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LIFE.com: MTV's Video Music Awards: A History of Insanity

SEP 10, 1992: Nirvana, Rocking the Boat

Before they even take the stage, Nirvana mix it up with Axl Rose, who challenges Kurt Cobain to a fight after the band and Cobain's wife Courtney Love reportedly bait him. Next, Nirvana kick off their performance with a few lines of "Rape Me" — a song they had agreed not to perform. Finally, they finish "Lithium" with a violent flourish, Cobain trashing their equipment and bassist Krist Novoselic tossing his malfunctioning bass into the air (it crashes down on his forehead, leaving him bloody and dazed). (Frank Micelotta/Getty Images/LIFE.com)
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