If Kurt Cobain were still with us, he would be celebrating his 45th birthday today. (It’s also possible, though perhaps unlikely, that he and Courtney Love would have been ringing in their 20th year of marriage this Friday). And, of course, last year he’d have seen the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, the watershed album that cemented Nirvana’s legacy whether he liked it or not.
But before Nirvana came Cobain’s lesser-known musical incarnation: Fecal Matter. Formed by Kurt in his hometown of Aberdeen, Wash., the group (which included key members of underground heroes the Melvins) only ever recorded one obscure, unreleased demo tape, Illiteracy Will Prevail, on a 4-track, but the songs still live on thanks to bootlegs and the Internet.
It doesn’t take too many Fecal Matter tracks to hear how much of the band’s sludgy sound colored Nirvana’s early material. So, herewith are some choice cuts from the band before the band: