One Track Mind: Paul McCartney and Nirvana, “Cut Me Some Slack” (2012)

Paul McCartney joined an almost-reunion of Nirvana with drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic and former touring guitarist Pat Smear on Wednesday during the 12-12-12 benefit event. Stream their new song here!

If you are a fan of the harder-edged McCartney of “Helter Skelter,” “Let Me Roll It” and “Oh Darling,” then this comes as no big surprise.

If, however, you’ve always associated the former Beatle with the sweetly conveyed pop confections of “Yesterday,” “My Love” and “Ebony and Ivory,” well, we’ll give you a second to pick your jaw up off the floor.

As Grohl so aptly put it, in a talk with Fuse afterward: “Cut Me Some Slack” “is heavy as fuck.” It did a credible job of combining Nirvana’s serrated sense of manic danger with McCartney’s randy rockabilly side. Grohl flung himself around like a rag doll, and McCartney bellowed with a righteous fury.

The song — put together for a forthcoming Grohl film, called “Sound City” — wasn’t essential, but it wasn’t an embarrassment either.

Elsewhere, the concert also included a A-plus list of other stars, including Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Roger Waters and Eddie Vedder. Still, McCartney stepping in for the late Kurt Cobain sparked perhaps the most pre-show buzz.

Grohl, of course, had appeared singing “Band on the Run” during a White House event honoring McCartney a few years back. Paul said he didn’t understand the significance of his reuniting with Novoselic for the 12-12-12 show, though.

“I didn’t really know who they were,” McCartney admitted in news reports. “They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time? And somebody whispered to me ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it.”

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.