Every so often rare footage of a band before its glory days surfaces and is shared for the world to see. Nirvana fans can now treasure the full 17-minute video clip of the band performing and recording their first demo tape at a Radio Shack store on Jan. 24, 1988 in Aberdeen, Washington. This was notably filmed back when they called themselves Ted Ed Fred.
Shorter clips of the performance have surfaced through the years. But, the full-length clip featured here was reported by Spin, as recently posted by video archivist Mike Ziegler. In it, Dale Crover of The Melvins kicks things off on the drums and steadily taps out the beat live during several attempts from late, great Nirvana guitarist Kurt Cobain to make head-thrashing, flying jumps onto the stage. Krist Novoselic also throws his entire body into the groove, bending nearly in half, whacking his guitar on his legs, and getting up and down from his knees off the floor.
Per Stereogum, the trio shot the video the night after they recorded their first demo. They’re playing in the popular electronics franchise after hours. This intimate glimpse at the band pre-Dave Grohl, long before its chart-busting “Smells Like Teen Spirit” 1991 breakout gives fans a sweet musical moment to savor. Cobain and Novoselic’s guitars are noticeably unplugged, but that still doesn’t take away from the electrifying intensity of the raw, historical moment that is captured.
Nirvana has maintained a loyal cult following more than two decades after Kurt Cobain’s tragic 1994 suicide. The band ranked at No. 27 and No. 30 on the 2004 and 2011 Rolling Stone rankings of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.” One can’t help but wonder if Cobain and Novoselic had any clue just how influential the band would eventually become as they played their hearts out to everyone who would eventually watch this tape.
Watch the entire Nirvana performance in the attached video and stay tuned to AXS for updates.
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