Pat Smear Thinks Nirvana Should Perform Without Kurt Cobain: 'Why the F--k Not?'

"I wouldn't be surprised if it happened," the guitarist says.

Ultimate Guitar

Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear commented on the idea of the band performing without late frontman Kurt Cobain, saying it's something the surviving members should most definitely do.

Smear, who joined Nirvana in 1993 as a second guitarist, told Digital Spy that the thought of jamming Nirvana tunes is "different for those guys than it is for me," referring to his bandmates.

"I know Nirvana's a strange thing," he explained. "It means a lot of things to a lot of people. I personally wouldn't have a problem with it."

The axeman continued, "Yeah, why the f--k wouldn't we play Nirvana songs?! That's my attitude. I get it, y'know, but I don't know ... for me it's like, 'Why wouldn't we?' It was one of those crazy things. It was fun, it was amazing. It's great to play with those guys again - always. We've done it enough times now that it kind of feels comfortable."

When asked about who would take over the frontman duties in such situation, Smear was slightly caught off guard, saying, "I've never thought about who else could do it. It was one of those things that just happened. I can imagine the three of us hanging out together, somewhere, with something or jamming."

He concluded, "So I don't really know. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't. There's no-one in particular that I've thought of or thought about."

Do you think Nirvana should fully get back on track without Cobain? And who do you think could front the band? Let us know in the comments.

