It’s spring time in Seattle of 1991, and Nirvana has a new drummer, his name is Dave Grohl, and for the last six month since his arrival, the band has rehearsed, written new songs and already played a few shows in the US, the UK and Canada.
Geffen Records has had an eye on the band and has invited the band to LA to sign with them and to start recording the band’s next album. In need of gas money, the band sets up a gig at the Seattle venue, OK Hotel, on the 17th April, with supporting acts Bikini Kill and Fitz of Depression.
The Seattle music scene is divided this night: Alice in Chains are playing a nearby warehouse on a pier, performing a gig for a scene in Cameron Crowe’s movie Singles. But the OK Hotel is still packed and the air is filled with excitement, ‘cause the Seattle audience hasn’t seen the band with their new drummer since November the year before.
Frontman Kurt Cobain takes the stage and opens the show with a solo performance of Pennyroyal Tea, before jokingly introducing the rest of the band to the stage with “Hello. We’re major-label corporate-rock sellouts”. From there on it’s sweaty crowd-surfing all around!
Near the end of the set, the band debuts a new song that is still in-progress, “This song is called ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’,” says Cobain before ripping into the now so famous riff.
In the last week of April heads on down to LA to meet and rehearse with the producer Butch Vig. On April 30, Nirvana signs with Geffen Records and two days later, the bands sets up in the Van Nuys studio Sound City, to start recording what would become the band’s breakthrough album Nevermind – and the rest is history!
If you are lucky, there is rough footage of the entire Nirvana OK Hotel concert floating around out there… Happy viewing!
Put a part of music history on your wall – buy the OK Hotel poster in our web shop:
by Dennis Mejdal 2020