Cobain and Krist Novoselic met in 1984. Both were fans of The Melvins, and often
frequented the band's practice space. After a couple of false starts at forming
their own band, the duo recruited drummer Aaron Burckhard, creating the first
incarnation of what would eventually become Nirvana. Cobain later described the
sound of the band when they first started as "a Gang of Four and Scratch Acid
ripoff." Within a few months, Burckhard was fired from the band. He was
temporarily replaced by Dale Crover of The Melvins, who played on the band's
first demos. Dave Foster then began a brief tenure as the band's drummer.
During its initial months, the band went through a series of names, including Skid Row, Pen Cap Chew, and Ted Ed Fred. The band finally settled on Nirvana in early 1988, playing their first show under the name that March. A couple of months later, the band finally settled on a drummer, Chad Channing.
Nirvana's first official release was the single "Love Buzz/Big Cheese" in 1988. In 1989, the band released its first album, Bleach, on Sub Pop Records. The record had a limited first pressing of 1000 white vinyl records that were sold at the Lamefest in Seattle on August 8, 1989. Bleach was highly influenced by The Melvins, by the heavy dirge-rock of Mudhoney, and by the 70s rock of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Novoselic noted in a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone that the band had played a tape in their van while on tour that had an album by The Smithereens on one side and an album by the black metal band Celtic Frost on the other, and noted that the combination probably played an influence as well. Bleach became a favorite of college radio stations nationally, but gave few hints of where the band would find itself two years later.
Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle Sound) is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American state of Washington, particularly in the Seattle area.
It's 4 o'clock on a cold Seattle afternoon, and Kurt Cobain, the lyricist-guitarist-lead singer of Nirvana, is sitting in a downtown hotel room, playing with his 5-month-old daughter, Frances, while his wife, Courtney Love-lead singer of her own band, Hole-applies her makeup. At the moment, the Cobains (including the baby) are on the cover of Spin magazine-which has named Nirvana as Artist of the Year-and the band's new album, Incesticide, is due out within the week. The Nirvana media machine should be in high gear.
Kurt's grandfather Leland Cobain, 80, is plagued by the suspicion that Kurt didn't kill himself. "I think he was murdered," he says. (In fact, conspiracy theories have spread over the years, but the Seattle police say the case is closed.)
"It was pretty sad,"
says. "I didn't believe it. I couldn't
believe it was suicide. Still don't."