Pixies Claim Kurt Cobain Ripped Them Off and Confessed It

"If Kurt Cobain fessed up to it, f--k it, I'll agree with it," says frontman Black Francis.

Ultimate Guitar

Pixies frontman Black Francis recently discussed the band's influence on Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, as well as massive kudos the band's been getting from rock giant David Bowie. Asked by Reuters to comment on Bowie's statements about Pixies "changing the format for delivering hard rock" or Cobain's confession of ripping the band off, Francis focused on the band's contribution to rock music. "Being original, influencing Nirvana so they could rip a song. I'll admit it - if Kurt Cobain fessed up to it, f--k it, I'll agree with it, you ripped us off." As far as Bowie goes, the frontman talked about his desire for Pixies to become the singer's backup band. "It's f--king David Bowie!" he enthusiastically said. "Come on! We could do that. Bowie, the Pixies, together at last! ... I think that Dylan and the [Grateful] Dead tour kind of served them both very well." Apart from pointing out that he's quite happy with his current status in the music realm, Black discussed the band's first breakup, admitting he wishes things took a different course. "I regret it, but maybe something else would have caused it eventually. "But I wish that the manager or someone at the record company would have been a little more tuned in to the dynamics of a young band being on the road and making records, someone to advise a different schedule, or maybe say 'Hey, you guys are due for vacation like right about now' or 'Hey, you all do your solo albums' ... We never really got that sort of common sense advice, or at least I was too stoned to hear it," the singer concluded. Pixies released their latest EP effort "EP1" on September 2, essentially featuring the band's first new material in over two decades.

