The core of Nirvana was Kurt Cobain, lead guitarist and vocalist, and Krist Novoselic, bass player. After going through many many different name changes and member changes, Kurt and Krist met Chad Channing, who became their drummer for their debut album. Some of the other notable people that were in the band, or its earliest incarnations, were Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover of the Melvins and Danny Peters of Mudhoney, among others.
Nirvana recorded their Bleach album for about $600, a dark, crunching album containing simple, guitar driven like Negative Creep and School as well as more sophisticated songs like About a Girl, and a modified version of Shocking Blue's Love Buzz. It was released in June of '89 by Sub Pop records. After recording, Nirvana went on tour after the addition of guitarist Jason Everman. Jason was added because Kurt wasn't sure he could handle singing and playing guitar at the same time. Jason also helped contribute quite a bit of the money to record the debut LP.
After touring and and looking for another label, Nirvana was bought out of their two year contract by DGC, David Geffen's record label. They recorded their Nevermind album in May of '91 at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. It was released on September 13, 1991 and went platinum in about three weeks, mostly due to the song Smells Like Teen Spirit, which has been labeled as the anthem of generation X.
After a massive tour in support of Nevermind, Nirvana came back to the states. A collection of B-sides and rarities, called Incesticide was released, and sold well despite very little fanfare. After touring constantly, Nirvana once again returned to the studios in March of 1993 to record their long-awaited new album, In Utero.
Originally, DGC was not pleased with the album at all. Their first comment upon hearing the recording was, "Nice demos. When can we expect to hear the finished album?" They thought that it had no commercial value at all, and would let Nirvana's fans down after the slick, radio friendly Nevermind album. A few of the songs were later remixed or rerecorded, but the majority of the album stayed the same. One of the reasons why it may not have sounded quite as great as Nevermind is that In Utero was recorded in two weeks. Most of the vocals were done in one day, with the help of a lot of cough syrup, and a lot of the songs were recorded in one take. It was also plagued with problems regarding Krist's bass playing, which was frequently inaudible.
But, after working out their difficulties with their company, In Utero was released on September 14, 1993 in the United Kingdom. Due to an unforseen delay, it was released in the United States on September 21, 1993. The foreign version also contained a secret track, Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip. It was labeled as a "Deflated American Dollar Purchase Incentive Track," and is now available on bootlegs and import CDs only.
Nirvana returned to the road, playing in the states and overseas. On January 8, 1994 Nirvana played their final American show in Seattle, Washington. They then toured Europe, playing their last show on March 1 in Munich, Germany.
After returning to the United States, Kurt Cobain dissapeared after jumping the wall at the Exodus rehabilitation clinic, where he was undergoing rehab for a heroin addiction. Several days later, on April 8, his body was found by an electrician at his house in Seattle, Washington. Kurt had been dead for several days, the victim of a self inflicted gunshot wound. He left a suicide note near his body, explaning why he had killed himself. Fans still didn't accept his death, and many haven't still.