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AWOLNATION’s Aaron Bruno recalls “insane” live cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

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AWOLNATION released a covers album earlier this year, but frontman Aaron Bruno thinks there are some songs that should never be covered. One example, he says, is Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

“To me, covering that song is blasphemy,” Bruno tells ABC Audio of the grunge classic.

Ironically, AWOLNATION has covered “Smells Like Teen Spirit” live in the past. However, as Bruno explains, that was under special circumstances.

During a 2018 show in Italy, Bruno was having issues with his voice. Toward the end of the set, Bruno “dared” AWOL’s guitar player, Zach Irons, to sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the crowd as he was trying to get his voice right.

“[Irons’] family was in town, it was kind of a special night for him,” Bruno recalls. “We’d never practiced [‘Smells like Teen Spirit’], but the band knew it by heart, because most people know that song. They played it front to end, and Zach … sang the whole thing.”

As for how his bandmate did taking on such an untouchable song, Bruno declares that Irons “didn’t do terrible.”

“It’s hard to say anyone could do that song good, besides Kurt [Cobain], of course,” Bruno says.

“It was a challenge, and [Irons] accepted the challenge,” the “Sail” artist adds. “[The band] did it, and it still remains one of the most insane things I’ve ever been a part of. But I wasn’t even onstage for it, so I don’t know if that counts.”

AWOLNATION’s covers album, My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers and Me, is out now and features takes on songs by Madonna, Scorpions and ABBA, with guests including Rise Against‘s Tim McIlrath, Portugal. the Man, IncubusBrandon Boyd, Beck and Jewel.

You can catch AWOLNATION on tour with Badflower starting in October.

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