214 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Jacques Nel
    I really don't like this idea. Kurt's voice was a fundamental part of Nirvana's signature sound. This won't work without him.
    Death are doing a tribute tour at the moment, so far it's looking good, something like that would be fine, but a proper reunion? Nah I don't think so, look at what happened to Black Flag.
    How would you describe what happened with Black Flag?
    How 'bout Courtney Love as the singer/guitarist? Bwaahaaaaa.... sorry, had to throw it out there.
    Although Greg Ginn writes most of the band's material, he has seriously lost the plot when it comes to songwriting, I'd rather listen to Family Man for all eternity than listen to the new stuff, the guy has taken a massive dump on the band's legacy.
    If they couldn't find a decent enough singer for a reunion, I think Dave could sing if they found another drummer and had Dave is the singer/guitarist. His voice isn't identical to Kurt's, no, but he could pull off a good show.
    Jacques Nel
    ..and all I mean is I really don't think anyone should produce more Nirvana CD's with a different singer, would be terrible. Like new material
    if you let dave sing Courtney Love will probably through another hissy fit and try sue them
    Courtney can't sue. She owns 0% of Nirvana now. In 2010 when Frances turned 18 she got 37% of Nirvana and the rights to Kurt's likeness
    Or they could ya know....get Chad ****ing Channing to play drums with them. I mean no offense to Dave (i like his drumming quite a bit) but Chad is THE drummer for Nirvana. So the line-up would be Dave - vocals/guitar Krist - bass/sometimes vocals Pat - guitar Chad - drums
    THE drummer? Hmmm, Dale Crover & Dave would beg to differ...
    Dale wasn't with them for all that long and is primarily with Melvins. And even if Nirvana got back together, if they wanted someone who was in the band other than Dave to drum they'd either have to go with Chad or Aaron Burkhard. Because Dale is already committed to Melvins and I doubt he'd leave to play stuff with a reunited Nirvana. He and Buzz are the longest lasting members of ANY Melvins lineup even though Dale was their second drummer. And thats what I meant with the "Chad is THE drummer for Nirvana" thing. Out of all the rest of the drummers that they had (minus Dave of course because hes a ****ing machine) hes probably the one who'd more than likely do it since he may or may not have other obligations that would prevent him from doing stuff with them. I will say that Dale is a really great drummer. I love all of his stuff with Melvins, the stuff he did do with Nirvana, and the stuff he did with Shrinebuilder.
    Jacques Nel
    You just described the Foo Fighter's with guest star Krist Novoselic performing Nirvana Songs
    And what'd be wrong with that? The Foo Fighters are awesome and they'd do a good job of performing as Nirvana. Honestly, I don't know why people would get so uppity about them 'being' Nirvana just because Kurt isn't there. I'm not saying that Nirvana should produce more records, but I think having Nirvana around as a touring band every few years would be satisfactory for almost (if not) everyone.
    Jacques Nel
    Dude, watch a DVD of Nirvana performing live and realize that this idea would NEVER produce anything nearly as great as the original Nirvana's performance.
    See this is what I hate about fanboys and fangirls... The same shit went down when Queen went on tour with Paul Rodgers. Yes! He is not the same. Yes, he doesn't sound like him, and the songs weren't written with him in mind, but why the **** wouldn't a band play songs just because it'll sound different? Who says it has to sound the same anyway? Just because the original was great it should never again be performed for the people that never got to hear it? I think Pat is on to something and Nirvana should regroup. Either with Dave on vocals or someone else. Who knows... Maybe someone will come around that can FULLY pull it of.
    This is very different than the Queen reunion imo. Kurt was responsible for almost all of Nirvana's sound, he wrote nearly all the songs, and gave them a distinctive voice and guitar sounds. In Queen you had all 4 writing, and Brian Many was a huge part of their sound. Regardless of anyone's opinion, Mercury was not the sole creative voice in Queen. Kurt essentialy was for Nirvana. It would be completely unfair to him to have his songs covered by "Nirvana" just so Pat Smear could get a payday and have fun, I like to think that the songs he wrote meant much more than that.
    It's not about trying to be as good or even trying to beat their original performances, it's about bringing Nirvana back into the world as a band that people can actually go and see live. I don't care if Kurt isn't there, it'd still be a Nirvana performance. Queen doesn't have Freddy M., but that doesn't stop them bringing Queen to their fans and they've done a bloody good job too. Avenged Sevenfold doesn't have The Rev, Metallica doesn't have Cliff and Slipknot doesn't have Paul Gray; no, it's not quite the same as losing a singer, but the point is that they're still able to put on a good show and entertain millions around the world. Stop trying to enforce this 'original Nirvana' bullshit and let Nirvana come back into the world.
