RAYMOND - Nirvana, live in - Raymond?
In 1987, the band which originated in Aberdeen and went on to be the biggest rock group of their generation before the death of lead singer and songwriter Kurt Cobain in 1994, played their first-ever live show at a house party there, much to Cobain's disdain.
"We're playing Raymond," he's quoted as saying in Seattle music critic and author Charles R. Cross' biography of Cobain, "Heavier Than Heaven," written partially while staying in Oysterville. "At someone's house, to boot. They don't even know what radio is yet. They're going to hate us."
Now you can judge for yourself how well that fateful first show went.
As a Christmas present to fans, the Web site www.nirvanaclub.com, an Internet fan club site for the band is offering very rough sounding MP3 versions of those songs performed, as recorded on someone's tape recorder. The entire show, consisting of nine songs, a total 37 MB of disk space, is now available for free download on the site, as reported in the Feb. 5, 2004 edition of Rolling Stone.
The complete show lasts 46 minutes, though a good portion is made up of people talking in between the songs, sometimes five minutes or more, including the band themselves, asking for "party favors" and cover songs.
Still two years from recording their first official album, the band, which at the time didn't even have a name, played blistering versions of some of their earliest songs, as well as a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker," after much jeering from the crowd, who weren't necessarily ready for the kind of music the band performed.
Though the recording isn't particularly good, the band doesn't sound half bad. Loud, but not bad. And though this isn't a recording you would necessarily want to blast from your stereo speakers, it is a significant event in Pacific Northwest musical history - and it doesn't sound too bad on headphones either.
"While the quality is (understandably) not the highest possible, it is a treat to listen to the band play live at such an early stage in their career - as unpolished and rough as it gets," says the Nirvanaclub.com Web master on the show's page.
In the short Rolling Stone piece about the show, Cross quotes Jeff Franks, who lived at the home on Nausbaum Road where the show took place. He is also the one who taped the show and took the only photographs.
"When they got done with their first song ["Downer"], we were like, 'What was that?'" Franks told Cross. "It was different."
The show is available at: http://www.nirvanaclub.com/xmas2/