30 years ago this weekend, Nirvana performed “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time

As Nirvana prepared to go into the studio with producer Butch Vig in May 1991, they’d been playing most of the material destined for Nevermind for more than a year. There was, however, one song that emerged late in the game, shortly after Dave Grohl joined the band.

To earn some gas money to get down to the studio in LA, the band booked a gig at the OK Hotel , a dingy spot in Seattle. It was there they premiered the new song. The date was April 17, 1991.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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