Experience Music Project's exhibition "Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses" opens April 16 and will feature memorabilia related to Seattle's iconic grunge band. To prepare for the opening, we've searched our archives for past Nirvana reviews and stories for the timeline above, but need you to help us fill in the blanks.
Created by seattletimes on Mar 22, 2011
Last updated: 04/07/11 at 05:38 PM
"Nirvana's 1992 performance at England's Reading Festival is impossible to separate from its historical significance, which is this: Nirvana was at the time ascending to biggest-band-in-the-world status, and their 90-minute, 25-song set at Reading officially put them there." -- Jonathan Zwickel
In honor of the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's first album, Sub Pop re-releases "Bleach." The deluxe edition includes a live recording of a 1990 Portland show.
From EMP|SFM's Oral History Live! series
SUbmitted by Heather Taddy | In April of 2008, as a long time Nirvana fan, I make a trip across the U.S. to see the sights of Seattle. My first stop is Lake Washington Blvd. to pay tribute to Kurt Cobain at "Kurt's Park."
Submitted by Clare Powers | When I was a senior at Aberdeen High School, in 2004, my sister and best friend decided to write an article about a statue built of Kurt Cobain. Here it is: Lisa Patterson By Clare Powers, Corrie Powers & Elisha Hagedorn Daily World Teen writers What is the purpose of a statue? Does it acknowledge someone's achievements? Bring back memories? Or perhaps it's simply art to admire? Local artist Randi Hubbard created a statue of Nirvana's lead singer Kurt Cobain just after his death in 1994. After witnessing the negative publicity toward Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen in the weeks following Cobain's suicide, Hubbard felt it would be appropriate to commemorate the man who brought grunge music to the mainstream by creating a statue of him for the city to display. "It (the suicide) portrayed our city so badly that I decided I wanted to show him in a different light," Hubbard said. But nearly 10 years later, the statue sits under tight security in Hubbs Muffler Shop, owned by Randi and her husband. Streams of people visit the shop, like it was an art museum. The swirl of controversy around the statue won't stop. Nirvana member Krist Novoselic (Nirvana's bass player and an Aberdeen High School graduate) wrote a letter to the editor of The Daily World, after learning about the statue in 1994, saying he would knock it down if it was displayed. "Krist Novoselic, in his political endeavors, has made statements that artists should have freedom, yet I am an artist and look what he said he would do to my art," Hubbard said. "If he and I sat beside each other at a piano, and he wrote a beautiful composition for the world, I would never reach over and rip it to shreds." Hubbard says Novoselic later called her and apologized for saying he would knock the statue down, but it still is bothersome to know that there are people who would consider taking another's masterpiece, and destroying it for their own personal reasons. She knows Novoselic is not the only one who might have had that thought cross his mind about her statue. Other people may actually follow through with it. Like a mother bear with a cub, she's very protective. Others in the community had loudly voiced their opinions, saying that displaying the statue would leave a black mark on the city and might promote young people to do drugs. It could glorify suicide. It's now been nearly a decade since Cobain's death. It's time for a local tribute to Kurt Cobain. The statue should be displayed prominently and this town should be proud for all the good Cobain did and make it happen before it is too late. Hubbard has had several offers from private people in Seattle who want to buy the statue. She would prefer to see it be displayed right here in Cobain's hometown. But because of threats of damage to it, she would only allow it to be displayed in a place that would be secure such as an art gallery. She's hoping the city will support her in trying to develop an art gallery here, where she would teach young people her craft. Cobain's former art teacher Bob Hunter who is still teaching at Aberdeen High School said he believes it is time for some positive recognition, too. "I think there needs to be some recognition for Kurt besides the building that got torn down that said, 'R.I.P. Kurt' (written in spray-painted graffiti). "I don't think a lot of people are going to appreciate (the statue) when it's hidden behind a curtain at Hubbs Muffler," Hunter added. "If the artist is satisfied with that, that's fine. But it reminds me of a lot of works in art history that were never seen because they were hidden away." We have been given many excuses as to why the statue probably won't be displayed. Some say Cobain's family doesn't want that to happen. If that is true, their feelings are understandable. Another excuse is that many believe it will affect young people in a negative way. We believe the real reason is because the majority of Aberdonians just don't want their city to be recognized as supporting a "rock 'n' roll lifestyle." Statue or not, Aberdeen will always be known as the home of Kurt Cobain. Cobain is not one of the most popular musicians of all time because of his drug use. He's one of the most popular musicians of all time because of his musical talent. Tourists already