Last night, grunge fans and record collection completionists clapped their hands in glee when a demo tape purporting to be that of Kurt Cobain’s pre-Nirvana band ‘Fecal Matter’ appeared online.
It was the first time the 13-track, 58-minute long demo album Illiteracy Will Prevail had appeared online (previously only 36-minutes had been available), and it featured an early version of ‘Downer’ – later featured on Nirvana debut Bleach. Fecal Matter formed in 1985, with Cobain joined by drummer Greg Hokanson and future Melvins drummer Dale Crover on bass.
But in an astounding turn of events, as of this morning the full demo is nowhere to be found.
Instead, a YouTube message reads “‘Fecal Matter – Illiterac…’ This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by IFPI.”
The IFPI is the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an organisation based in Switzerland that exists to “represent the interests of the recording industry worldwide.”
According to their website “any company, firm or person producing sound recordings or music videos which are made available to the public in reasonable quantities is eligible for membership of IFPI”.
We’re not sure just how much of a “reasonable quantity” of the public the late Kurt Cobain envisaged Fecal Matter’s demo reaching, as shoddily recorded demo tapes that sound like they were put to tape in a dingy basement made entirely of carpet (and the vocals are mixed too high!) tend only to reach those truly in the know.
But after the success of his next band, and the subsequent Godlike ascendancy achieved through a troubled suicide, record companies know that anything Cobain ever touch can now be sold to the highest bidder. And there will be plenty of those.
This news means that you can probably expect to see Illiteracy Will Prevail released for the first time ever (!) on vinyl in the coming years, at a highly inflated price.
At least it’s a break from the norm of interminably re-released Nirvana ‘rarities’.
The claims follow hot on the heels of an early version of ‘Sappy’ – a track Nirvana recorded many times throughout their career, but one Cobain was never truly happy with – which leaked online earlier this week, and was hastily removed by UMG music.
Guys, can’t we have a little fun for once? We’re positive it’s what Kurt would’ve wanted.