An Open Letter To Idiots Butthurt By Joan Jett Joining Nirvana Onstage Last Night

Did you know that if you were a superfan of a band, you can divine the wishes of their departed frontman? It’s true! That’s the impression one might have after seeing Twitter and comment butthurt over the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, featuring Joan Jett and Lorde fronting the remaining members of Nirvana.

Yes, last night was the induction ceremony. No, you can’t watch it yet, because the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces who is being inducted in December, has a big concert with them in April, and then you cannot watch any footage of the concert until May. It’s the longest tease ever.

This year’s ceremony saw, among others, KISS get inducted in a whirlwind of feuding because Gene and Paul hate Ace and Peter and Springsteen’s E Street Band finally getting their due (Bruce himself made it in ages ago). This was also the year Linda Ronstadt got the nod, which is a thing I can’t even think about yet because the fact that Ronstadt can never record another song thanks to Parkinson’s is too terrible to remember. But far and away the thing people were most hyped about and over-invested in: the induction of Nirvana, almost exactly 20 years after Kurt Cobain’s death.

First, Joan Jett, who fronted the band to sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” SPOILER ALERT: footage is messy blurry fan footage, because approved footage is locked the fuck down until HBO airs the official concert.

Seriously, there is nothing I wouldn’t have given to see this in person. NOTHING. Do I have any fucking clue if Kurt would have chosen Joan Jett? I do not, because Kurt Cobain has been dead 20 years! But some people are pretty certain they know what Dead Kurt is thinking.


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It was his second favorite band, you guys! HE KNOWS STUFF.


Actually, kittens, from a sheer musicality perspective, Jett was a great fucking choice. You think Joan Jett is a megastar sellout and Nirvana was the real deal? Fuck you. Jett had to fucking SELF-RELEASE her first record, because no label wanted to sign a lady rocker. Joan Jett stepped in to pay tribute to murdered Seattle rock icon Mia Zapata from The Gits, fronting Evil Stig just to raise money to find Zapata’s murderer. Jett’s rock cred is not in doubt, and she tore the roof off the sucker.

People were generally less butthurt about Kim Gordon, late of Sonic Youth, doing “Aneurysm,” because Kim has always gotten a pass from Dood Rock land, until it came out that Thurston Moore had stepped out on her for years, at which point everyone became Team Thurston for no legit reason.

Same with St. Vincent, who showed up to do “Lithium.”

It’s cool to like critical darling St. Vincent, but it is not cool to like smash pop sensation Lorde, who was the recipient of the most vitriolic hate for joining the band for “All Apologies.”

Let’s get our whine on about Lorde!

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Urm. Nirvana sold KAZILLIONS of records and is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Not sure what “alternative” even means in that whinging except “music I liked in the 1990s which I have magically sprinkled with the eternal Fairy Dust of Coolness in my mind.”


OK, the Melanie reference is kinda hilarious. So topical and current!

Listen. Cobain was never ever shitty about promoting women in rock. Kurt Cobain loved Bikini Kill. Kurt Cobain loved Shonen Knife. Kurt Cobain loved the fucking Carpenters. Who the hell are you to decide he wouldn’t have loved Lorde to pieces?

I can’t pretend to divine the intentions of Novaselic or Grohl any more than you can, but I will put forward the radical idea that if the goddamn surviving members of Nirvana had not been down with choosing Joan Jett or Lorde or anyfuckingone else involved in the performance, they would have been able to do so! Especially since Dave Grohl is both one of the most enormous AND most well-respected members of the rock world right now. So to those of you who are certain that Kurt would have hated this because you have some idea of him as your beautifully damaged Manic Pixie Dream Boy, I say shut the fuck up and so say we all.

[New York Daily News/Rolling Stone]

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  • msanthropesmr

    Right ON Lisa! Joan Jett rocks – and while I lurv me some Nirvana, they were about as alternative as Britney Spears – if selling albums is any gauge.Further proof of Joan’s awesomeness…(From Urgh! a Music war – you owe yourself this DVD…)

    • I’ve seen her live a few times, and she has never failed to just leave everything on that stage. She never holds back. So good.

      • Zippy W Pinhead

        I’ve done a couple shows with Joan- she puts on a good show and seemed like a decent person

    • Zippy W Pinhead

      about as alternative as Avril Lavigne, also too

    • Foggy Notion

      I LOVE Urgh! A Music War! And Joan Jett ROCKS. She also played at a big march against domestic violence in D.C. in the 90s. Unbelievable that she’s still having to deal with these sexist little boys.

  • Strawberry Shortfuse

    Noted vagina-possessor Kathleen Hanna coined the phrase “Smells like teen spirit” in the first place. And pro-Scott Weiland/GnR-loving dude can seriously just go fuck himself with that stupid over-gelled frat-boy sharkfin of a hairstyle he’s sporting. /inner 20-year-old

  • Respiteini

    Stupid people suck. Joan Jett does not.

  • Cliff Hesby

    Joan Jett was a punk icon in the Runaways before Nirvana moped their first mope. Any so-called punk fan who doesn’t know that should really just STFU.

  • Hammiepants

    This makes me really angry. Aside from the fact that Joan is a rock icon, she’s also a really nice person. These guys are goatblowing assclowns.

  • pdavidcATL

    We might not know how Cobain would have regarded Joan Jett performing his stuff, but we know how he felt about sexist meathead rawk dudes who jumped on the Nirvana wagon post-teen spirit. He was on the record as hating them.