come from all over the world to Aberdeen as evidenced by the multiple scrawlings of multi-national graffiti under the Young Street Bridge to catch a glimpse of where their genius was born. The statue may even bring in more tourists not to mention, give them something beautiful to look at. Hubbard's shop gets people from all over the world, some are rich and famous. Recently, we discussed this issue with Aberdeen Mayor Mike Wilson. "No, I personally am not opposed to having a statue in town, but this has been an ongoing discussion for the last 10 to 15 years," Wilson said. "The big problem seems to be that Krist Novoselic said Kurt would never want to have a statue of himself in Aberdeen, and the family never asked that we have a statue of him in the city of Aberdeen." The mayor personally believes a statue or memorial of any kind of Kurt Cobain would not sway kids to the dark part of Cobain's lifestyle. "Kurt has become an icon to youth, especially a musical icon, and I don't think having a statue of him would be a problem to kids," Mayor Wilson said. So does the mayor ever think a memorial will see the light of day? "I think it would depend on former band members and what his family would want," the mayor said. Former teacher Hunter added, "I think you really need to talk to Randi Hubbard to get the answer on that, whether it goes out somewhere, and if she decided it did, I'd be 100 percent behind her." Another reason why this whole ordeal is confusing, is that everyone keeps saying Cobain wouldn't have wanted a statue of himself in Aberdeen. How could anyone possibly know that? In 2002, a series of Cobain's personal journals were published. It's apparent, if you have read "Journals," Cobain was looking for fame. Reading the book from beginning to end, it's obvious what he was writing was meant to be seen by others. As for Cobain not wanting a statue, we find that hard to believe. Of course, we did not know him and may not have a valid reason for stating this, but what we do know of him makes us think he wouldn't have minded some kind of tribute. In Charles R. Cross' biography "Heavier than Heaven," Cobain is quoted as saying to a friend, "I'm going to be superstar musician, kill myself, and go out in a flame of glory." Although this was before he achieved the first of his three stated goals, his attitude seemed to remain the same about fame. Somewhere though, deep down inside, most want to be recognized for their accomplishments. This seems to be true of Cobain. We feel the excuses are a cover-up for the real reason the statue is not being displayed. Throughout "Journals," Cobain contradicts himself many times. For example, he writes in one of his journals, "Don't read my diary when I am gone." Just a few lines below that he writes, "OK, I'm going to work now. When you wake up this morning, please read my diary. Look through my things, and figure me out." We think it's ironic that there's a family restaurant, Billy's, named after a serial killer, yet a statue about a rock star idolized by millions is being hidden away in the middle of a muffler shop. The writers are students at Aberdeen High School.
"Cross was editor of The Rocket, a Northwest music magazine, for 14 years. In the 1980s and early 1990s, there were talented and literate people at The Rocket, and its readership extended well beyond the small incestuous Seattle music scene. " -- Mark Lindquist
Submitted by Daniel Manning | Fans morn their fallen Hero: I was eleven years old at the time, I remember just standing there confused, and knowing the world just lost a genius, that's the first time I ever cried about someone I never met, Kurt was our hero, He was the voice of the voiceless and he was gone just like that.
"What began with a minister's moment of silence and tearful eulogies exploded into a showdown of teen-age angst and rebellion. About 7,000 people gathered at the Seattle Center Flag Pavilion Plaza to pay tribute to the 27-year-old singer of Nirvana, whose body was found Friday morning after he apparently shot himself."
Submitted by Daniel Manning | Fans morn their fallen Hero: A public candlelight ceremony held outside Seattle Center.
"IN SEATTLE, often called the rock music capital of the country, if not the world because of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana - as well as such other local bands as Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains - people in the music business were especially saddened by news of Cobain's suicide." -- The Seattle Times, AP
"Cobain, 27, leader of the grunge band, Nirvana, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Madrona home last Friday." -- Peyton Whitely
Submitted by Lisa Louie | I saw Nirvana for the first time at the Mercer Arena (now Seattle Center Arena) on January 8 1994. Unknown to the masses as this would be their last Seattle show. I remember waiting in line for 2 hours at Tower Records for tickets to the show on the 7th, only to be turned away 10 minutes after tickets went on sale because it sold out. I was too young to see them at the clubs, and collected every single Rocket newspaper thet had an article about them. Sadly, I lost all the newspapers I had, but still have my ticket stub to that last concert.
Submitted by Michelle Valente | Pearl Jam was also suppose to play this show and dropped out at the last minute. MTV approaches Nirvana to play the entire show, which they do. I was lucky enough to be there that night and it was awesome.
