The reunion of the three surviving members of Nirvana with guest singer Paul McCartney for the “121212: The Concert for Sandy Relief” brought the first live performance of a new song they’d created together while jamming recently, the ex-Beatle said on introducing “Cut Me Some Slack” during their time together at Madison Square Garden.
“Recently, some guys asked me to go jam with them,” McCartney told the crowd. “So I showed up, like you do, ready to jam. And in the middle of it, these guys kept going, ‘We haven’t played together for years.’ So the penny finally dropped, I finally understood I was in the middle of a Nirvana reunion.”
The new song, not surprisingly, is a driving rock workout with a heavy backbeat full of distortion-drenched electric guitar work by Pat Smear in tandem with stinging slide guitar leads by McCartney, a sonic assault not far removed from one of the Beatles’ signature hard rockers, “Helter Skelter.”
A bit more surprisingly, McCartney’s instrumental contribution came on a humble cigar-box guitar he played with a slide. The guitar, as it happens, was made here in the Southland by cigar-box guitar aficionado Matty Baratto, whose Cigfiddle creations were featured in a story I wrote last year about a modern-day revival of interest in the homespun cigar-box guitar tradition.