1988 – The Soviet Union still exists, the world wide web is only a concept, and Kurt Cobain is just some weirdo playing guitar in a RadioShack. A full video recently surfaced of not-yet Nirvana performing their first demo tape in an empty Radioshack in Washington. Taken on January 24th 1988 after a concert, the video is everything you might hope it would be. It features multiple takes of Cobain leaping into the frame, Melvins member Dale Crover on drums, shots from a smoke machine, and even the entire band just syncing their instruments to their tape playing over the loudspeaker. Song played include “If You Must”, and “Paper Cuts”, which ended up on Bleach.
The entire video almost feels like an SNL skit – it’s just a little too close to exactly how you would picture early Nirvana sessions in a sleepy Washington town. Most of the comments on YouTube riff on the conspicuous syncing(no amp cords), or Kurt’s leaping-entrances. If you’re a committed (or obsessive) fan, you might recognize the Radioshack in this video. That’s because a video surfaced a while back of Kurt playing with plasma balls in a Radioshack closet that same night.
Big props to Mike Ziegler, who posted the footage, alongside a handful of other vintage Nirvana videos. He states in the video description, “If you happen have a Nirvana tape that you recorded that has been sitting in a closet/attic/basement for 25+ years, let me know. Happy to help get it properly archived and shared with the world.” So, if you have any more footage of Nirvana’s suburban shenanigans make sure you let him know.