Submitted by Kyle Lazewski Reith | Not as memorable as the Halloween show that was in 1991 that featured a powerful performance of " Endless, Nameless. " This 1993 Halloween show the band members dressed up and the show was full of comedy. In my opinion, much more memorable. Kurt was Barney (with a bottle of Jack Daniel's in his hand, which he apparently chugged through the mask's mesh mouth), Pat was Slash, Dave was a mummy, and Krist was a white-faced "reverse Ted Danson" with "P.C." on his forehead for "Politically Correct." (The actor Ted Danson had recently been ridiculed for making a public appearance in black-face with his girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg.)
"The group's new album, "In Utero" ... is loud, caustic and uncompromising, and while not the unlistenable punk sound Cobain once threatened, is much less mainstream than "Nevermind." -- Patrick Macdonald review
Submitted by Chris Rollins | I kept this ticket from a Nirvana "secret show" from '93.
Submitted by Jason Geer | Nirvana plays yet another secret show, this time at the King Cat Movie Theater for the "Benefit for Mia Zapata Fund." Other bands on the bill were "Tad, 7 Year Bitch, and Hells Smells." This was the last time the group played as a three piece, and they also played a good portion of "In Uterio" which had no been released yet. This was BY FAR the best show I've ever attended.
Submitted by Scott E. Anderson | As a student, I worked security and event setup for Western Washington University. We were setting up the stage for the Mudhoney, Medilicious, and Saucer show that night. The school concert promotor hastily gathered us together and told us Nirvana would be coming on right before Mudhoney. The rumor of Nirvana coming to WWU had been murmered all day around campus. I remember the look on all the security peoples faces when we realized it was really going to happen. Excitement mixed with a bit of terror, considering the prospect that this band, which was #1 in the world at the time, would be surprising a surely already raucous crowd of students. Sure enough, Nirvana came on after the two local opening bands and the crowd erupted. They played a set of mostly B-side stuff from Incesticide and a few other gems. Fantastic show. Still have my now torn-up Mudhoney shirt they passed out to security staff that night. One of my favorite concert experiences ever.
Submitted by Vincent Mazzarella | I was a student at Western Washington University and also a member of the football team. A concert was scheduled that night in Carver Gym on campus with Mudhoney and guests. We had a football game that same day. I was kind of bummed because I was a big Mudhoney fan and I didn't think I would get back from the game in time to go to the show with my roommates. I remember getting back to the locker room which was in the gym around 9:00. I had access to the back stage area and so I walked up onto the side of the stage to catch the show. Was I surprised to see Nirvana performing. I was lucky enough to catch about half of their set from the side of the stage. The energy from the band and the crowd was unbelievable. I remember the set ending with these kids coming out and taking over the instruments and finishing up the set. I've been to hundreds of concerts over the years and this is the one memory I will never forget because it was so unexpected.
Submitted by Jason Geer | Nirvana plays a secret show at Western Washington University's Carver Gym for $5.00, opening up for "Mudhoney, Medelicious, and Saucer" during the "Hype the Vote" campaign.
Patrick Macdonald's review: Nirvana's "show Friday night in the Coliseum was a triumphant homecoming for the band that made Seattle famous. The world's largest mosh pit, filling almost all the main floor, bobbed and swirled and percolated to an almost nonstop barrage of fuzzy guitar, pounding drums and thumping bass. Stage divers flew through the air more regularly than jets take off from SeaTac."
"It's a good thing Nirvana was there, because its few minutes of live performance was just about the only real, spontaneous, honest expression of the rock 'n' roll spirit in the 3-hour, 15-minute show." -- Patrick Macdonald
Submitted by Mike Spear | I ran into Krist Novoselic at the Crocodile in 1992 right after the infamous "Bass to the head on the MTV VMA's" incident and asked him how he was. He just smiled.
"The tune, off the "Nevermind" album, is backed by "Endless Nameless," the extra, unlisted track included on most copies of "Nevermind." The instrumental freak-out was sneaked in at the end of the CD, some 10 minutes after the last, "offical" track." -- Patrick Macdonald
"Nirvana is living out every garage-band's fantasy, and their musical roots in Aberdeen make the odyssey to national stardom all the more appealing." -- The Seattle Times
Submitted by Daniel Manning
Submitted by Daniel Manning | The band on "Top of the Pops." They want Kurt to sing live against a backing track. The band seized the opportunity to make a mockery of their performance: Cobain supplementing a wayward vocal by fellating his microphone, Novoselic and Grohl dancing around, not even pretending to play their instruments.
"The show was being filmed, so there were lights and cameras and microphones and people with headsets running all over the place.
