Watch Rare footage of Dave Grohl’s first performance with Nirvana, 1990
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you the very first time dave Grohl sat behind the kit for Nirvana as Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic did their thing upfront. A moment in time, that for many fans is as crucial as the first electric guitar being plugged in.
In the latter part of 1990, with the leaves turning brown, there was another relationship on the wane. The burgeoning underground King of Grunge, AKA Nirvana were growing tired of their drummer Chad Channing.
Channing’s inability to smash through a set of increasingly powerful tunes was becoming an issue. While he possessed the rhythm, there was a certain raw energy that lacked in his output. Soon enough the band were on the look out for a new sticks man. Enter Dave Grohl.
The young Grohl was on the hunt for his own new venture after his former band Scream, a group of hardcore punk from the Washington D.C. scene, had disbanded. With the help of Melvin’s frontman Buzz Osbourne, he would soon find himself a new home behind the Nirvana kit. Osbourne introduced Grohl to Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic and after a comparatively short audition, Nirvana as we know it was born.
Only days later Grohl would be thrust into action and find himself behind one of the most important drum kits of his life, as the man with the sticks, he crashed through a set with Nirvana at the North Shore Surf Club in Olympia, Washington. It would be the first of many inspirational shows.
Were Cobain and Novoselic putting Grohl through his paces or was this just Nirvana’s way. However you cut it, the performance was not a short set. The band crashed through 20 tracks, five of which were covers, meaning Grohl had a lot to take in prior to getting on stage.
The songs played by Nirvana saw a heavy reliance on their debut record Bleach while the covers included Devo, Wipers, Shocking Blue and other, with the latter’s ‘Love Buzz’ also featuring on the band’s debut LP. It’s about as close to a musical baptism of fire as one might expect. But then again, this is Nirvana, isn’t it?
The footage is a flash of the brilliance the band was destined to achieve. While Cobain and co had been making wave sin their adopted hometown of Seattle as underground Kings, the ‘big time’ and all the trouble it brought with it, was just a few miles over the horizon.
They were not only going to change a 21-year-old Dave Grohl’s life, but countless others across the globe. From their inception until present day Nirvana are still regarded as one of the pillars of modern music. While Cobain gets a lot fo the credit, without Dave Grohl, Nirvana would’ve been a rudderless ship.