Nirvana Plays in a Radio Shack, the Day After Recording its First Demo Tape (1988)

Here’s a strange home video of Nirvana when they were unknown, playing inside a Radio Shack in the band’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington. The video was recorded on the evening of January 24, 1988, after the store had closed. In those days the group went by the name of Ted Ed Fred.

Only the day before, the band had recorded its first demo tape at a studio in Seattle. Guitarist and singer Kurt Cobain asked his new friend Eric Harter, who managed the Radio Shack, to videotape the band playing “Paper Cuts,” one of 10 songs from the demo. Along with Cobain, the video features Nirvana co-founder Krist Novoselic on bass and Dale Crover of the Melvins on drums.

The YouTube version below has been synched to the recording of “paper Cuts” made the day before, and was taken from a segment of the tabloid TV show American Journal that aired shortly after Cobain’s suicide in April, 1994. The unaltered clip from the program (above) includes footage of Harter talking about the Radio Shack video and giving a copy of the tape to Cobain’s grieving widow Courtney Love, who is shown with her friend Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland. At one point, Harter mentions a “Ted Ed Fred” concert at the Community World Theater in Tacoma. To see a full video of that show, which was staged the night before the Radio Shack taping (and only hours after the demo session), click here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newsletter, please find it here.

If you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks!

Related content:

The First Live Performance of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ (1991)

Kurt Cobain’s Isolated Vocal Track From ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

Nirvana’s Home Videos: An Intimate Look at the Band’s Life in 1988

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Tyson says:

    An artist’s outlet is his art. When his art is hijacked & manipulated to please the ma$, then what?

  • Andrew Lowe says:

    Description Correction:

    “The YouTube version BELOW has been synched to the recording of “Paper Cuts” made the day before . . .”

    “The unaltered clip from the program ABOVE includes footage of Harter talking about the Radio Shack video . . .”

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.