Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses

I thought the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death would be a good time to share my photos from the Nirvana exhibit I recently saw at EMP (Experience Music Project). It’s technically April 6th now, but when I woke up it was the 5th–my day isn’t over yet. I’ve been listening to the band today, and these images bring extra meaning to the music.

Rolling Stone magazine

In the early 90s, the grunge scene exploded and put Seattle on the map. Even back in Canada, at the University of Waterloo, I’d heard about all the great bands coming out of the Pacific Northwest: Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees, Melvins, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and of course, Nirvana.

Spin magazine

In this era of Facebook, Twitter, and texting, it’s east to forget that getting the word out there was more grassroots in the 90s. Here’s a collage of handmade concert posters to show the way it used to be done.

concert posters

Looking at the exhibit was a total experience. The whole time I was there I heard seemingly random notes pinging and popping over the sound system. Then I read that I was listening to “a quadrophonic serial deconstruction of the signature two-bar riff from Come as You Are.” Loved it! It didn’t sound like rock music, but it paralleled the deconstructed exhibit.

I looked at videos and mementos, sound equipment and instruments, and reminisced on the Seattle Scene (as grunge music was often called).


The life-sized, black and white photos of Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl seemed frozen in time.


It was a bittersweet event. For me, the energy of the movement was lost and it seemed like a mournful event, not a celebration. These guys belong on a stage, not a museum. But I’m glad I saw it. The exhibit ends soon so go if you have a chance. It’s a good way to relive your youth or get a glimpse into a scene you may have missed.


Filed under Events, Music

4 responses to “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses

  1. Closet Strategy

    I saw a photo essay yesterday, supposedly “rare and never before seen” photos of Cobain, and they casually mentioned that he died nearly 20 years ago. I just can’t believe it’s been that long.

    • Same here. When I read how long it had been, I could hardly believe it. I remember where I was when I heard the news (at university, hanging out), but I can’t believe it was so long ago. Weirdest of all, this means his daughter must be 20!

      Thanks for writing! The photo essay sounds good.

  2. Another Seattle blogger. Too cool. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment. We don’t live far from the EMP. Will need to visit this exhibit here. Bet it’ll be bittersweet for me too.

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