"There's more cameras in here than a 7-11," lanky bassist Chris Novoselic yelled into a mike, one of several pithy observations he offered in the course of a long set." -- Patrick Macdonald review
"Nirvana, in line to be The Next Big Thing from Seattle, releases its eagerly awaited debut album for Geffen Records, "Never Mind," Sept. 24. The first single from it, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," hits the stores next Tuesday. " The Seattle Times
Submitted by Eric Ekman | The first time I heard Nirvana is definitely one my fondest memories. I was only six years old when Nevermind came out, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. My family and I were living in Hoquiam at the time and the closest record store was in Aberdeen. My dad made a special trip into town to pick up the cassette. My dad played in a local cover band at the time and I think the guys wanted to learn Smells Like Teen Spirit. It was also exciting to know that there was a band from Aberdeen that actually had "made the big time". Despite my being so young, I too was very thrilled at that fact. At this time there really was a feeling of pride in the whole community that our little town had produced an act that meant so much to so many people. When my dad returned from the record store I remember him mentioning how packed the place was. It truly felt like an event. Without a moments notice he through the album on the tape deck. Before I had a chance to giggle at the fact that there was a baby's penis on the cover, the guitar came cranking out and my life was never quite the same again. I had never heard something to heavy, so crushing, so......for me. I started out bobbing my head but before the first chorus, I began dancing in our front porch, performing a half mosh/Thom Yorke style freak out. My mom began to laugh hysterically at both the intensity of the music and her son's spastic dancing, but I didn't care. On a sheer musical level the record spoke so much to me. I had no idea what the lyrics were, but it didn't seem to matter. Each song sucked me in further and further until the final drag of the bow on Something in the Way. Nirvana has been a major part of my life every day since and I really can't imagine my life without them. I still get chills when I hear Kurt's voice; truly a testament to a band and a man that left this world way too soon. What we are left with however are great records and memories like the one I just described. I am 26 years old now, but every time I go back to Hoquiam to visit my parents, as I enter the door and walk into the front room I am always reminded of my fist listen and how I danced.
Submitted by Daniel Manning | Launch party for "Nevermind". Nirvana are ejected from their own function by security. NIRVANA FANCLUB NEWSLETTER: "A cool $2000 worth of Draft Beer was consumed by just 200 people in two hours. It also goes down in the history books as the only record release party where the band was thrown out (Krist started a food fight that got a little out of hand). The evening wound down about 10 hours later in a giant heap on their DGC rep's living room floor, Kurt and Dave in two of her finest smocks, and all busy defacing a beloved Nelson gold record. Oh yeah KIDS, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. NIRVANA ARE TRAINED PROFESSIONALS, NOT ROLE MODELS."
Submitted by Tim Chambers | I am the guy who tossed the band members of Nirvana out of their own CD release party, at the beginning of the “Grunge” sound, Seattle music era. “Pitt and Steve were the owners of the ReBar in North downtown Seattle, and Pitt has seen me doing security at Yukon Charlies at the Seattle center during either the bite or bumbershoot. He asked me if I did side security gigs, and I answered yes. He asked me to stop by his bar the following Saturday, which I did. Though he would not ell me who the act was, he did tell myself, and 4 other guys, that it was a big up and coming band from Seattle, and it was their CD release party. This occurred a week later. It was Nirvana. The band showed up, and soon the parking lot was filled with fans. Only those with invitations were allowed inside the bar. The crowd outside was intense, banging on the side door about a half hour into the gig. Press fro all the major and local music rags were in attendance. About an hour and a half into the party, things were getting wound up, Cobain and Novoselich were getting wired up and acting in typical out of control musician styled behavior. Soon, the catering cart was raided by both Cobain and Novoselich, who began throwing stuffed grape leaves everywhere, and at everything. Others started joining in. Then the slad dressing came out, the big Costo containers of Ranch, 1000 island, and French, and they where slung all over the place, including the ceiling, walls, bar, and art deco through out the bar. Pitt and Steve yelled at me “Get them outta here”! I then picked up Cobain in my arms, and told him he had to go. All the fight went out of Cobain once I picked him up, his deeply bloodshot eyes were glassed over, and he said to me “Ok, man, it’s cool”. I had been included in the group of people that were handed complimentary CD’s of the release of their new CD, Nevermind. I pulled it out of my back pocket and asked Cobain to sign it for me, and handed him a sharpie. He wrote some gobbelygook (his signature) and smiled, handing me the sharpie and CD, while held cradled in my arms. I took Cobain out through the side door, and into the relm of his fans, which at that time numbered around 3-5 hundred. I then went inside to get Novoselich under control and out the door. I had to really work hard on getting my arm around him, even though he was verry skinny, as he was thrashing around a lot. I finnaly got him under control, and my arms around him. I told him he had to go too, and the fight went out of him, as I picked him up as well. I asked if he would sign my CD, and he said “Expletive” Yeah, I handed him the CD and sharpie, and he signed it as well. As with Cobain, out the side door we went, to the roaroing approval of the fans. Back inside I went, to have the drummer, Dave Grolich leave too, even though he was not involved in the food fight fracas. Dave was surrounded by his own entourage, and saw me heading in his direction, he smiled, waved away his “people” and said to me, “It’s cool dude, I know we’re outta here too, thanks”! I asked Dave to sign the CD, which he did with a smile. Out the side door he and his entourage went, and the crowd outside was apoplectic. Back inside I went, to help clean up, the music rag folks were finishing their drinks, and departing. I had a couple of drinks while the owners went around looking at all the salad dressing all over their bar, shaking their heads and complaining. The ReBar had close to $500,000 worth of Art Deco from South Miami Beach all over the bar, so the slad dressing was not a welcome addition.”
