Brett Morgen Talks ‘Montage of Heck’ Soundtrack
Now that the Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck has premiered on HBO, attention has turned to the film’s rumored soundtrack, which director Brett Morgen recently described as a Kurt Cobain solo album. In an interview with KCRW’s The Business, Morgen goes into detail about the soundtrack, which the filmmaker assembled himself unsolicited using unheard cassette recordings culled from the Cobain archives. “It was clear that we were sitting on a treasure chest of unheard Cobain gems,” Morgen said.
“We haven’t announced the new album, what happened was the other day someone asked me a question what we’re going to do with all the other material, and because I’m very transparent, I said we’re putting together an album,” Morgen told the Business’ Kim Masters. “I’ll tell you what I can tell you. It seemed to me the traditional thing would be to take all the music in the film and put it together but that just seemed so sort of trad, and so I went ahead and started to assemble it with some spoken word in-between, very cinematic where it feels like you’re sitting in Kurt’s house watching him create.”
Morgen didn’t offer up any exact details on what songs might feature on the collection, which unheard material made the soundtrack’s final cut or even a release date. However, the director did previously promise that the Montage of Heck collection would feature “a mind-blowing 12-minute acoustic Cobain unheard track.”
“I assembled it and passed it over to the various other people, and that’s where I have to stop. No one told me; I just went on my own and did it and sent it over. I put that together because it felt like it should be out. It’s great material that should be out there in the world,” Morgen added of the soundtrack. “I finished the film and there was all this other music. No one asked me to do anything, I just started cutting the thing together and telling the estate that they should put this out. I think initially my thought was it would be a nice complement to the film. I don’t have any financial stake in the album. Creatively, it should be out there as a thing for the fans.”
Morgen recently said of the LP, “The album of home recordings will feel like you’re kind of hanging out with Kurt Cobain on a hot summer day in Olympia, Washington as he fiddles about.” In a move that might help facilitate the release of the Montage of Heck soundtrack, Morgen said that Universal Music Group – the current rights holder of Nirvana’s music – inked a deal for the home video release of the documentary.
In the Business interview, Morgen also discussed why it took over eight years for the documentary to be released – “The reason the film took so long was because there was a two year period when [Courtney Love and Frances Cobain] were working some stuff out in court” – and his thoughts about documentarian Nick Broomfield’s controversial Cobain film Kurt & Courtney. ”I’d seen it when it came out. I was a huge fan of Nick’s, he was a big influence in the late Eighties and early Nineties on my generation,” Morgen said. “It seemed sort of intended to be a comedy of sorts.”
Morgen added that Love called Montage of Heck “beautiful” after seeing it the first time, and then she proceeded to watch it twice more when the documentary hit the film festival circuit. “She said, ‘In the 20 years since Kurt’s died, it’s as close as I’ve been able to get to my husband,’” Morgen said Love told him of her repeated viewings.