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Last updated on August 4th, 2023 at 08:03 am
Nirvana is one of the most influential bands of all time.
Guitarist and vocalist Kurt Cobain, drummer Dave Grohl, and bassist Krist Novoselic only released three albums, but their influence on alternative rock is still felt today.
Check out some of the most interesting Nirvana facts below.
10 Nirvana Facts You Might Not Know
1. Nirvana’s First Drummer
We all know that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” exploded into the mainstream, but how did Nirvana start?
Cobain and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic began the band after meeting in 1985. They were both fans of Seattle punk legends the Melvins and often met at their practice space.
On their initial demos, Dale Crover of the Melvins provided drums for their proteges.
2. Nirvana Could Have Been…Pen Cap Chew?
Now were getting into some deeper dive Nirvana facts.
How did Nirvana get their name? They initially went through a few, ranging from Pen Cap Chew to Ted Ed Fred.
They chose Nirvana because Cobain wanted “a name that was kind of beautiful or nice” instead of “a mean, raunchy punk name.”
3. Nirvana’s Debut Album Bleach Was Recorded Quickly – and On a Budget
Before they hit big with 1991’s Nevermind, Nirvana’s first official release was 1989’s Bleach.
Released on legendary Seattle punk Sub Pop, it was recorded by producer Jack Endino in under 30 hours. Its total budget was $606.17.
Certainly one of the most shocking Nirvana facts.
4. Kurt Cobain Was Possibly the First Person to Request Nirvana on the Radio
Nirvana’s first single, “Love Buzz,” was released in 1988.
After dropping off a copy at college station KCMU, Cobain listened to the station all day before requesting the song himself since he hadn’t heard it.
5. Nirvana Were Early Allies
How did Nirvana change the world? They were ahead of the curve by taking stances against racism, sexism, and homophobia in their interviews.
This influenced many other bands to be more open about doing so in the future.
6. The Story Behind “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is Kinda Classic
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is perhaps Nirvana’s best song, but how did that title come about?
During a drunken evening, Kathleen Hanna, lead singer for fellow Seattle band Bikini Kill, wrote “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit” on his wall.
Teen Spirit was Kurt Cobain’s girlfriend’s deodorant (he was dating Hanna’s bandmate, Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail).
Today, few are even aware of Teen Spirit deodorant’s existence outside of its mention in this song.
7. The Most Iconic Janitor of the 90s
The “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video is legendary from start to finish.
Fun fact: Kurt Cobain worked as a janitor at his old high school, so Cobain’s old job inspired that character in the video.
8. Love Nevermind? Check Out These Songs That Didn’t Make the Cut
We’ve all heard the classic Nirvana songs on Nevermind – “Drain You,” “In Bloom,” “Lithium” – and many of us love its album tracks even more.
9. Sad Foreshadowing of Kurt Cobain’s Suicide
Not surprisingly, some Nirvana facts are quite sad.
The original title of Nirvana’s third and final studio album, In Utero, was I Hate Myself and Want to Die.
It’s also the name of a Nirvana song from the 1993 Beavis and Butthead Experience compilation.
Released with its far better title, In Utero included hits like “Heart Shaped Box,” “Pennyroyal Tea” and “All Apologies,” the last of which they famously performed on their MTV Unplugged performance.
10. Kurt Cobain’s Early Brush with Suicide
What ended Nirvana? Obviously, that’d be Kurt Cobain’s suicide on April 8, 1994.
Among the lesser-known Nirvana facts, when Kurt Cobain was in middle school, he and a friend came across the corpse of a student who had hung himself.
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