Let’s remember when Nirvana posted an ad for “drummer wanted” in the Rocket, on this day in 1988 (May 1)

Chris Burlingame
May 1, 2019 · 2 min read

As a tone deaf member of my junior high band, I can attest that there is a dearth of drummers with any talent in Aberdeen, WA. So, what would eventually become the most pivotal band of my generation turned to a classified ad in Seattle’s rock newspaper The Rocket. The ad was simple, it said “DRUMMER WANTED. Hard, heavy, to hell with your ‘looks and hair a must.’ Soundgarden, Zep, Scratch Acid. Kurdt 352–0992.”

Peter Blecha of HistoryLink said:

On May 1, 1988, the new issue of Seattle music and pop-culture magazine The Rocket includes, among its many “Musicians Wanted” classified advertisements, a “Drummer Wanted” notice written and purchased by Aberdeen guitarist Kurt Cobain (1967–1994), who is seeking a new tub-thumper for his soon-to-be-famous band, Nirvana. Although not as a result of the ad, within weeks Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic (b. 1965) will connect with drummer Chad Channing (b. 1967) and record Nirvana’s historic first single.

But wait, there’s more:

That ad did not, however, actually lead the guys to their next drummer, Chad Channing. Cobain and Novoselic had first met him on August 9, 1987, when their band, then known as Bliss, shared a gig with his band, the Magnet Men, at Tacoma’s Community World Theater (5441 South M Street). After settling on the name Nirvana they crossed paths with Channing again, a few weeks after the ad appeared, at an Evergreen State College gig in Olympia on May 21, 1988. Channing was invited to jam with them later and he fell into the drummer slot without ceremony. In June, Nirvana recorded its classic first single, “Love Buzz” / “Big Cheese” (No. SP-23), for Seattle’s Sub Pop Records and the rest is, well, grunge rock history.

It’s funny to me to think about how this one ad indirectly but subsequently led to a ton of admittedly unfunny jokes from me about Nirvana’s last drummer.

For further reading:

Journal of Precipitation

Chris Burlingame

Written by

Seattleite, (mostly) retired arts/culture blogger. Come for the Seinfeld references, stay for the Producers references.

Journal of Precipitation

A blog about the Pacific Northwest.

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