Footage Surfaces of Nirvana Playing RadioShack in 1988
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Imagine passing by a RadioShack after hours and seeing the most important act to come out of the grunge era playing in the front window! It happened, way back in the winter of 1988, but the band performing, Ted Ed Fred, were unknown at the time and a couple of years from exploding onto the music landscape as Nirvana.
The day before, the group had recorded a demo with producer Jack Endino at Reciprocal Recording Studios in Seattle, Wash., and the next night, Jan. 24, 1988, headed to the electronics store to attempt to film a video for the songs “If You Must” and “Paper Cuts.” While clips of the performances have been around for years, this 17 minutes worth, released by video archivist Mike Ziegler, is the most complete yet and is believed to be the entirety.
“Following the studio session on the 23rd, later that evening they played a live show at the Community World Theater in Tacoma, WA,” Ziegler writes in the description of the video on YouTube, also noting that you can see footage of that show on the television screens in the background. “So fast forward to the next day and here are Nirvana at RadioShack making a music video of sorts. The music that is being lip synced was the demo made the day before (with “live” drums).”
The demo and video feature Krist Novoselic on bass and drummer Dale Grover, who would later join the Melvins, and Kurt Cobain on guitar and vocal. The frontman is seen leaping into the frame at the beginning of each new “take,” in what can best be described as an amateur go at making an MTV-ready clip.
Eric Harder, store manager of the Aberdeen, Wash. RadioShack was the one responsible for letting the future legends take over the store and Dana Bong handled camera duties. Other than Grover’s drums, the music is mimed over the demo tape.
The video session footage isn’t the only treasure Ziegler dropped; in recent days he’s uploaded all of the footage of the band messing around with a plasma globe in the store, as well as interview footage with Novoselic, drummer Dave Grohl and Cobain from before a show Dec. 13, 1993 in Seattle which would be used for that year’s MTV New Year’s Eve special. Eventually released as the concert film Live and Loud, Cobain’s interview runs more than 90 minutes long, with portions of it eventually chopped up and shown on the video channel.
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