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Paul McCartney Once Jammed Out With Nirvana — And Had No Idea

By Ross Tanenbaum,


Nirvana was one of the most popular bands of the 1990s, but their meteoric rise halted following the death of lead singer Kurt Cobain . The band disbanded after that, and many wondered if the grunge group would reunite. In 2012, Paul McCartney was fortunate enough to play in a Nirvana reunion with Dave Grohl, but he had no idea he was playing with the original band members.

Nirvana teamed up with Paul McCartney in 2012 for ‘Cut Me Some Slack’
Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl | Samir Hussein/WireImage

Dave Grohl, now the lead singer of Foo Fighters , directed and produced 2013’s Sound City , a documentary about Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, Los Angeles. Grohl also recorded an accompanying soundtrack for the documentary, featuring one song called “Cut Me Some Slack.”

The song contains a Nirvana reunion with Krist Novoselic on bass guitar, Pat Smear on guitar, and Grohl on the drums. As lead singer, Grohl managed to get McCartney, a partnership that Novoselic called “Sirvana.” The track was first performed at the 12-12-12 benefit concert and was released on Dec. 14, 2012. Critics and audiences loved the track and it eventually won Best Rock Song at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

McCartney had no idea he was playing with Nirvana

Paul McCartney had interacted with Grohl a few times before their collaboration, but he hadn’t met the other two members of Nirvana. In an interview with DIY , the “Band on the Run” singer admitted that he didn’t put together he was playing with the other members of Nirvana until Grohl mentioned it. They jammed around for a bit before McCartney knew how lucky he was.

“[Grohl] said he was just having a jam with a couple of mates, so I roll up there with the theory that something will happen and I’m playing this crazy little cigar-box guitar that I’m enjoying, and these other guys join in, Dave gets on the drums. We jam around and then Dave says something like, ‘We haven’t done this forever, man!’ I’m like, what do you mean? He’s like, ‘The band!’ I’m being a total thick-head. And it turns out the other guys are the rest of Nirvana. Then we end up getting a Grammy for this thing we did, just by following the trail, letting things happen.”

Dave Grohl said the band was “in awe” of the Beatles legend


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In an interview with Rolling Stone , Grohl said the entire band was amazed by seeing McCartney play that it distracted them from the other momentous occasion. They were in “awe” of the former Beatle, and it overshadowed the fact that Nirvana had not played together in over 20 years.

“That day was really funny because, honestly, Krist and Pat had never met Paul before, and they were very nervous – they were terrified,” Grohl said. “The Beatles meant the same thing to all of us. I mean, without the Beatles, we wouldn’t be who we are. So when we started playing for the first two hours, maybe, we were so in awe of Paul that we forgot about Nirvana. It took a few hours before I realized, wait a minute…we haven’t done this in maybe 20 years, Krist and Pat and I – wow, how cool. And f***in’ Paul is here, too.”

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