By Matt Pais
RedEye Sound Board
December 12, 2012
Of all the eyebrow-raising entertainment-related headlines I've read, this one is up there:
What? Huh? This can't be true. With all due respect to Sir Beatle, even at his peak his voice and performance style would not be even close to a proper match for the late Nirvana frontman. Now, with McCartney a few months north of 70, it's unlikely Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear will (reportedly) take the stage tonight at the Superstorm Sandy benefit in New York, perform with McCartney and say, "Wow, this really takes me back to when a mid-20s Kurt would howl and serve as a disenchanted voice for a generation."
Who knows if this will actually take place or not, but it's important to note that the Sun story indicates McCartney and the Nirvana alums would be playing a new song that sprung from a jam session. In other words, this is not a Nirvana reunion with Paul McCartney stepping in for Kurt Cobain any more than Audioslave was a Rage Against the Machine reunion with Chris Cornell replacing Zack de la Rocha. The band didn't play Rage songs; it was a new band with members who also played in a previous band.
If the stories prove true and this unlikely collaboration happens tonight--although Grohl's no stranger to superstar pairings, what with his work with Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones in Them Crooked Vultures--I'm sure it will rock just fine. Maybe even hard. But it won't be a Nirvana show, and it's absurd to even think of it that way.
And, obviously, not all pairings of music royalty make sense. How about Tom Jones stepping in with the Rolling Stones? Adele fronting No Doubt? Justin Bieber and the E Street Band?
It's pretty cool that the surviving Nirvana guys may play together for the first time in 20 years. But without Cobain (or his songs), it's not Nirvana.
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
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