Saturday, January 06, 2018


Nirvana may refer to the final transcendent state to be attained in Buddhism, when the individual is free from suffering and death, but the band of the same name are (rightly or wrongly) synonymous with angst and anger. However, Nirvana's first (and possibly only) fan newsletter - written in October 1991, shortly after the release of Nevermind - shows a very different side to Kurt Cobain and company, jovial in tone and full of goofy jokes and fabrications (about former drummer Chad Channing, Sub Pop "head honcho" Jonathan Poneman and others).

As Dangerous Minds' Martin Schneider notes, to read the letter "is to enter a pre-internet realm in which access to an Apple IIe and a copy shop provided the chance for countless struggling musicians to forge connections with their peers and fans". The letter is also a fascinating snapshot of a band on the cusp of enormous success, still having a blast and excited about reaching out to their audience - rather than the sardonic, jaded cynics they were (arguably) soon to become.

On a related note, Open Culture have taken Kurt Cobain's 50 favourite albums, as listed in his journals, and created a 38-hour playlist so you can really immerse yourself in the albums that shaped the band's sound.

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