Following the meteoric rise of Nirvana, after their hit album Nevermind had stormed the country, the band were still playing in relatively small venues. Later though, in 1991, they had just performed with much larger crowds and a heightened sense of fandom. At a show in Texas in the early 1990s, Kurt Cobain was standing in front of one of those bulging crowds, bustling for a position and a piece of memorabilia, when, during a performance, Cobain took a dive into the crowd—not an unusual situation.
However, things would go really awry as it was clear Cobain had just ruffled the wrong feathers and a security guard was now his worst enemy. The fracas descended, eventually, into Cobain attacking the bouncer with his guitar which itself saw the bouncer return the favour. It’s a classic story of Cobain fighting for his rights once more.
We are dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at a searing moment of grunge history. It sees Cobain go toe to toe with a security guard back in an unenviable match up. From the footage, you can see a bouncer struggling to contain the crowd that the band had hyped up and, without control, ends up pushing Cobain in the face. It would see Cobain’s red mist descend and the artist swing his guitar at the bouncer’s head.
During a performance of the band’s cover of Shocking Blue’s song ‘Love Buzz’, Cobain decides to stage dive across a pulsating crowd. It’s a relatively common occurrence for the Nirvana frontman and most rock acts at the time. After this, the security guard hits the singer in the face when trying to retrieve him. Whether it was an accident or an attempt to exert his dominance, we will never know, but it certainly rattled the frontman.
The Nirvana singer retaliates, perhaps a little over the top, by slamming the bottom of his guitar into the bouncer’s face. With the force of Cobain’s hit, the weight of the guitar and the metal strap stud at the butt of the instrument taken into account, it’s amazing he wasn’t knocked out cold or had his head split open like a melon.
The ponytailed bouncer doesn’t take the blow lightly. With Cobain drawing blood from the bouncer’s bonce, he pulls the singer from the crowd and soon stands above him and slams him in the back of the head. If you’ve ever been in a similar situation you will know making this move was a bold choice from the bouncer with a room full of angry kids.
The room erupts, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic stop playing instantly to diffuse the situation, the crowd heaves and we imagine the gravity of that punch landed heavily and swiftly on the security man’s shoulders. The crowd he had just been keeping at bay had a new ponytailed target.
Cobain was in a fractious mood and had apparently been smashing up the stage sound equipment after being unhappy with the sound and the venue’s engineers. It could’ve been a reason for the bouncer to be no longer willing to deal with a frontman jumping into the crowd and causing yet more work for a tired crew.
The reports say that as the event was calmed, Cobain went to hide backstage until he was told the offending bouncer had left the venue. Cobain then returned and the gig continued. Yet, the bouncer was waiting for the band outside, as the trio made their escape the bouncer began smashing the vehicle’s windows. The band escaped unharmed and with a brand new story under their belts.
Below is the footage of the moment Kurt Cobain hit a bouncer over the head with his guitar.
This video contains scenes of violence