81 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Misleading headline - Francis isn't claiming anything, he's merely answering a question that someone asked him suggesting Nirvana ripped off his band Pretty much an irrelevant question anyway considering Kurt was always open about his influences, admitting to wanting to rip off the Pixies for Smells Like Teen Spirit and also having Kim Deal and the Breeders support Nirvana during their 1993 tour
    I thought it was common knowledge that Kurt ripped the Pixies off for Teen Spirit with the dynamics. Just like how he ripped the "Come As You Are" riff from this.
    Misleading headline, but Dave Grohl agreed at the time. Jump to 1min 15sec in the video below.
    I was thinking about this exact video! It's all about the influence though.
    I thought this was common knowledge. Wasn't Kurt saying he was ripping them off (or trying to) loads of times?
    Wonder what Dave Grohl has to say about this...
    Well Dave Grohl has said the exact same thing. Nirvana were worried that Smells Like Teen Spirit was too much of a Pixies rip off.
    See, I don't think that song sounds ANYTHING like the Pixies. What connection am I missing here?..
    Loud .. quiet....loud
    yeah the pixies didnt invent dynamics, that belongs to J.S. Bach > Hadyn > Mozart > and beethoven did it best
    They did hire Steve Albini for In Utero with the hopes of trying to get a sound like Surfer Rosa
    the hello, hello, hello, how low is close to the "gigantic" prechorus: hey paulie..
    Yeah, not the first time Nirvana have been accused of "ripping off" other bands. Killing Joke claim that the main riff of "Come As You Are" was ripped from Killing Joke's "Eighties"
    The title was taken from what Kathleen Hanna Drunkenly wrote on kurt's wall "Kurt smells like teen spirit".
    At the time Kurt was listening to The Pixies, Dave was probably blasting to Led Zeppelin learning Bonhams fills.
    Grohl cites Bill Stevenson from black Flag and Descendents as the reason he started playing drums so I'd lean more towards that. People forget Grohl was a Punk/Hardcore kid before he became Dave ****ing Grohl.
    Danny is right. You can really tell the Stevenson influence is there. Dave even said the one drum beat from QOTSA's Song For The Dead is right pulled from "Slip It In" from Black Flag, kind of a homage he said.
    he wouldn't say nothing at all. kurt and kris said countless times that when they played the riff, they knew it was debaser, slow timed, and they used the expression - we ripped them off.
    As much as I can't get into the new EP, Doolittle, in my opinion is 5 he definitive Alt Rock album and if it wasn't for the Pixies a lot of influential bands wouldn't exist.
    Since Kurt always doubled his vocals because John Lennon did it does that means his ripping the Beatles off too...?? Who gives a damn.
    He really only acknowledged the well-established-for-over-twenty-years fact that yes, Kurt Cobain admitted to "ripping off" the Pixies. That's it.
    When black mentioned pixies and bowie doing a tour together I went from 6 to midnight
    These headlines are just SO misleading. Any fan of the Pixies knows they used Curt's quote right at the beginning of "loudQUIETloud". This is old common knowledge.
    The more UG articles I read, the dumber I become.
    Exactly what I was thinking. It's incredible how they can stack around so many words together, yet it's all so irrelevant. Might as well just call the site ultimate-music-gossip.
    That's like Metallica and Megadeth and Kiss getting mad at Pantera for "ripping them off". If you listen to and play a lot of music from a particular band, it's GONNA sound like that band.
    How many bands actually exist that don't draw any influences from other bands and create stuff that is unlike other bands' music? Why don't people just let it go, Nirvana found success and the Pixies did not, it's obvious why people are butthurt about it, but it is what it is, and at the end of the day, Nirvana isn't that bad a band...
    Pixies sell out every show they headline to this day and "Here Comes Your Man" and "Where Is My Mind" were successful singles and their music is featured in more movies than I can count from Fight Club to Zac & Miri Make A Porno. If you're not familiar with them that doesn't make them an unsuccessful band.
    Don't Ask
    How do you mean Pixies didn't find success? They're playing Stockholm (where I live) tonight, and I've been trying like hell to find tickets, but it's bloody impossible... They might not have achieved the same amount of success as Nirvana, but to say that they aren't successful is just plain wrong.
    Pixies sell out almost every show they play. Tickets are going for $60+ for general admission. Pretty sure they found success.
    Tool! Their influences are mostly from integrating eastern music systems into their western ones. Really great, there's simply no band like them, but soooo much bands say they're influenced by Tool. plus danny Carey is the best drummer that ever walked this world.
    Tool have admitted the main influence for their music is to combine the heaviness of The Melvins with the more progressive leanings of King Crimson. Every band has influences.
    The Melvins made the blueprint for modern rock and metal bands. Isis, Neurosis, Mastodon and even SYL have heavy Melvins influence
    They even covered the Kyuss song "Demon Cleaner" for a while. It has a very similar vibe to some of Tool's songs.
    Is it just me or does Black seem to not give a shit? He's kind of just establishing that that is indeed what Kurt himself said, he doesn't seem to care too much
    Kurt said he wanted to write pop pixie songs, and that's what he tried to do. He also stated that he really just should have been in that band (the pixies) or even just a roadie for them. He really did love them and was really upset when Nirvana garnered the popularity and fame he felt the pixie's deserved but did not get(during that time period).And Smells like teen spirit kurt said was a direct rip for the riff from a Boston song.
    so i told him i don't want your god damn non fair trade coffee you foul cretin and he just looked me with a bemused stare
    The quiet and loud dynamic isn't something the Pixies invented. Moonlight Sonata uses the same scheme so everything anyone does similarly to it could be "ripping off" someone else. Just make music and be happy people want to listen to it.
    People fighting online over stuff like that? Every artist/band has influences and they rip stuff up. Just chill out.
    Ben Hobson
    Feeder also admitted that their breakthrough track, Buck Rogers, was just supposed to be a fun, Pixies-ish song. They didn't see the success it would bring - just like Kurt never saw the success that their own Pixies-style song - Smells Like Teen Spirit - would bring.
    Why are you picking a fight with a dead guy?
    Hes not really "picking a fight" with a dead guy. Also if anything: Nirvana ripped off Pixies Pixies (in a way)ripped off Cream
    Ironically, the lyrics of that song were given to Eric Clapton by a friend of his. So I guess it's a ripoff of a ripoff of a song written by someone else?
    If he thinks that Nirvana ripped the Pixies off by utilizing dynamics then he is in for a trip. A lot of bands use dynamics and that's something you can't successfully sue someone for.
    Pixies....Totally overrated band.....
    I've always dug the Pixies, but I do feel that there a bit overrated in the grand scheme of things. They have a great vibe but they always left a little to be desired in my opinion.
    Overrated? I don't think you realize how much of an effect they had on music in the 90s. The Pixies ****ing rock.
    Best part about this, it was Joey who answered the question, not Frank.
    I thought it was common knowledge that Kobain said Teen Spirit was Nirvana trying to write a pixies song?
    Again who cares... Though I do recall Kurt saying that the use of dynamics, loud, quiet etc in Teen Spirit and a lot of the Nevermind album was inspired by Pixies (notably the track Gouge Away)
    Why is this even considered to be news? We all knows this. Without The Pixies, The Meat Puppets, and Killing Joke, you wouldn't have Nirvana. If they had just realized this: you are retarded beyond retarded and I actually mean that to.