During the Bleach era of Nirvana, the Seattle grunge outfit were on the brink of greatness. Despite their rising stock, however, the band were still somehow relatively unknown outside of their hometown and the few people who managed to see them perform live during this exciting time are undoubtedly still talking about it all these decades later.
For those of us that were not fortunate enough to catch the seminal group live during this period, thankfully there is a plethora of footage which is the closest thing we can get to seeing Kurt Cobain and the band before they ascended into stardom following the release of Nevermind in 1991. The footage doesn’t get much more impressive than this video of the band performing a raucous video of the bonafide classic ‘Negative Creep’.
Bleach did not chart upon its original indie label release but was well-received by critics. When the album was reissued internationally by Geffen Records in 1992, following the success of Nirvana’s second album Nevermind, its major-label version peaked at number 89 on the Billboard 200, hit number 33 on the UK albums chart and 34 on the Australian albums chart.
Prior to the release of Nevermind, Nirvana’s debut had sold around 40,000 copies globally but, following the cosmic success of their sophomore effort, millions of new fans around the globe tuned in to see Bleach sell over 1.9million copies in the States alone.
‘Negative Creep’, admittedly, is one of the standout moments on the record. The track sees Cobain write about himself in a frank and brutally honest manner, a method that was groundbreaking back in 1989 and the sincerity of the track is part of the reason why Nirvana was so relatable for so many. The song is also one of Josh Homme’s favourites, and he still remembers the incredible feeling that he had when he first heard the track as an impressionable teenager who played in a band. “The first time I heard Bleach, I remember turning to my friends and saying, ‘We gotta start writing better songs.’ Listening to ‘Negative Creep’ and ‘School’ and ‘Love Buzz,’ I thought there were three different singers in the band. It was a total perspective-changer – it definitely ripped a sheet of paper off of my mental notepad,” Homme recalled to Rolling Stone.
“A couple of years later, I got an advance copy of Nevermind. I was raised on Black Flag and the Cramps; I had always thought, ‘This is the best shit ever, and no one’s going to listen to it.’ Nevermind proved that I was completely wrong about that. I was so stoked,” he added.
Watch the incredible footage of Cobain leading Nirvana through a visceral rendition of ‘Negative Creep’, below.