In yet another rock and roll headline you never thought you’d see, a story once emerged of how grunge pioneers Nirvana attempted to immerse themselves within the local community and, under the stewardship of their leader Kurt Cobain, once challenged a group of strippers to a five-a-side football match while on a UK tour.
The unlikely tale, which took place during the band’s 1991 tour, has been retold my music promoter David McLean who was a witness to the bizarre scenario. McLean, who earned a reputation for his impressive events in Dundee, went on to make waves within the music industry and rubbed shoulders with the most recognised faces of rock and roll.
Dipping back into his archive of memories, McClean has written and directed a new film called Schemers, a story which chronicles the lives of three ambitious Scotsman who pull off a major Iron Maiden coup. “Davie (Conor Berry) is a dreamer from the council schemes, constantly hustling for his next buck, then losing it on the horses,” the official synopsis reads. “After a football injury, Davie falls for trainee nurse Shona (Tara Lee) and tries to impress her by running a disco. Along with friends John and Scot, the trio start promoting bands – culminating in a hugely ambitious Iron Maiden gig at the Caird Hall, Dundee. With ambition so grand they go deep in debt with Fergie, a gangster of legendary violence, Davie needs to use every trick to pull off the biggest scheme of his life.”
The project, a deeply personal one to McLean, draws on real life experiences after he travelled the world alongside some of the most iconic names in the business. In promotion of his new picture, McLean sat down with The Guardian to recall a number of the memorable moments which are etched into his mind. Reflecting on his time spent with Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, things took a somewhat surreal turn. “After Nottingham Rock City, the Chippendales – a group of male strippers – were in the hotel bar,” he explained. “For some reason, Nirvana’s manager said, ‘Fancy a game of five-a-side?’
“So Nirvana played a game of five-a-side versus the Chippendales in the car park. Kurt was quite fit and Dave got stuck in. I can’t remember who won but for the rest of the night I pulled a bit of a fast one and pulled all the drinks on the Chippendales’ manager’s room.”
Speaking about Nirvana in a more broad sense, McClean added: “Everyone says Dave is the nicest man in rock. Kurt was great too. I remember his piercing blue eyes. He was such a genuine person. He put up a disco ball in the tour bus and would sing ‘Dancing Queen’ because he loved Abba.”
You can make your mind up on Nirvana’s five-a-side formation but I think we can all agree Dave Grohl is in goal.