "Smells Like Teen Spirit" may have been inspired by a song from Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. As far as we know, this is unsubstantiated -- but if anyone out there has any evidence of a real connection, please mail it to us. (For example, a photograph of Kurt and Courtney reading selections from V. to their baby would be just fine.)
According to the rumor, the song in question appears on page 538 of the Viking edition of Gravity's Rainbow. We will print both songs below; ytou decide if they are related!

Lyrics

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Load up on guns and bring your friends
It's fun to lose and to pretend
She's over bored and self assured
Oh no, I know, a dirty word

hello, hello, hello, how low?
With the lights out it's less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My Libido

I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
It was hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind

A denial . . . .

From Gravity's Rainbow

"I'll tell you it's just --out, --ray, --juss,
Spirit is so --con, --tay, --juss,
Nobody knows their a-ges. . .

Walkin' through bees of hon --ney,
Throwin' away --that --mon, --ney,
Laughin' at things so --fun --ny,
Spirit's comin' through --to, --you!

Nev --ver, --mind, watcha hear from your car,
Take a lookit just --how --keen --they are,
Nev --ver, --mind, --what, your calendar say,
Ev'rybody's nine months old today! Hey,
Pages are turnin' pages.
Nobody's in --their, --ca,--ges,
Spirit's just so --con, --ta, --gious--
Just let the Spirit --move, --for, --you!

SIDEBAR (beside verses 1 and 2):
"Where did the swing band come from? She's bouncing up and down, she wants to be jitterbugged, he sees she wants to lose her gravity --"

CDs

Nevermind
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1991
Our Price: $13.99 ~ You Save: $3.98


Bleach
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1990
Our Price: $11.49 ~ You Save: $0.48

Nevermind [Gold Disc]
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1996
Our Price: $23.37 ~ You Save: $2.60

Incesticide
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1992
Our Price: $11.49 ~ You Save: $0.48

In Utero
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1993
Our Price: $13.99 ~ You Save: $3.98

In Utero [Gold Disc]
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1997
Our Price: $23.37 ~ You Save: $2.60

MTV Unplugged In New York
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1994
Our Price: $13.99 ~ You Save: $3.98

From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah
Nirvana / Audio CD / Released 1996
Our Price: $13.99 ~ You Save: $3.98

Links

All-Music Guide -- The AMG entry on Nirvana.

Nirvana Card -- At the Ultimate Band List, this page has a collection of links to Nirvana Web sites and information.

 

Anderson, Laurie.
Famous New York performance artist Laurie Anderson dedicated a song to Pynchon on her Mister Heartbreak album.

Benatar, Pat.
Believe it or not, she named a final album Gravity's Rainbow.

Benny Profane.
English hard rockers from Liverpool, they took their name from a character in V.

Blowtorch, Eric
Reggae influenced artist putting Pynchon's lyrics to music.

Cassiber.
An avant garde German group used Gravity's Rainbow to tell a different tale.

Corey, Prof. Irwin.
The man who was the infamous stand-in for Thomas Ruggles Pynchon.

Dangtrippers.
They recorded Maxwell's Demon Box on their album, Days Between Stations.

Einhorn, Richard.
Another rendition of music devoted to the Demon, and much more.

Fariña, Richard.
An long-time friend of Pynchon, this folkie named an instrumental work after a Pynchon novel.

Favorite Color, The.
A New Jersey band sets a selection from V. to music on their album Color Out of Space (1996).

Fool, The.
Surely not Slothrop's band, this was a short lived group which did, in fact, have a harmonica player.

Forked Yew.
Independent, highly experimental rockers and Pynchon fans from the American South.

Frith & Kaiser.
An instrumental pair with a piece called The Kirghiz Light.

Hall, Ed.
An early 90's band influenced by Pynchon, they named a song Roger Mexico.

Insect Trust.
This jazzy, psychedelic group mined V. for lyrics to The Eyes of a New York Woman.

Jazz Butcher.
AKA Pat Fish, who named a track Looking for Lot 49 on his Fishcoteque album.

Jones, Spike.
Pynchon himself wrote the liner notes for Spiked!

Knopfler, Mark.
The Sultan of Swing sails to Philadelphia!

Koron, Barry.
Weilding the Sjambok never felt so good!

Lot 49 (Ontario).
This now retired hardcore outfit hailed from the hometown of Spermatikos Logos' own Laurence Daw.

Lot 49 (NYC).
Indie NYC rockers named after Pynchon's second novel.

Lotion.
A New York group whose liner notes were penned by the Man himself.

 

Maas.
A visit to San Narciso.

Nirvana.
Was the famous tune Smells Like Teen Spirit acutally inspired by a song from Gravity's Rainbow?

Nova Mob.
A "Rock Opera" filled with references to Gravity's Rainbow.

Ocker, David.
Musical meditations on Eight Facts About
Thomas Pynchon
.

Okasek, Ric.
Ride The Rocket with the former frontman of The Cars.

 

Pere Ubu.
David Thomas' legendary, seminal band shows some Pynchon influences.

PopCanon.
These literate Indies hail from Flordia, and have a song about Wanda Tinasky which is highly recomm-ended!

Poster Children.
This group from Champaign, Illinois, covers a lot of Pynchon ground!

Radiohead.
English art-rockers who incorporate many Pynchon motifs into their work.

Rapoon.
An offshoot of Zoviet France, Robin Storey's group named Rapoon released an album called The Kirghiz Light.

Sauter & Dietrich, Moore.
More liner notes written by Pynchon !!

 

Six Finger Satellite.
Indie electro-rock futurists Six Finger Satellite make a reference to Gravity's Rainbow.

Soft Machine.
Seminal "proggies," they recorded a full-scale work called Esther's Nose Job in 1969.

Spock's Beard.
In memory of "the evil Spock," they do homage to V.

Time in Malta.
A California metal group with a name taken from V.

Ware, Tim.
Pynchon scholar, Web master, and MIDI Musician.

Whole Sick Crew, The.
Purveyors of pirate folk-punk, truly a gang like their Pynchon namesakes.

XXX Atomic Toejam.
F. Thorendal, from praised thrash-heroes Meshuggah, gets one in for the Vikings.

Yo La Tengo.
Making music indebted to The Crying of Lot 49.

Yoyodyne.
Related to New York's Lot 49, ths Florida group also takes their name from Pynchon's work.

Zevon, Warren.
He recently released an album containing work inspired by Pynchon.

 


--Dr Larry Daw
& A. Ruch
21 May 2000