WATCH: Sir Paul Plays A Tiny Guitar With “Nearvana”

Sir Paul, Dave Grohl, and tiny instrument

The curious thing about yesterday’s Hurricane Sandy benefit performance by Sir Paul McCartney is not that it happened, not that he brought out Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear, the three former members of Nirvana (although the moment where he introduces Pat Smear is all kinds of brilliant from a punk rock perspective. Two worlds collide and all that), and its not that anyone’s memories of Kurt Cobain have been sullied by the coming together of four mature men, to make a loud noise…

…(aside) because they weren’t doing any of his songs and they weren’t trying to pretend that this was anything other than an excuse to play together again, in a way they haven’t been able to since 1994 because of the suffocating weight of expectation that accompanies any gatheration of these three men. And who would be able to understand this better than Sir Paul, a man who possibly STILL gets asked if the Beatles could ever get back together again on a daily basis. Speaking of which, who would be able to bear the centre-stage spotlight better than Sir Paul, given that he is clearly not attempting to become Kurt – a massive Beatles fan, let’s not forget – and has no reason to even try…

No, the curious thing about their performance is Sir Paul’s tiny guitar. Is it some kind of resonator ukulele? Or a Seasick Steve-style cigar-box slide creation? Clearly he’s playing slide guitar on it, so it’s most likely to be that, but of all the guitars you’d expect to see hanging from his neck – the Hofner bass, the Epiphone semi-acoustic, the gold-top Les Paul, heck, even a Kurt Cobain memorial Fender Jag-Stang with Dead Kennedys stickers on it – no one would’ve predicted that one.

The song is called “Cut Me Some Slack” and it is fair to say that the lyrics aren’t properly finished. It’s also clear he’s one of those people that say nirvana as “near-vana.” But that’s fine, they’re jamming and it sounds pretty good, and Sir Paul is using his “Helter Skelter” voice, and that’s always fun.

In short: it happened, it’s for charity, he used a funny guitar, “Heart-Shaped Box” remains unsullied, CALM DOWN, THE INTERNET.

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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