Kurt even admits that they were trying to rip off The Pixies. (Really, who can blame them.)

"I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it (smiles). When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band - or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard."

Kurt Cobain about how he wrote "Smells Like Teen Spirit", from a Rolling Stone interview by David Fricke, 01-27-94

Even though, I still think its a great song.

In a 1997 interview given to Luke Mahler, an independent musician then playing with the Surfing Chickens, Chris Novaselic, several years after the death of Cobain, stated that Kurt had been trying to rip off the Pixies' Debaser when he penned the lyrics to Smells Like Teen Spirit. While this information is clearly not new to anyone here, I felt that those involved in the discussion might like to know about the further corroborating evidence.

The title of the Nirvana uberhit, Smells Like Teen Spirit, was taken from an interesting occurance in lead singer Kurt Cobain's life. While dating Tobi Vail, drummer for Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna (vocalist of Bikini Kill) was aiming to poke some fun at Cobain (at the time, she was dating Dave Grohl, Nirvana's drummer). It just so happens that Vail wears a deodorant called "Teen Spirit"; and so, Hanna wrote upon the wall one evening at a party "Kurt Cobain Smells Like Teen Spirit". Considering the incredible fame of the song, it is interesting to note that it is named for an underarm deodorant with a cutesy name. Whether this helped to inform the message and lyrics of the song I'll leave to you.

Source: My ultra-hip girlfriend, who enjoys reading SPIN magazine (which enjoys quoting Cobain biographies like Heavier than Heaven by Charles R. Cross) and listening to both abovementioned bands.

Without wanting to argue with other posts' references to the Pixies' undoubted influence on Cobain, there is also a theory that Smells Like Teen Spirit was to an extent inspired by a song in the Thomas Pynchon novel Gravity's Rainbow (1973). Said theory is based entirely on what may be superficial similiarity; the lyrics of Pynchon's version are included below for your consideration. It is also worth knowing that the book includes a mulatto, an albino, and a guy's libido, though not as far as I can remember a mosquito (unless you count V2 rockets). Note that the hyphenation of the lyrics is Pynchon's.


I'll tell you it's just --out, --ray, --juss,

Spirit is so --con, --tay, --juss,

Nobody knows their a-ges. . .


Walkin' through bees of hon --ney,
Throwin' away --that --mon, --ney,

Laughin' at things so --fun --ny,

Spirit's comin' through --to, --you!


Nev --ver, --mind, watcha hear from your car,
Take a lookit just --how --keen --they are,

Nev --ver, --mind, --what, your calendar say,

Ev'rybody's nine months old today! Hey,

Pages are turnin' pages.

Nobody's in --their, --ca,--ges,

Spirit's just so --con, --ta, --gious--

Just let the Spirit --move, --for, --you!

Sources: pp538-539 Gravity's Rainbow 1995 Vintage Edition (UK)
Spematikos Logos http://www.themodernword.com/pynchon/pynchon_music_nirvana.html

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