Nirvana started as a live band (Don't all bands?). We played around for two years before the release of Bleach in June, 1989. At the time, Live shows were our bread and butter (this being prior to the release of Nevermind in September of 1991). We'd hit the road for months at a time... coming back with one or two grand... to be split three ways. In those days, that was as much "success" as we thought possible.
The earliest performances on this album are brought to you courtesy of a sound board cassette recording of a December, 1989 show at London's Astoria. "Breed" (then called "Immodium") and "Polly" (the big rock version) are taken from this show, the last date of a European tour supporting fellow Sub-Poppers, Tad.
Early in 1991, the band signed with Geffen Records and acquired professional management. D.I.Y. fefll to the wayside.
Nevermind was recorded in the spring of 1991. Following summer tours with Dinosaur Jr. and The Jesus Lizard, Nevermind was released in the fall. Immediately following the release, we went on a tour headlining small venues that culminated with a Halloween Homecoming Show at Seattle's Paramount Theater. This show was filmed and recorded onto multi-track... yielding the version of Negative Creep, used in compliling this record.
Two days later, the band left for another European tour. "School," "Been A Son," "Lithium" and "Blew" were all taken from a show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on November 25, 1991. The show was filmed and recorded on multi-track for Dutch TV. "Spank Thru," this version having been recorded on November 19, 1991 in Rome, was actually the first Nirvana song.
While we were touring Europe, Nevermind was becoming all the rage back home. Though we were kept informed of the momentum, being so far away made us pretty oblivious to the extent of what was happening.
We ended the year with a brief West Coast Tour. The bill included Pearl Jam and Nirvana and was headlined by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The second show of this tour was on December 28, 1991 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (just outside San Diego). For whatever reason, our set was particularly aggressive that night - "Drain You," "Aneurysm" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" were all taken from this recording.
Early in 1992, the band toured Australia and Japan. Later in the summer, we traveled to Europe to make up some Scandinavian shows we had to cancel on the previous tour. The touring highlight of the year, however, was a headlining slot on England's Reading Festival. I have to say that hearing tens of thousands of people sing along with "Lithium" was a very cool moment in the history of the band. We were having fun playing and deciding to stretch the set out a bit - enter "Tourettes," a song which had been around for a few years (and eventually found it's way onto In Utero.)
Following the release of In Utero in 1993, we once again hit the road. Using left over props from the "Heart-Shaped Box" video shoot as set dressing (our first foray into the world of stage props), we concentrated on working up a set that spanned the band's entire career and gave the audience a longer show than we had done on past tours. In that we were playing the "big" halls on this tour, it felt like we needed to bring along a "big" sound... ladies and gentleman, please welcome Pat Smear.
"Scentless Apprentice" was filmed and recorded by MTV for their 1993 New Year's special... recorded at a show at a pier in Seattle. "Heart-Shaped Box" comes from a sound board DAT recording from a show at The Forum in Los Angeles in December, 1993. We took "Milk It" from a sound board recording from the Seattle Center Arena. "Sliver" is taken from a board tape from the Springfiled Civic Center (in Massachusettes)
In presenting this record, we hope that the ultimate allure of Nirvana (and especially Kurt) as well as the passion that we had - and have - for the music we made is once again brought to the forefront. Let all the analysis fall away like yellow, aged newsprint. Crank this record up and realize the bliss, power and passion...