August 30th, 2014

Kurt Cobain, Reading, August 30, 1992


Kurt Cobain, Reading, August 30, 1992

Reblogged from
June 20th, 2014


Nineteen years ago today, L7 singer/guitarist Donita Sparks tossed her used Tampax into the crowd at the U.K.’s Reading Festival, yelling, “Eat my used tampon, fuckers!” Her former bandmate Jennifer Finch remembers this menstrual moment in rock history in this excerpt from Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge:

"People were throwing mud at us when we were playing. Donita was like, ‘Fuck this!’ and went behind her amp and pulled out her tampon and threw it into the audience. It was hysterical. That’s something we used to do, growing up: drive around and pull our tampons out and throw them at people that made comments. It’s the ultimate kind of ‘fuck you.’ I always thought Donita was a bit of a reactionary, but thank God, she just expressed how angry and upset she was at that moment.”

Reblogging this 2011 post by request. Here you go, @tooyoungtobethisold.

March 25th, 2014


Rare Memorabilia: The ‘Reading Festival’ shirt featuring Nirvana and other acts from ‘92.

It seems incredible to me that the Wonder Stuff were once big enough to headline Reading. Also: E.M.F.!

Reblogged from
March 15th, 2014


new picture of Kurt Cobain getting ready to perform ‘Breed’ - Nirvana’s first song from the Reading Festival, 1992.

Reblogged from
August 27th, 2012

During last night’s Reading Festival set, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl dedicated “These Days” to former Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain.

March 10th, 2012

'Everybody Loves Our Town': The Audio/Visual Experience!

To celebrate the trade paperback release of my book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge (out this Tuesday, March 13; order info here), I’ve rounded up video clips of 10 of the musical performances discussed in the book, along with corresponding excerpts (note: all page numbers are for the paperback edition). Hope you enjoy the ELOT A/V experience!

1. Mudhoney headline the Sub Pop Lamefest, the Moore Theatre, Seattle, June 9, 1989

BRUCE PAVITT (Sub Pop Records cofounder) The manager of the Moore Theatre had actually sent most of his security guys home because he was convinced that nobody was gonna show up. So when the local youth went off at the show, stage-diving and everything else, the security staff on hand was overwhelmed. Mark Arm very famously kicked a security guard and knocked him right off the stage. That show ignited the city’s youth and put Seattle on the map. (p. 200 of the paperback edition)

2. L7 and Cat Butt singer David Duet cover the Sonics’ “Strychnine,” the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, August 27, 1990

DAVID DUET (Cat Butt singer) I checked myself into a five-day-detox wino hospital. Stayed there about three days. L7 was playing down the street, and I convinced the nurse to let me out, that it would be better for me to go play rock and roll, and she did. It was amazing. I hobbled down the street, got on stage with L7, did a Frank Sinatra version of “Strychnine” ‘cause I was so looped out from all the medications they had me on, jumped in the van with L7, went to Canada. (p. 225; video is from Canadian tour)

3. Pearl Jam’s first show (performed under the name Mookie Blaylock), the Off Ramp, Seattle, October 22, 1990

DAVE KRUSEN (Pearl Jam drummer) A week later, we played a show. It was at a place called the Off Ramp, and we were called Mookie Blaylock. I didn’t know anything about basketball, so I did not know who Mookie Blaylock was. I remember somebody asking, “Why Mookie Blaylock?” And Jeff answered, “Michael Jordan is just not very cool-sounding.” (p. 269)

4. Nirvana debut “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the OK Hotel, Seattle, April 17, 1991

KURT BLOCH (Fastbacks/Young Fresh Fellows guitarist) That show at the OK Hotel was legendary! There were a few genre-defining shows, and certainly that was one of them. I remember standing next to Nils Bernstein, and then, “Hey, here’s a new song, blah blah blah.” They started playing “Teen Spirit,” and Nils and I looked at each other like, Holy fuck! This song is unbelievable. (p. 278) 

5. Screaming Trees trash the stage, Roskilde Festival, Denmark, June 25, 1992 

BARRETT MARTIN (Screaming Trees drummer) After Roskilde, something shifted in the way we were perceived: as being real brutish, tough, beating people up, looking for fights, fighting amongst ourselves. But it was a distortion of reality. I’m not saying that it didn’t happen on a small scale from time to time, but you wouldn’t have the energy to keep going if you did that all the time. (p. 338)

6. L7 singer/guitarist Donita Sparks throws a used tampon at the crowd, the Reading Festival, England, August 30, 1992

JENNIFER FINCH (L7 bassist) People were throwing mud at us when we were playing. Donita was like, “Fuck this!” and went behind her amp and pulled out her tampon and threw it into the audience. It was hysterical. That’s something we used to do, growing up: drive around and pull our tampons out and throw them at people that made comments. It’s the ultimate kind of “fuck you.” (p. 369)

