Shaun Morgan’s Nirvana fandom really isn’t news for anyone who’s followed his career as the vocalist and guitarist for Seether. The South African musician discovered Nevermind as a teenager, became endlessly enamored with Kurt Cobain, and decided that he needed to pursue his own path in music because of the grunge icons.
At various times throughout Seether’s 20-plus-year run, Morgan has discussed his love for Nirvana, dressed like Cobain, and covered a handful of different tracks (“You Know You’re Right,” “Lithium,” “Rape Me,” “Heart-Shaped Box,” and more). If there was a Nirvana fan club for professional hard rockers, he’d probably be the president.
While Morgan may still be waiting for Dave Grohl to run out of Foo Fighters money and ask him to be the voice of a Nirvana “reunion,” he celebrated 20 years of Seether’s debut album, Disclaimer, by officially releasing an acoustic cover of “Something in the Way” that he recorded in 2002. He also penned a list of his 10 favorite Nirvana covers by other artists, exclusively for SPIN.
Caetano Veloso – “Come As You Are”
I love the sparseness of the arrangement, and cello is one of my favorite instruments, so this really captures the darkness of the song. The guitar on this track is haunting and eerie too, with some of Kurt’s energy infused into the outro. Great version!
Tanya Tagaq – “Rape Me”
I love the hypnotic effect of the percussion on this track. Another sparse arrangement that’s drenched in melancholy and a vocal that is just beautiful.
Thou – “Endless Nameless”
Not a huge departure from the original, but this version is heavier and more urgent sounding. This has always been a favorite song of mine, and to hear it played with such rage is great. It snarls at you, which I love.
La Dispute – “Polly”
The guitar tone and the chord choices are really interesting to me. This was the first song I learned to play on guitar, so I have a soft spot for it. It feels like a combination of both the acoustic and the distorted versions that Nirvana used to play.
Anthony Raneri – “About A Girl”
This guy has an incredible voice and he really captures the sadness of the lyrics. The addition of the acoustic guitar solo on top of the piano parts is fantastic.
Will Dailey – “Territorial Pissings”
I love the arrangement on this one. It’s a great vocal performance, and the bass line is great. The multilayered choral breakdown in the middle is awesome.
Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place – “Swap Meet”
This is another stripped-down version which takes the song to a completely different place than the original. The vocals are great and the contrast between the approach to the verses and the frenetic guitar parts in the choruses is really good. Great outro, too.
Kristin Hersh – “Pennyroyal Tea”
I love the palm muted guitars in the verses and the vocal placement in the mix. Very reminiscent of the original, but a great take on the song nonetheless.
Butch Walker and the Black Widows – “In Bloom”
This is a really cool quirky version of the song. It’s such a happy-feeling interpretation with a very Beatles-y influenced chorus. Great guitar tones and arrangement too.
Àsgeir – “Heart-Shaped Box”
This is a beautiful interpretation that is entirely mesmerizing at times. Really wonderful vocals and interesting musical choices make this one of my favorites. Best listened to with your eyes closed to really sink into the music.