Friend of Kurt Cobain uploads rare Nirvana demo tapes to YouTube: Stream

Including Nevermind recordings sans Dave Grohl and material with Dale Crover


    The Observer is a YouTube account run by John Purkey, an old friend of Kurt Cobain and someone who’s spoken at length about Nirvana’s rise and fall. Purkey regularly posts new videos, many of which include insider info on the band.

    As Alternative Nation points out, Purkey recently uploaded four videos containing cassette audio of Nirvana demos circa the late ’80s. Apparently given to him by Cobain himself, the tapes include early recordings of songs that would eventually make up Bleach, as well as material recorded with Dale Crover. Perhaps even more intriguing is audio of early, pre-Dave Grohl Nevermind recordings featuring Chad Channing on drums.

    Altogether, there’s well over two hours of material to work through. While some of the audio has been heard before by fans, perhaps not quite in such a raw, unpolished state. You also (sadly? thankfully?) won’t find any pop punk a la Weezer.


    Check out each tape below, including comments from Purkey himself and tracklists (courtesy of diligent YouTuber Cancer God).

    First tape: 

    “This is the first tape Kurt gave to me. Sound quality is not perfect but it’s not too bad. It is listenable. Paper cuts sounds a little warbaly at first and that is exactly how it was when Kurt gave it to me. I got used to it. It slowly becomes clear sounding.”

    0:38 – “Paper Cuts”
    05:03 – “Downer”
    06:53 – “Beeswax”
    09:52 – “Aero Zeppelin”
    14:36 – “Floyd the Barber”
    17:03 – “If You Must”
    21:12 – Spank Thru
    24:57 – “Mexican Seafood”
    27:06 – “Pen Cap Chew”
    30:06 – “Montage of Heck”


    Second tape: 

    00:47 – “Blandest”
    04:37 – “Mr. Moustache”
    08:23 – “Sifting Instrumental”
    13:51 – “Blew”
    16:52 – “Spank Thru”
    20:08 – “Love Buzz” (Early Single Version?)
    23:55 – “Big Cheese”

    Third tape:

    “This was the tape he gave me after they recorded songs for what would become Bleach.”

    00:00 – Intro
    01:39 – “Scoff”
    06:02 – “Swap Meet”
    09:17 – “Blew”
    12:23 – “Love Buzz”
    16:11 – “About a Girl”
    19:27 – “Negative Creep”
    22:02 – “School”
    24:50 – “Big Long Now”

    Fourth tape:

    “Recorded with Chad produced by Butch Vig. I think it is known as the smart studio demo. Kurt started high speed dubbing at the beginning of pay to play. [You] can hear a slight glitch when he pressed the high speed button.”


    00:00 – Intro
    00:44 – “Immodium”
    04:04 – “Pay to Play”
    07:39 – “Sappy”
    11:17 – “Polly”
    14:19 – “In Bloom”
    19:00 – “Lithium” (Mix 6)
    23:31 – “Dive”

    To further expound on the tapes, Purkey posted a video discussing their origins over the weekend:


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