Watch soldiers from the US and Indian armies perform Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit

Soldiers from the Indian ASSAM regiment 11th Airborne Division of the US Army perform
(Image credit: 11th Airborne Division, US Army)

The army’s Eleventh Airborne Division has shared a clip of one of its officers performing Smells Like Teen Spirit on guitar, with soliders from the Indian army on bass and drums.

The footage captured a moment of R’n’R for the commander of the Denali squadron and soldiers from India’s ASSAM regiment, who performed the track at a reported 9000-foot elevation in the Himalayas.

Though admittedly, the footage and audio quality is a little brief and shaky, you can hear the outline of the Nirvana riff weave in and out, as far as the breeze allows.

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The two forces had been working together as part of the 18th Yudh Abhyas, an annual event in which the US and India collaborate in a series of military exercises aimed at improving cooperation and strengthening the US and India defense partnership.

The Denali squadron are reported to be the first US forces to have deployed to the Himalayas. While they deserve congratulating on that accomplishment, Guitar World would like to offer a particularly firm slap on the back to whoever thought to take their electric guitar and amp up there with them…

Smells Like Teen Spirit contains one of the greatest rock riffs ever written, so it’s not surprising that it’s a long-established go-to cover option. Everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Tommy Emmanuel and Ty Dolla $ign have taken on the Nirvana classic.

It’s even been done by the 1000-strong rotating band of volunteers that is the Rockin 1000. So, er, we’d like to see that kind of military resource thrown at the next effort, please…

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.