For a band that didn’t have that long a lifespan, Nirvana made the most of the time they gave us. In the span of three albums, Kurt Cobain changed music forever, bringing the sounds of grunge and alternative rock to the masses and kicking hair metal into the discount bin. Kurt however, remained a staunch critic of his own work.
After becoming the biggest band on the planet with Nevermind, he was ready to throw their new fans for a loop, saying that the hysteria was (17:20) a “load of shit…I hope that this next album will really alienate our audience.”
In Utero was supposed to be the antithesis of Nevermind’s radio-friendly sound with Cobain loving his recording sessions with Steve Albini. After the fact though, Cobain told Rolling Stone that he didn’t really care for what happened with ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ in the studio, saying “That was not recorded right. There is something wrong with that.”
“That should have been recorded like Nevermind because I know that’s a strong song, a hit single. We’re toying with the idea of re-recording it or remixing it.”
Although there were eventually a few remixes done by R.E.M. producer Scott Litt, the song still didn’t really come together the way Kurt was hearing it in his head, including one of the disastrous rehearsal sessions for their famous MTV Unplugged performance.
In an issue of Guitar World centered around Kurt’s life, it’s mentioned that rehearsals went poorly, saying “Pat Smear persisted in resolving his close vocal harmony vocal to a flagrantly wrong note.
“The band attempted the song repeatedly with no success. The band decided to move on without solving the problem.”
When it came time to actually do the show though, Kurt actually corrected the whole problem by just taking the fall for himself, going on to perform the entire song alone with just his voice and an acoustic guitar.
Considering what he said to Rolling Stone, maybe this was the version that was the closest to what Kurt had heard in his head.