    "Stop trying to enforce this 'original Nirvana' bullshit and let Nirvana come back into the world". Surely your realize how ridiculous your statement sounds.....
    Sammy Mantis
    "I don't care if Kurt isn't there, it'd still be a Nirvana performance." This is where most people would probably disagree.
    Ac dc have had at least 3 singers. Black Sabbath. Evans blue. Flyleaf. 10 years. Killswitch Engage. Three Days Grace. I'm sure there are lots of other bands that have had more than one singer.
    Sammy Mantis
    Kurt wasn't just a singer though, he WAS Nirvana. This would be like Smashing Pumpkins without Billy Corgan. Primus without Les Claypool. White Stripes without Jack White. It would simply never work. Ever.
    Bonus upvote for including Claypool! I think it's being misinterpreted, I guess Pat's talking about a one off jam or live performance, like Dave was considering around the Sound City thing, I believe he (Dave) even went as far as saying they got in touch with PJ Harvey about doing "Milk It" or similar but schedules conflicted
    I'm with you and all of those who would welcome this. I saw Alice In Chains just last night. The last time I saw them live was 1993. It still tears me up that Layne is gone, but I'm really glad that those guys are still around, making good music. And I certainly don't begrudge them using the AIC moniker. I'm not saying that Layne had as much to do with the writing in AIC, but his voice was so unique and powerful, that it cannot be argued that he was not a very large part of their original sound. William's doing a great job for them, so if the Nirvana guys all want to get it fired up, more power to them!!
    Yeah! Kurts voice breaking, his singing out of tune and the sound of his shitty guitar that was never in tune can't be replicated...
    Well thats a dumbass argument. Even bands that are still with all original members sound worse then when they were selling the most albums. No one would expect to say this Nirvana sounds better then the original version. Its just bringing it back for the fans that want to hear there songs live again, go out have a few beers hear some good tunes. .....While you sit in the back drinking out of a tea cup with your pinky held high talking crap to yourself about the good old days.
    Nobody else in the world could either, Dave isn't a BAD choice, we all know any outsider who tried would be massively be shunned.
    Dave has said that the whole point of starting the Foo Fighters was to move out of the shadow of Nirvana. While I think them playing Nirvana songs again together would be a great idea, the realistic fact is that it would be VERY difficult to find someone who could play the role of Kurt - both in his singing and his presence. That said, I love Pat's attitude about this. It really shouldn't be about what fans or "Nirvana purists" think the band should do - Dave and Krist (and to a lesser extent Pat) were as much a part of Nirvana as Kurt was. And while he may be hard to replace, if those guys find someone to fill the role (I doubt Dave would want to do it) and really want to do it, they should just do it
    Not too long ago, Dave said in an interview he'd consider using P.J. Harvey
    Why doesn't Dave just take over as front man? I mean he did do most of the backing vocals and harmonies during his time in the band.
    Then its just like the Foo Fighters though... half the same setup.
    Also, it's not Nirvana without Dave on the drums. He has a very distinctive style that helped make them sound the way they did. I say, just leave the thing alone, it was good then, so just leave it that way.Anything else, and they're just pissing on it.
    Just for reference, I don't mean McCartney to cover Nirvana songs. But I really wish they would form a new band.
    the way he sang and played that song with nirvana for that huricane fund i can defienetly see him sing nirvana songs
    i dunno if McCartney's voice would be able to handle an entire shows worth of Nirvana songs. who knows though. the dude still got it...
    really? im getting downvoted for that? even while saying i could be wrong. oh UG'ers... you kids crack me up.
    Yeah. Nirvana isn't Nirvana without Cobain, but they could make it a new band. Almost like what Vista Chino is to Kyuss.
    I think Pat Smear works in my local kebab house. Is he one of the 'big name' musicians doing a regular job that that Misfits guy was on about?
    Get Back without The Leader of the band, No way. No one can't front nirvana without kurt's Rebel singing stlye and Sloppy playing.
    Foo Fighters are greater than Nirvana could have ever dreamed of being. Dave Grohl is ten time the artist that the Prima donna **** Kurt was. Whatever Dave touches is gold. People need to forget about Kurt already.
    How about they are both good in their respective ways so this doesn't have to be dumb contest between the two and their individualities.
    Obvious troll. If not, then I apologize and I just feel sorry for you.
    In this day and age with all the comments by teenagers, I wouldn't be surprised if this was serious or not. The tweens are blurring the lines of trolldom because they are trolls in real life
    Flying Afros
    I may get a lot of hate from this but... Robb Flyyn from Machine Head? They did a pretty good cover of Negative Creep as a bonus track of The Blackening. Plus he'd add a different sound to the band, so it wouldn't be trying to just be a straight copy off the original lineup. Other than that I think Dave would be the only logical choice. Or maybe Mark Arm from Mudhoney, but I doubt he'd do that. Side note, that pic of Pat Smear is hilarious.
    As long as they perform under a different name, play different songs, and never allow Pat Smear to do an interview again...why the f**k not?
    Well yeah, for many out there Nirvana and Kurt are a similar thing. And hey, why the hell not, as he was the frontman/singer. But here's the point: it's not about the singer... it's about the songs! And what worked with Sublime and Queen... why wouldn't it work with Nirvana? Rome brought Sublime back as a live band... I couldn't want anything more! Queen did an amazing job with Paul Rogers for a new generation and many people who never were able to see them live... and they had to replace the greatest vocalist in a rockband for the last century. Nirvana only has to replace Kurt... or better to say, his voice. And not everyone might agree, but his qualities as a singer were limited... screamin, shoutin, takin the anger and the pain into the performance, that was what his sound was mostly about. We might be missing his personality, his charisma, his on stage presence... but we would be able to rock to the songs again. And ain't this the real reason why we go on concerts anyway?
    If they did it, it should only be a handful of shows, or maybe even just one simulcast to theaters. Get Shaun Morgan to front them for the stretch. Nirvana featuring Shaun Morgan. Dude sounds creepily like Kurt when he does Nirvana songs, and he is such a huge fan. Have all the proceeds from ticket/concession sales go to suicide awareness and prevention non-profits.
    pat: "why the f--k not??" - So who's gonna be your frontman? pat: "... I don't know."
    I never really liked Pat Smear. I feel like he adds absolutely nothing to the Foo Fighters, and when he's wiggling around on stage, I just get the feeling that they unplugged his amp and told him to go nuts.
    That's one way to look at it I suppose... In all reality though, he is a better guitarist than anyone commenting on this article right now, I'll bet that
    Watch the Back and Front DVD and you'll get a better idea of Smear's sound.
    Back and Forth* (not trying to be a grammar nazi, just want this guy to see the right doc.)
    And did he really join Nirvana in 93? I'm not a diehard fan but this is news to me.
    This is like STP going out with Bennington and still calling it the same thing... Please don't kill another previously great alternative group, Pat.
    I saw 'Nirvana' at a Foo Fighters show in 2011. Pat Smear, Dave Grohl, and a guest appearance from Krist (albeit on accordion). Informal appearances like that are cool, but i can't see a legit 'Nirvana' show happening - there's a reason Dave and Krist haven't done it for all these years (yeah, I know about the thing with McCartney, but to be fair they didn't go ahead and call it Nirvana themselves, that was the hype machine).
    Kurt killed himself so it doesn't really effect anyone if they play the songs... RIP buddy
    Clearly Pat has no reservations about reuniting without the lead singer. His old band The Germs reunited with Shane West replacing Darby Crash, as sacrilegious as that was.
    Shaun Morgan from Seether can do it. His covers sound pretty good. But why would they? Dave Grohl doesn't need to bother lol.
    Thing is loads of bands with unique singers have carried on. Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots,Queen, Black Sabbath etc. The only difference is people being really butthurt that Kurt Cobain won't be there. He's dead he can't come back, it sucks yes but that's the way it is. A tribute to Nirvana with guest vocalists would be the best way to go though. Guys that were friends of the band and guys influenced by them seems the best route
    What About Thin Lizzy, Lynott was the embodyment of that band, maybe they should start a new band, like the Black Star Riders, and write something new, and play some old ones too?
    I was thinking that too. Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets or Mark Arm from Mudhoney. Or perhaps some new talent, who wouldn't have the stigma of trying to emulate Kurt.
    That would be the same as Queen teaming up with Paul Rodgers or Adam lambert. It sounds OK, but it's just not the same. so yeah it would be cool, but why would you do it when you have the foo fighters as 1 of the biggest bands around at this day and age.
    That's like saying why noodles when you can eat macaroni. They are two different bands with different music. Yeah... Why listen to the Ramones when I can listen to the Offsping or NOFX...
    Last time I checked i didn't even get close to comparing their music. I'm just saying this already happened with queen and it was OK but it wasn't queen. wtf does the music genre have to do with this?
    perhaps they should do auditions from the public like billy corgan did with the smashing pumpkins.