7. Journalist Everett True wheels Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain onstage, the Reading Festival, England, August 30, 1992

EVERETT TRUE (U.K. music journalist) I was trying to walk in a straight line, and so I start pushing Kurt towards the mic, and he reaches up and grabs me. I thought, Oh cool, he wants to have a mock fight onstage like we always used to have. So I start kind of punching him, and he’s saying, “No, you asshole, you’re pushing me to the wrong microphone.” (p. 370)

8. Pearl Jam’s drunken MTV Singles film premiere party performance, the Park Plaza Hotel Ballroom, Los Angeles, September 10, 1992

DANNY BRAMSON (Singles music supervisor) The show started, and Vedder goes out onstage begrudgingly. He’s got a bottle in one hand, and he grabs the mic and his opening words are “FUCK HOLLYWOOD!” That set the tone for the entire evening. (p. 390)

9. Nirvana play MTV Unplugged, Sony Music Studios, New York, November 18, 1993

(MTV Unplugged producer) At the end, I asked them, “Is there anything else you wanna try? We don’t have to use it.” I didn’t even dare suggest “Teen Spirit.” And Krist and Dave were kinda brainstorming, and Kurt just looked at me and said, “How do I top that last song?” I remember reaching to my headset and going, “That’s a wrap. We’re done.” (p. 436)

10. Alice in Chains play MTV Unplugged, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Majestic Theater, April 10, 1996

MIKE INEZ (Alice in Chains bassist) Layne that night was so haunting. His voice, especially his performance on “Down in a Hole,” it still brings a tear to my eye. There was a couple times I had to pull my eyes off of Layne and remind myself, Hey, I’m at work. Instead of being a fan here, I better concentrate on my bass chords. He was just so mesmerizing. (p. 486)

March 6th, 2012

Everybody Loves Our Outtakes, drunken horseplay edition: Tripping Kurt Cobain at Reading ‘92

In the lead-up to next week’s release of the trade paperback edition of
 Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge (out March 13; order info here), I’ll be sharing some of the book’s better outtakes for my faithful blog readers. This first one, former Mudhoney manager Bob Whittaker’s tales of offstage hijinks at the grunge-heavy 1992 Reading Festival, was cut from the final manuscript for pacing purposes: 

BOB WHITTAKER (Mudhoney manager) At the hotel after the show, we were over-served in the hotel lobby and got rip-roaring. There was a rumor that Kurt had a doctor with him at Reading to help him with stomach problems or to deal with all the trappings of rock and roll, I don’t know. [Mudhoney’s Matt] Lukin kneeled down behind Cobain and I shoved him over, and we said, “Where’s your doctor now?” Also, “Where’s John Silva now?”—John Silva being his manager. Those are the two abusive things we shouted as he was falling over backwards.

At some point, I had exchanged clothes with a woman there, so I’m in tights and a ridiculous top or a one-piece, and she’s wearing my scrappy outfit. The next morning, I woke up in bed next to [Screaming Trees’ Mark] Lanegan. We both woke up at the same time. Lanegan’s reaction was something to the effect of, “Oh my God!”

Thankfully I still had the woman’s outfit on, as opposed to being stark naked next to Mark Lanegan. We were tired, so I’m sure it was platonic. I don’t think he molested me.

February 26th, 2012

The Afghan Whigs perform “My Curse” (with Marcy Mays of Scrawl on vocals) and “Miles Iz Ded” at the 1994 Reading Festival.

January 31st, 2012

Babes in Toyland - “Bruise Violet,” live at Reading, 1993

Reblogged from cute and dangerous
December 7th, 2011

The Afghan Whigs - “My World Is Empty Without You/I Hear a Symphony” (Reading 1994)

September 23rd, 2011

Nirvana at the Reading Festival, 1991 (photo by Steve Gullick). From the New York Times Magazine's What They Were Thinking feature:

DAVE GROHL (LEFT): There were 30,000, maybe 35,000 people at Reading. I’m not sure, but it was a lot bigger than any show I had ever played. I think this picture was taken before the gig, and the reason I can tell the difference between pre- and postgig is that Kurt was seriously injured by jumping into my drum set. That bottle he’s holding out toward the camera was some kind of incredibly potent cough syrup, and he was carrying that thing around like a flask. So this is preshow, and he was drinking that cough syrup, which led him to dive into my drum set, which put him in a sling for the rest of the night. That gig was definitely a triumph.

Read Krist Novoselic’s recollection of this moment here.

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Official Tumblr for Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge, a Time magazine book of the year. (Now in paperback; purchase info here.) The blog is run by the author, freelance writer/editor Mark Yarm; he is of no relation to Mark Arm of Mudhoney.