Nirvana (band)

Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana had many drummers, but the final and most well known drummer was Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. The band ended in 1994 after the death of Cobain. Since they formed, they have sold over 75 million records all over the world.[1]

Nirvana around 1992.jpg
Kurt Cobain (foreground) and Krist Novoselic live at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards
Background information
OriginAberdeen, Washington, U.S.
Years active1987–1994
Associated acts
Past members See band members section for others

Nirvana were part of a rock music genre from Seattle called grunge. The genre comes from both punk rock and heavy metal. They released their first album, called Bleach, for record label Sub Pop in 1989. Nirvana's style was songs with quiet verses and loud choruses. After signing to record label DGC Records, in 1991, Nirvana became very popular after releasing the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit". This song was the first single from their second album Nevermind (1991), which sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Nirvana becoming popular also made alternative rock popular. Cobain was then called by some people the "spokesman of a generation".[2]

After many tours and the 1992 compilation album Incesticide and EP Hormoaning, Nirvana released their third studio album In Utero (1993). It was well liked by critics and sold 15 million records worldwide. Nirvana ended after the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994. Some live albums have been released since. MTV Unplugged in New York (1994) won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1996.


Formation and early years (1987-1988)

Singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic met while they were at Aberdeen High School. Cobain said they didn't speak much while there. They became friends after high school while they were both often in the practising space of the Melvins[3] Cobain wanted to start a band with Novoselic, but Novoselic did not answer for a long time. Cobain sent him a demo of his band Fecal Matter. Three years later, Novoselic told Cobain he had listened to the tape and said they should start a band.[4]


Following a tour stop in Munich, Germany on March 1, 1994, Kurt was diagnosed with severe Bronchitis. He flew to Rome the next day for treatment, and his wife Courtney Love met him there a few days later. On March 4, Kurt was rushed to the hospital after an overdose of Rohypnol, which he had consumed with Champagne. On March 18, Courtney called the Seattle Police to their home over one dispute, informing them that Kurt was suicidal and that he had locked himself in a room with a gun. When the police arrived, Kurt explained to them that he was not suicidal and that he only wanted to leave Courtney. On March 25, Courtney arranged an intervention for Kurt, however it was unsuccessful, with Kurt insulting its participants. On March 30, Kurt and his best friend Dylan Carlson went to buy a shotgun, which he told him he needed for home protection and because of prowlers. The guns Kurt owned previously had been seized by the police, leading Dylan to buy the gun in his name, and not Kurt’s. That same day, Kurt checked into Exodus Recovery Center, and flew to Los Angeles. After two days at the treatment center, Kurt jumped over a 6 foot perimeter wall and bought a plane ticket back to Seattle. On the flight, he sat next to Guns N' Roses’ Duff McKagan, who knew that in all of his instinct that something was wrong. When Kurt arrived back in Seattle, people reported sightings of him in the days following. When Courtney learned that he left Exodus, she began trying to locate him. On April 4, she called in a missing person’s report for him, pretending to be his mother Wendy when making the call. The day after, she instructed an assistant to hire electricians to install security lighting and motion censors on a greenhouse above the garage of the Cobains’ home. On April 7, Nirvana pulled out of that year’s Lollapalooza music festival. The next day, one of the hired electricians named Gary Smith found Kurt’s body lying in the greenhouse, and called the police. No attempt was ever made to reform Nirvana.

After the band

After Nirvana broke up, Dave Grohl started a new band called the Foo Fighters. Krist Novoselic became interested in politics and also kept making music. He was the bassist for Flipper, which Kurt Cobain was a fan of, but later left the band. Novoselic later founded alternative rock band Giants in the Trees in 2017.


Studio albums


  1. "Nirvana catalogue to be released on vinyl". CBC News. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  2. Azerrad, Michael."Inside the Heart and Mind of Nirvana". Rolling Stone. April 16, 1992. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  3. Azerrad, 1994. p. 36
  4. Azerrad, 1994. p. 44–5