    I dont think there's anyone that will come close to living up to Cobain's legacy. Although I support the idea, it's just that it won't be the same without Kurt. There's a lot of frontmen that can be replaced (hi Scott!), but Kurt just isn't one of them.
    Shaun Morgan. Just a reunion tour, no new stuff, that would not be Nirvana. Just something for the fans.
    "Just something for the fans"? As a fan since the early nineties I must say that I would be deeply offended. Just leave it where it is. They are already sniffing at the limits when releasing these "super deluxe" packages. And yes, I am buying them too.
    As a fan since the early 90s you are in the lucky position to have been able to see Nirvana songs live being played by members of Nirvana. Not all of us are so lucky, so we'd really like this one thing.
    Actually, no. I was not even 10 when I was introduced to Nirvana (and yes, I actually did enjoy them quite a bit) and I have never seen them live. I dont see this Smear-idea as anything positive. Nirvana is not Nirvana without Kurt. And since Pat didnt even write any of their material I think he should stick to a Germs-spinoff if anything. Dont touch this legacy.
    Considering the fact that the guy practically worships Cobain and Nirvana, they're live shows are fairly similar to a Nirvana show. If it were a reunion tour, I think he'd be great.
    I saw Seether in 2011, when they opened for Three Days Grace and Avenged Sevenfold. They ****ing stole that show! Uproar 2011 was all theirs, 3DG and A7X were like afterglow by the time they showed up.
    i was gonna say the same thing but i figured id get downvoted like hell i think he would be perfect for it
    The chunky guy from Seether standing in for Kurt Cobain? God...I hope you're autistic.
    I really can't see a problem with these guys going together, having some fun and writing some new tunes. The only problem i see in this is that they keep on calling it a Nirvana Re-union. I believe their frontman is gone and therefore they can't call it Nirvana anymore. But that should'n hold them back to do something great together, with a new frontman AND a new name. To me it's like Queen without Freddy, Tool without Maynard, or Metallica without James. What do you think?
    You have lots of great points, but I still think they can call it Nirvana, Kurt Cobain wasn't the only one who made the music, it was the band as a whole, and they still have enough members to make a worthy Nirvana re-union. It's kind off like when Peter Gabriel quit Genesis and Phill Collins became the lead singer, the band had changed but you still had the feeling like you were listening to Genesis
    By "made the music" do you mean actually writing it? Cobain was the exclusive songwriter for the vast majority of their recorded material. I don't have anything against them getting back together, personally, but there's very few people (if anyone) that could replace him and not be at least a little cringe-worthy in my view.
    There are plenty of really great (and even more really terrible) Nirvana tribute bands around - they can be there "For the fans" i think the original line up should just leave well enough alone without Kurt
    I still think the only good way to do this is to make Dave Grohl sing. It's maybe not the same voice, but it's the most loyal to Kurts legacy to have a person within the band or close to the band do it, and to have it done by people who were close friends of Kurt. It doesn't hurt as much to see someone else drum the drummer, Dave, haven't met a tragic end.
    As a side-note - Peter Hook did a "Joy Division Tribute" performing under another name (Peter Hook and the Light) and singing the songs himself. Same as New Order has done with Bernard Summer, the guitarist of Joy Division, singing. I think it's the way to make it hurt the least for the fans.
    I think a one off show with guest singers could be great. Close friends of the band and people they have influenced over the years. I'd personally love to see something like that.
    I think they should get Clay Aiken to sing at a big Las Vegas event with lots of b-list celebrities. JK
    I think they should get Courtney Love to do it lol. On a serious note, I think Dave should sing, I'd love to hear him do some Nirvana songs.
    No Kurt, no Nirvana. I didn't really mind seeing Paul McCartney playing with the surviving members cause it wasn't really Nirvana and they didn't play any Nirvana songs but it definitely wouldn't feel the same without Kurt if they chose to do it for real. And please, no Shaun Morgan. Nothing more annoying than someone who makes a career off of living in someone else's shadow
    Cant happen; Wont happen. If it does it isnt Nirvana; its just a Nirvana tribute band. If they did actually commit to doing this though, i hope theyd get the singer from Seether or maybe Mark Lanegan to fill in. Would never work without Kurt though...
    That's like saying Sabbath isn't Sabbath without Ward. They pulled it off. No it wouldn't be the same, but who is to say it wont still be good?
    Flying Afros
    I can attest to this statement. The "reformed" Sabbath was amazing by the way. Ozzy's drummer is ****ing awesome. Even Ozzy's vocals were intelligible. Of course Tony ripped up his guitar.
    Sabbath without Ward and Nirvana without Kurt Cobain are not even in the same ballpark. I'm not trying to be a dick, but come on.