    • redarmyzombie

      “And he hears the words,and he likes our pretty songsand he like to sing alongand he likes to shoot his guns,but he don’t know what it means…”

  • Ambignostic

    Just the thought of Joan Jett fronting Nirvana is making my underwear all wavy. I wish I had been there for that (with spare underwear).

  • I have one.

    Smells like the same sort of butthurt Cobain mocked his entire life. Oh, the ironies, they’re a ‘killin me.

  • mfp

    ha HAAAA…nevermind that the first time i heard “teen spirit” i thought it WAS joan jett…BwaaHa

    • Ambignostic

      Calls for a mashup! (Though no mashup will ever surpass this one.)

      • mfp

        BWAAAAhahaa…fucking awesome

      • The_Wardle

        On this very rare occasion, I will break my regular Happy lurking rules to say- thank you. Thank you so much. I was absolutely crying at the bridge. This, this is important.

        • bobbyhansonf898

          sterben.. die painfully thx.

  • rebecca

    They can all eat shit.It is JOAN MOTHERFUCKING JETT.

  • Connie Jennings

    Kurt gave up his right to a vote.

    • $73376667

      Thanks for being the insensitive asshole I was about to be otherwise.

  • bellaganj

    i did not know there was an accordion in ‘all apologies’

  • Jaime Oria

    I imagine every one of those tweets in the voice of Comic Book Guy wearing flannel and a Banana Splits t shirt.

  • MauriceGarin

    What’s with the term “butthurt”? I see it used a lot on the interwebs and it often seems to have a homophobic connotation.

    • Ambignostic

      Never heard of spanking?

      • Haribo Lector

        Except it’s definitely a reference to anal penetration. Let’s not try to pretend it’s anything else.

      • MauriceGarin

        Oh you bet I have sweetheart. However, the term “butthurt” often seems to imply something else, no? Something scary and gay.

  • Chuck U. Farley

    The performance with Lorde on vocals was terrible. On every level. It was like listening to a drunk bitch at karaoke singing badly. Hell, Alanis Morisette would have sung it better.. and i can’t stand her. That’s sayin’ something!

    • BMW

      I’ll reserve judgement until I hear how it sounded from a source other than an audience member’s camera phone.

  • AnOuthouse

    Novaselic has a heavy sounding bass, man.

  • gullywompr

    Joan Jett don’t give a damn, and neither does Kurt Cobain

  • drbloor

    Lesson to be learned: you lose a lot of leverage over who fronts your old band when you blow your face off.

  • Annie Towne

    Well I thought those were all very nice. But does Lorde’s odd, jerky movements remind anyone else of Elaine dancing?

  • Manic Organica

    Nope, sorry. The Lorde performance sucked. I’ll have to live with being butthurt.

    • Guest

      And the audio on the bootleg youtube clip wasn’t a factor in the sound quality at all.

  • Joan did it great. About the only other person I’d like to see doing that song would have been Weird Al Yankovic.

    • Nato Coles

      With what we know Kurt thought about Weird Al, I’m kinda surprised he wasn’t onstage in some capacity!

  • Nato Coles

    Regarding 100% of this article: hear, hear. Raise your hand if you’ve collaborated with both Paul Westerberg AND Kathleen Hanna. *Joan Jett raises hand, nobody else in the room does.*

  • Torgo3000

    I’d defend Joan, except SHE DOESN’T FUCKING NEED TO DEFEND SHIT.

  • Mojopo

    Jesus she KILLED it. Joan Jett? I can’t even. I wish I was there, damn! Are you fucking kidding me? This a quality moment in time. Brilliant.

    • Mojopo

      Please allow me to comment further. The year Kurt died, I had all ready purchased tickets to Lolloaplooza in Toronto, for me and my nephew, and some of his friends (his first trip to the big deal). You know what we got that year? Fishbone and Babes In Toyland, And Tool. We would have praised God if Joan Jett came by. With THIS.

  • natl_[redacted]_cmdr


  • gingerland62

    Kurt Cobain was a feminist so piss off

  • Sheepshagger

    Perfect man. Joan Jett rocks.

  • el_donaldo

    I love all four of those women so much. I confess Lorde ranks as a guilty pleasure, but what the fuck. But Joan Jett. C’mon. She IS rock and roll. And her re-recording of her first band’s original “Cherry Bomb” is the greatest rock song ever made.

    • el_donaldo

      I’m gonna listen to “Crimson and Clover” on forever repeat.

  • Haribo Lector

    Anyone who claims Guns ‘n’ Roses to be their second favourite band does not have Nirvana as their first favourite. Unless they’re some kind of hipster douchebag. Joan Jett did a pretty good job, and I neither know nor care what Kurt Cobain would have thought – and I’m an actual Nirvana fan too.

  • Reverend Xenakaboom

    I have a Joan Jett Barbie doll. And, yes, I am a feminist.

  • Provided one cares about what they’re doing, all music, all art, for that matter, is valid. Since everyone on that stage has more talent for it than anyone tweeting, guess which I find more credible?

  • Nikkiru

    What a great performance JJ turned in! I want to grow up to be just like her. And I’m already older than she is. Seriously, those tweets only show that the internet has become far too easy to use. Who do those idiots think they are? They think they know Curt Cobain better than his own bandmates? I think they need to get out of their mommies’ basements and out into the sunshine once in a while.