Big Cheese

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about the pressures that bands are put under to please their manager, or in this case, the "big cheese." Many speculate that Kurt Cobain may have written this specifically about SubPop producer Jonathan Poneman, but others think it's more of a generalization. Cobain did, however, tell biographer Michael Azerrad (Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana) that Poneman influenced the tune. "I was expressing all the pressures that I felt from him at the time because he was being so judgmental about what we were recording," he explained.
  • This was the B-side to Nirvana's first single, "Love Buzz." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Matt - Millbrae, CA, for above 2
  • In 2009, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic interviewed Chad Channing, who was the band's drummer from 1988 to 1990, for Seattle Weekly. The former bandmates reminisced over the Bleach track, with Novoselic saying, "I think one of the best songs you and I worked together on was 'Big Cheese.' Kurt came up with that two-note riff for the verses. You and I took off for that instrumental bridge. I went up high on the neck of the bass, and you did that great double kick!"

    Channing added: "That's one of my favorite songs. You know why it really worked for me? My friends and I would play our 45s on 33 rpm. It would sound deeper and heavier at that speed."
  • The rock band Daughters recorded this for the 2016 Nirvana tribute album, Doused In Mud, Soaked In Bleach.

Comments: 20

  • Just Some Guy from North MacedoniaI always thought Kurt was talking about the Simpsons, because it's called Big Cheese and there was a line: "Need more enemies" which Homer always gets in the show.
  • Maybeiknow from New Hampshire When your young and you figure out who the big cheese is and there trying to “make me” force there beliefs and ideas to conform and label your art. Thank you Kurt.
  • Md from Beach HappySo glad to see all of you modern day punks getting heated on these comments. Kurt would be proud. I was 13 when he passed away. I was a grungy lil flannel wearing rebel and it was devastating when he passed. I even have a cassette tape that I recorded off the radio (yes you could do that:) when Kurt Loder announced he was dead. I'm so happy to see his music lives on. He is a legend gone too soon but never forgotten. Take care everyone and turn it up.
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjMost of the lyrics to bleach were scribbled down right before recording the record so there really are no specific meanings to those songs, but I guess subconciously they could have meant something to Kurt.
  • Nick from Fresh Meadows, Nyi always think about the movie jaws theme song when i hear the beginning of big cheese, is it only me?
  • Nick from Fresh Meadows, Nyevery album has very good quality, bleach , he was 21 when they finished bleach, name one 20 year old that makes an album like that at 21, without any support. bleach is very late 80's garage band grundge music, nevermind, was statistically there record braker thats what made him #1 in 1992, so nevermind gets a lot of respect, but its different music completely, its poppy makes u wanna dance, it was like they adavnced so much in just a few years, and then incesticide came out in 1992, again very different but sttill good sh*t and then in utero, which was like a modern version of the other albums.
  • Nick from Fresh Meadows, Nyhe died april 5-6 1994 almost a year after airing mtv unplugged, but they didnt find his body till the 8th of april. so april 5. 1994
  • Elizabeth from West Bridgewater, MaThis song seems like it's about a kid in school who doesn't want to go to the office, and is backtalking his teacher :D
  • Jessica from Birmingham, AlUh, Jake, he died in 94, not 92
  • Bronte from Sydney, Australiajust from listning to the song.
    i thought it was about kurt like applying for a partime job.
    as in when he worked as a janitor for his old highschool.
  • Jake from Bettendorf, Iahe died in 92 Merel...so no you were not 3 ,,do math kid
  • Artemis from Aberdeen, Scotlandever think its about school? "go to the office"
  • Jeff from La Pine, OrI liked the bass in this song and I also liked the solo totally a single
  • Steven from West Carrollton, OhHey, "Dude of Manteca, CA"- forget you. There are MORE than a few songs on Bleach that stand out, like "Floyd The Barber" and "About A Girl".
    So I don't know what YOU'RE talking about- "Bleach" rocks. Just listen to it- and this time, listen GOOD.
  • Mykal from Manteca, CaBleach is probably my favorite album
  • Dude from Compton, Cai like cheese, nirvan has better songs on nevermind screw bleach
  • Brandon from Saskatoon, Canadathe starting sound is scary
  • Merel from Ede, United StatesI just had my 14th birthday and my friends gave me this album to me. I was happier than you can imagine. This album was released before I was born and Kurt died when I was 3. Still, I love their music. This is one of their best songs made, I love it!
  • Matt from Edmonton, CanadaBig Cheese is about the pressures that bands are put under their managars
  • Jason from Dover, PaOne of the best Nirvana songs ever
see more comments

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