Watch: When Flea Performed ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Live with Nirvana… Using a Trumpet

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Kurt Cobain Photo by KMazur/WireImage (Getty) / Flea Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Back in 1993 during a concert that took place in Rio, Brazil, Nirvana invited Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea on stage for a special performance of their beloved song “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

What makes this particular performance special is that rather than join the band on stage with his bass, Flea opted to perform the Nirvana song with a trumpet.

Among the likes of guitar, bass, and drums, the trumpet may not be considered the most “rock and roll” instrument around – hell, you are far more likely to hear a trumpet in a ska song rather than a grunge or hard rock tune.

That said, for this particular performance, the addition of Flea’s trumpet playing makes for a surprisingly interesting component.

Alongside the heavy and melodic instrumentation coming from Nirvana, Flea’s trumpet playing provides even more sonic depth to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” While it may not seem like a lot, being that it’s just one more added instrument, the use of the trumpet brings a welcoming new dimension to the song, further expanding upon the sonic variety it has to offer.

While the original cut of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a perfect track as is, this take involving Flea’s trumpet playing makes for a pretty awesome spin on the song.

That said, you can judge the performance for yourself by checking out the video below.

Speaking of Nirvana, earlier this month, we wrote about the 10 greatest Nirvana songs of all time. To find out which of the band’s tracks we think represent their best work, follow this link here. Also, earlier today we published a story involving former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl reflecting on the band’s rise to success. According to Grohl, prior to the release of their album Nevermind, Nirvana “were pretty much living in squalor.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea plays the trumpet to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”