Nirvana performed this at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. It was quite an eventful evening for the band, as they wanted to play "Rape Me
" but MTV wanted "Smells Like Teen Spirit
." Cobain had to check out of rehab to attend the show, and had made comments disparaging MTV in the past. At rehearsals, a standoff ensued where MTV threatened to go nuclear, banning not just Nirvana, but other acts from their label if they didn't fall in line. "Lithium" was the compromise, but Nirvana made the network sweat, playing a few seconds of "Rape Me" before going into their agreed-upon song.
During the performance, after a bit of network-sanctioned stage diving from the crowd, they smashed up their instruments, with Krist Novoselic getting hit in the head by his bass - a fairly common event at Nirvana finales. Kurt Cobain also had beef with Axl Rose at the show
; Kurt made sure to spit on Axl's keyboard after a backstage altercation.