Fecal Matter was a short-lived band from Aberdeen, Washington that formed in late 1985. It was the first band conceived by Kurt Cobain, who would become famous as the frontman of the seminal grunge band Nirvana. Other significant members included Dale Crover and Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, which would also become highly influential. The band's only known demo tape, entitled Illiteracy Will Prevail, has become a much sought-after rarity among Nirvana fans, as it features the first songs written and recorded by Cobain.
The band was formed in late 1985 and consisted of Cobain on guitar and vocals, Dale Crover
, and Greg Hokanson on drums
. In December that year, Hokanson left the band. Later that month, Cobain and Crover went to Cobain's aunt's house in Seattle
with a large book of lyrics and recorded the demo Illiteracy Will Prevail
on a 4-track
. Cobain performed guitar and vocals, while Crover played bass guitar and drums.
In January 1986, Buzz Osborne joined as bassist and Mike Dillard joined as drummer. According to Michael Azerrad's Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Cobain thought Osborne did not take the band seriously enough and refused to buy a bass guitar amplifier. In February, Fecal Matter disbanded and the Melvins recorded their debut EP.
After Fecal Matter disbanded, Cobain began passing the demo tape around to friends and peers in hopes of starting a new band. Cobain was particularly proud of the tape. To him, the tape showed that he did have talent. He had wanted to start a band with friend Krist Novoselic for some time. After hearing the tape (and particularly liking "Spank Thru") Novoselic agreed to form a band in mid-1986. That band would later be known as Nirvana.
The song "Spank Thru" was the only one from the tape to be officially released; it featured on the 2005 Nirvana rarities album Sliver: The Best of the Box. However in March 2006, incomplete poor-quality clips of many of the songs were leaked on a Nirvana website. One week later, three full songs from the demo were briefly hosted on a MySpace site; "Sound of Dentage", "Bambi Slaughter" and "Laminated Effect". The clips were confirmed as authentic by Mike Ziegler (and others who have heard the demo) on a website popular with Nirvana collectors. The source of the three full songs remains unknown.
- 1982-12: Kurt Cobain records a solo demo at his aunt Mary Earl's house known as Organised Confusion.
- 1984: Dale Crover joins the Melvins, Kurt Cobain unsuccessfully auditions.
- 1985: Kurt Cobain (vocals/guitar), Dale Crover (bass) and Greg Hokanson (drums) begin rehearsing as "Fecal Matter".
- 1985-12: Fecal Matter support the Melvins at a concert in Pacific Beach, Washington.
- 1985-12: Cobain (vocals/guitar) and Crover (bass/drums) record Illiteracy Will Prevail in Seattle, Washington.
- 1986-01: Buzz Osborne joins as bassist and Mike Dillard joins as drummer.
- 1986-02: Fecal Matter dissolves, the Melvins record their debut EP.
- 1986-05: Cobain, Crover and Osborne perform as "Brown Towel" in Olympia, Washington.
- 1987-02: Aaron Burckhard joins Cobain and Krist Novoselic to form what would eventually be called Nirvana.
- 1988-01: Crover joins Cobain and Novoselic for Nirvana's first studio session, which includes two Fecal Matter songs.
- 1993-10: Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana by Michael Azerrad, publicly reveals the existence of Illiteracy Will Prevail.
- 1994-04: Cobain's death brings about the end of Nirvana.
- 1997: A faked Fecal Matter demo receives widespread distribution in Nirvana bootleg trading circles.
- 2002: Heavier Than Heaven by Charles R. Cross reveals further information about Fecal Matter and Illiteracy Will Prevail.
- 2005-11: Fecal Matter's "Spank Thru" is officially released on the Nirvana rarities album Sliver: The Best of the Box.
- 2006-03: Incomplete poor-quality clips from Illiteracy Will Prevail are leaked on the internet. A week later, three full songs are leaked.
- 2007-11: A further five full Fecal Matter songs are leaked on the internet.
- "Sound of Dentage"
- "Bambi Slaughter"
- "Laminated Effect" (aka "Made Not Born")
- "Class of '86" (aka "Buffy's Pregnant")
- "Blathers Log"
- "Spank Thru"
- "Sound Collage" (aka "Reefer Madness Excerpts")
- "Suicide Samurai"