Fecal Matter (band)

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Fecal Matter
Also known as Brown Towel, Brown Cow
Origin Aberdeen, Washington, USA
Genres Punk rock, grunge, noise rock
Years active 1985–1986
Associated acts Nirvana, Melvins
Past members Kurt Cobain
Dale Crover
Greg Hokanson
Buzz Osborne
Mike Dillard

Fecal Matter was a short lived punk rock band from Aberdeen, Washington, formed in 1985 by Kurt Cobain, the future frontman of the grunge band Nirvana, and Dale Crover of The Melvins. A later version of the group including Melvins members Buzz Osborne (often known as "King Buzzo") and Mike Dillard appeared briefly the following year.

The group's sole recording was issued as the Illiteracy Will Prevail demo tape, which remains unreleased officially[1] with exception of the song "Spank Thru".


Activity (1985–1986)[edit]

The band was formed in early 1985 by guitarist and vocalist Cobain, bassist Crover, and drummer Greg Hokanson.[2] They spent several months rehearsing original material and cover songs before Hokanson departed in December.[3] Shortly thereafter, Cobain and Crover went to the Burien home of Cobain's aunt, Mari Earle, to record the Illiteracy Will Prevail demo on a 4-track recorder.[2] Crover played both bass guitar and drums on the recording.

In January 1986, Buzz Osborne and Mike Dillard joined the group playing bass and drums, respectively.[2] This incarnation rehearsed for a brief time only; Michael Azerrad's Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana records Cobain's frustration with Osborne for not taking the band seriously enough to buy a bass guitar amplifier.[2] In February, Fecal Matter disbanded and the Melvins recorded their debut EP, Six Songs.


Cobain began passing the Fecal Matter demo tape around to friends and peers. He had wanted to start a band with acquaintance Krist Novoselic for some time. After hearing the tape in 1986, and particularly liking the song "Spank Thru", Novoselic agreed to form a band, which became Nirvana.[4]

"Spank Thru" is the only track from the tape to be officially released, arriving on the 2005 Nirvana rarities album Sliver: The Best of the Box.[citation needed] The song's first half satirizes adolescent hard rock and the sentimental love lyrics that arena bands used to veil songs about sex.[5] "Spank Thru" develops into a high-energy punk song in its second half, with lyrics about masturbation.[5] According to music theorist Tim Hughes, "While Cobain is mocking the heavy metal kids who regularly beat him in high school, the frenzied energy he displays simultaneously communicates a sense of the dumb, frustrated, angry state of mind that fuelled those beatings."[5]

"Downer" was re-recorded for Nirvana's Bleach album. The song "Anorexorcist", part of a 9-minute medley on the Fecal Matter demo, was also re-recorded by Nirvana in a version that saw release on 2004's With the Lights Out boxed set.

In March 2006, an incomplete, poor-quality version of Illiteracy Will Prevail was leaked. A 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 authentic by collector Mike Ziegler and others who had heard the demo, in contrast to various forgeries that had arisen.[6] Additional songs were leaked in November 2007.


Illiteracy Will Prevail
Demo album
Released 1985
Recorded 1985
Genre Punk rock

Illiteracy Will Prevaildemo cassette

  1. Sound of Dentage
  2. Bambi Slaughter
  3. Laminated Effect
  4. Spank Thru
  5. Class of 86
  6. Blathers Log
  7. Instramental



  1. ^ "Kurt Cobain's 45th birthday: His other band : The Music Mix : EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. February 20, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Michael Azerrad. Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday, 1993. ISBN 0-385-47199-8.
  3. ^ Gillian G. Gaar. The Rough Guide to Nirvana. Penguin, 1993.
  4. ^ Nevermind, It's an Interview promotional CD. Geffen Records, 1992, DGC CD-PRO-4382.
  5. ^ a b c Hughes, Tim et al. (2006). "Nirvana: University of Washington, 1990". In Inglis, Ian. Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time. Ashgate Publishing. p. 161. ISBN 0754640574. Retrieved March 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ Alan Lonsdale (2001). "Live Nirvana Fakes Guide". LiveNIRVANA.com. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 

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