When Nirvana Played ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ for the First Time


Nirvana performed “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time on April 17, 1991 at a dark Seattle club in the shadow of a highway overpass.

The show was hastily organized, a last minute booking by a still-unknown and cash-strapped band.

“Nirvana needed gas money to drive down to L.A. to record Nevermind, so they played a last-minute show at the OK Hotel,” Steve Moriarty, drummer for Seattle punk band the Gits, recalled in the book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge. “The band walked away with a few hundred bucks, drove down to L.A., and the rest is history.”

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was still in its infancy when Nirvana debuted it on stage. They had little indication that this track would become such a…



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