Twenty years ago today, Nirvana released their second album Nevermind that would go platinum and make grunge a household name across the universe. This band literally changed the way I felt about music – or more like, the way that music KNEW how I was feeling at that very moment. Which scared the sh*t out of me as much as it was exhilarating. Which brings me to this question: how much do you love “Smells Like Teen Spirit“? No really, how much? Because on October 1st, 144 bands – everyone from F**cked Up to Tokyo Police Club to Gallows – will cover it from dusk til dawn as part of Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival. Like whoa. Here are some other ways to celebrate.
1) Seattle’s Experience Music Project has put together the world’s most extensive collection of memorabilia in an exhibit called Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses. It includes never before seen footage, in depth oral histories and personal artifacts from the band, their crew and their families. For a very enlightening look at life around Bleach, take a minute to watch this interview with Chad Channing, who was Nirvana’s first drummer. “Original” seems too disrespectful to Dave – but you know what i mean. Fun fact: EMP architect Frank Gehry also designed Virgin Mobile Freefest HQ Merriweather Post Pavilion!
2) I urge you to check out Seattle based photographer Charles Peterson‘s photography. His back catalogue of the early 90′s music scene (heavy on Mudhoney, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden) is unrivaled. His photos play a starring role in Taking Punk to the Masses (as seen in the photo above), but definitely make sure to also check out his book called Touch Me I’m Sick. Let’s just say this man paved the way in contemporary rock photography. I get weak in the knees when I stand in front of his stuff in real life. Blogtographers take note and pay respect – everytime you pick up a photopass at Will Call it is due in part to Mr. Peterson.
3) Seattle’s KEXP sat down with Nirvana Bassist Krist Novaselic, their original recording engineer Jack Endino and Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt for the Nirvana edition in their documentary series on grunge. Listen to it here.
4) Spin Magazine has their Nirvana Newermind Tribute available for free download. The compilation includes covers by Surferblood, Jeff the Brotherhood and our personal favorite, Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band covering “Stay Away.”
5) Ever wondered what happened to that baby on the front cover of the album? Spencer Elden is a 20 year old (of course) graphic artist working at Obey Giant for Shepard Fairey for one. In case you were wondering, his baby modeling fee was $200.00. Rolling Stone has an awesome interview with him here.
6) Yes, it’s true: Bikini Kill‘s Kathleen Hanna is behind the song title “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Cooties!
7) 107.7 Seattle’s The End have posted 3 unreleased Nirvana tracks on their website. INSANE. Tune in here if you dare!
One last thing: Shout out to Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Blood Sugar Sex Magik which came out 20 years ago today as well. Here is some unreleased live footage from the Paramount in 1981. Go forth and mosh.