Submitted by Aaron Kamp | The first time I saw Nirvana was at the OK Hotel, which also happened to be the first time they played "Smells Like Teen Spirit" live.
Submitted by Matt Robesch | Nirvana headlines an anti-Gulf War fundraiser held at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Also on the bill: Helltrout, Nubbin, Fitz of Depression, Special Guest and The Four Squares.
Submitted by Margaret Edwards | Dave Grohl's first show with Nirvana at the North Shore Surf Club in Olympia, Washington. As they say, the rest was history. It was immediately obvious Nirvana had finally found their perfect drummer and everything was in place for them to become one of the most successful and influential bands of all time.
Submitted by Cindy Nichols | I first remember buying "Bleach" at Cellophane Square when in came out in June 1989 and putting it immediately on my turnatable. That was the first time I heard "Love Buzz." The first time I saw Nirvana was on August 24, 1990 when they and STP opened for Sonic Youth and the Moore Theater in Seattle. They were amazing! I've seen the many times after but this show will always be my favorite. This is the set-list: Love Buzz, Scoff, Floyd The Barber, Dive, In Bloom, About A Girl, School, Spank Thru, Lithium, Been A Son, Negative Creep, Blew
After his band Scream broke up, Dave Grohl joins Nirvana. (Click the link below to view a video clip.)
Submitted by Gordon Medley | Nirvana plays with The Melvins at Rignall Hall, Steamboat Island Rd., Olympia, WA
Submitted by Daniel Manning | Nirvana and Tad's European tour in 1989 brought the members of the bands closer, with the two bands sharing close quarters of a single van, To the UK press, Tad was even more representative of the Grunge Scene than Nirvana, Kurt was fascinated by Doyle, whose gastrointestinal problems rivaled his own
Local record label Sub Pop releases "Bleach." The album was recorded in Seattle
Submitted by Ryan O'Rear | I remember my first job during my Senior year in high school in 1989. I worked at the Streamliner Diner on Bainbridge Island. The cook was the drummer Chad. I remember seeing a sticker on the side of the grill that plainly said NIRVANA on it. As I began to ask Chad about the sticker. He informs me that he was getting ready to tour the country for their first time and was saving money up. At the time I remember thinking ...good luck. I was in the Navy in Norfolk, VA a couple years later and a shipmate had a NIRVANA cd which was the first time I new they made it.
Submitted by Lisa Chin | Four Bands, Four Bucks at the UW HUB
Submitted by Daniel Manning | February 1989. Nirvana becomes a quartet with the addition of guitarist Jason Everman. Everman plays his first gig with Nirvana as second guitaristat another K Dorm party.
Submitted by Peter Litwin | Speedy O'Tubbs Rhythmic Underground, Bellingham, WA. Nirvana with Coffin Break and Skin Yard.
Submitted by Joan Cartales | That Halloween 1988 show, the stage collapsed while Nirvana was playing. It was put back together for the Surfers' performance which was, as always, fabulous. Costume contest, since it was Halloween, and a girl with a homemade Butthole head won. The Surfer projected an episode of Charlie's Angels backwards and on top of it surgical film of sexual reassignment surgery. It was at the old Train Station off the 2nd Ave Extension.
Submitted by Matt Robesch | Nirvana performs as an opening act for the Butthole Surfers in a Halloween themed show. The crowd, mostly punkers and freaks, openly booed the long-haired Nirvana. The Surfers' performance is cut short when the stage breaks almost an hour into their set. Also on the bill: Blood Circus.
May 1988: Chad Channing Joins Nirvana. He plays his first show at the Vogue club in Seattle
Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic and first drummer Aaron Burckhard form Nirvana in Aberdeen, Wash.