Watch Nirvana playing a gig in Radio Shack in 1988 a day after recording their first demo
When you’re a big fan of a band that no longer makes music you can quickly get to the end of the musical line. It’s a path many of us have travelled when looking back at our favourite band’s catalogue. But every so often a gem appears that we’ve never heard before and boom! You’re back to all those feelings of excitement and adoration. This happened to us when we found this 1988 home video footage of Nirvana playing at Radio Shack the day after recording their first demo.
The video was shot on the evening of January 24th, 1988 and is shot in their hometown of Aberdeen, Washington. The clip is shot in the evening as the store was closed and has the band under their original moniker of Ted Ed Fred. The clip was shot by manager of the Radio Shack and Kurt Cobain’s friend Eric Harter.
The day before the footage was shot, the band had recorded its first demo tape in a greasy studio in Seattle. The band were buoyed by the recording and Kurt’s mission to become an iconic artist had begun in earnest. He asked Harter to record the band performing ‘Paper Cuts’, one of the tracks they had recorded to the 10-song demo tape, while he and Nirvana co-founder Krist Novoselic performed alongside Dale Crover of the Melvins on drums.
Crover provides the kind of mechanic and mettle-producing performance that endear him and his talents to so many fans. But, naturally, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic steal the show with regards to performance. From Kurt’s epic ‘rock star’ jump into the scene, to Krist using a toy bass to highlight his hulking figure the pair show the kind of chaotic crashing which would put them in front of the leading lights of a new disenfranchised generation.
The clip comes via Reelin’ In The Years and is the cut-down clip of the performance. There are rumours of another clip of the same ‘show’ floating around which includes Harter talking about the Radio Shack video and giving a copy of the tape to Cobain’s grieving widow Courtney Love. The video is also out there with the album track of ‘Paper Cuts’ laid on top.
But if you want our preference, we much prefer to listen to the unedited, unpolished and under-produced version.
We like to see the band warts and all. A band which would not only change the face of rock music but could quite easily change the world. Their music may have evolved from this point to achieve that, but these garbled and gritty notes are what made Nirvana the last refuge of the lost soul.
Watch Nirvana (Ted Ed Fred) performing ‘Paper Cuts’ at Radio Shack in 1988.