Kurt Cobain addressed In Utero‘s fiercely anguished “Rape Me” in SPIN’s 1993 Nirvana cover story. The alternative-rock legends’ frontman said the song, which they had wanted to perform on the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards rather than “Lithium,” was supposed to be life-affirming, in its way. Cobain offered, “It’s like she’s saying, ‘Rape me, go ahead, rape me, beat me. You’ll never kill me. I’ll survive this and I’m gonna fucking rape you one of these days and you won’t even know it.'” Other interpretations have related to Cobain’s view of the media, the industry, or his struggles with addiction, but even 20 years later the song hasn’t lost its disquieting power.
As part of the upcoming 20th anniversary In Utero reissue, VH1 has posted an intense live performance of the song from the Live and Loud concert, filmed on December 13, 1993 at Seattle’s Pier 48 for an MTV broadcast. Cobain and future SPIN cover star Dave Grohl can be seen trading off howls of the song’s hook toward the climax, which follows Live and Loud footage of “Heart-Shaped Box” and “Scentless Apprentice.” Never-seen rehearsal clips are due to follow on September 23, when VH1 Classic will also air the entire Live and Loud special.
On September 24, Universal Music will release the Live and Loud DVD and the In Utero reissue, which is available in a Super Deluxe Edition. Along with that 1993 SPIN In Utero cover story mentioned above, check out the SPIN editor-in-chief’s collection of 20-year-old Nirvana schwag, and read an interview with “Heart-Shaped Box” video director Anton Corbijn.