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. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

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, and Ven­mo (@openculture). 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.