“Kurt was nervous about Come As You Are, because it was too similar to a Killing Joke song,” Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg told author Carrie Borzillo, “but we all thought it was the better song to go with.” In fact, as the campaign for Nevermind began, the group’s management imagined Come As You Are had the most potential to cross over to mainstream audiences, not expecting that Smells Like Teen Spirit – planned as the first single, to awaken the interest of the faithful and the underground kids – would break through as it did.
Danny wryly admitted that Kurt “was right – Killing Joke later did complain about it”, though whether the group ever filed a plagiarism lawsuit remains a murky issue. But Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker was still fuming in 1994, telling Guitarist magazine that the group were “very pissed off about that”. He said, “It’s obvious to everyone. Our publisher sent their publisher a letter saying it was, and they went, ‘Boo, never heard of ya!’ But the hysterical thing about Nirvana saying they’d never heard of us was that they’d already sent us a Christmas card!”