While Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were always members of the band, finding a permanent drummer proved pretty tough for them. Aaron Burckhard was the first, but he proved to be short lived after he got Kurt Cobians car impounded after an arrest. The famed Melvins drummer Dale Crover came next and helped drum on the bands first demo tape, but he eventually moved to San Francisco. Next up was Dave Foster, who also proved to be a short-lived drummer in the band after he was arrested for assaulting the son of a mayor. Then came Chad Channing who was around for a while, but ultimately he didn’t make the cut. Finally, Cobain and Novoselic came across Dave Grohl, who became available after his band Scream broke up.
Before the band settled on Nirvana, they went by various other band names, including Pen Cap Chew, Bliss, Ted Ed Fred, and Skid Row.
In 1987, Kurt Cobain wrote the famed song “Polly” from the album “Nevermind” after he read about an article about a 14 year old girl who was treated horribly. The famed lyricist wrote the song from the perspective of the young girl, and created the fictional name of Polly. The song became and instant hit and even gained Bob Dylan’s praise.
It turns out that Nirvana’s first album, “Bleach,” wasn’t even paid for by the members of the band. In fact, a second guitarist, Jason Everman, was added to the mix after, and he ended up paying the $606.17 for the album. At the time, he was the only person who had a job to pay for it.
“In Utero” is today one of the most recognizable albums in the Grunge movement, but it was originally to be named “I Hate Myself And I Want To Die.” Cobain had a habit actually of going through a bunch of names before settling on one. Nirvana’s initial album was going to be called “Too Many Humans,” but after Cobain was in San Francisco and saw a sign which said to “Bleach Your Works,” he changed it to “Bleach.” In fact, “Nevermind” originally was “Sheep” and the artwork on the album featured rows of identical houses.
By March of 1999, Nirvana’s acclaimed and hugely popular “Nevermind” album had shipped over 10 million unit although “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the only top 10 song from the album.
Cobain dropped out of high school only to return to work there was a janitor. The eventual rock-star worked cleaning up Weatherwax High School soon after dropping out of school. In fact, the dancing janitor in the hugely popular “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video was a joke based on those who knew about Cobain’s old job at the school.
Nirvana is considered a great band of originality that ushered in the Grunge movement, but there are plenty of times when the great band came under fire for plagiarizing. In 1989, when the song “Negative Creep” from the album “Bleach” featured the chorus “Daddy’s little girl ain’t a girl no more,” it was pretty reminiscent of Mudhoney’s “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More.” In the end, nothing came of it, but years later Cobain became nervous about his song “Come As You Are,” as it was pretty similar to a Killing Joke song (Eighties). In the end, Killing Joke did complain about it, but nothing came of it. In the end though, only the director of the “Heart Shaped Box” music video sued the band for using his ideas and it was ultimately settled out of court.
By now, the world is well aware of Dave Grohl and his fame from his band The Foo Fighters. But, during his Nirvana years, not many know that Grohl was not just a great drummer. In fact, Grohl wrote songs on his own before he joined Nirvana, and even released some. Although Cobain was the sole songwriter, Grohl helped out here and there, including on the song “Scentless Apprentice” and others. “Marigold,” a B-side track to the “Heart Shaped Box” single was written and composed by American rock musician Dave Grohl.
One of “Nevermind’s” top songs, “Heart Shaped Box” was actually titled “Heart Shaped Coffin.” The song, which was inspired by a heart shaped box given to Cobain by wife Courtney Love, featured the lyrics “buried” in the box, as opposed to “locked inside your heart shaped box.”
Kurt Cobain comes from a long line of musical talent and those in his family who had music in their blood. Cobain’s uncle Chuck Fradenburg was a member of the band The Beachcombers, while his aunt Mari Earle played guitar. And, his great-uncle was an Irish tenor who can be seen in a film.
Tracy Marander, who was Kurt’s girlfriend at the time when “Bleach” was recorded is said to have taken the photo that appears on the album cover. And, “About A Girl” is said to be about her as well. She only found out after his death.
Cobain met bassist Krist Novoselic in high school, but it took some time for them to become friends. It wasn’t until they kept running into each other at the famed Melvin’s bands practice space that they became friendly though. Ultimately, while Cobain wanted to start a band with Krist, it took 3 years after they met for them to start a band.
In their first formal review, Nirvana was compared to a band that sounded like Lynyrd Skynyrd but without the “flair.” Cobain was quite sensitive according to Krist Novoselic, and didn’t love the news that a reviewer from Michigan had stomped on their single “Love Buzz.” History has shown that the reviewer had been pretty wrong.
Kurt really disliked Axl Rose From Guns N Roses, even going so far as to spit on the piano he thought Axl was going to use during the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. It turns out he had spit on Elton John’s piano though!