Unlike Aberdeen, a number of Nirvana-related sites in Seattle are no longer around. The first studios the group used, Reciprocal Recording (formerly at 4230 Leary Way NW), and The Music Source (formerly 615 E. Pike St.) are closed. So are many of the clubs the band played.
But The Central, at 207 1st Ave. S., is still open for business. Nirvana played some of their first Seattle shows in 1988 at the venue, and the management offices for Soundgarden and Alice In Chains were formerly located upstairs. El Corazon, at 109 Eastlake Ave. E., is where Dave Grohl played his first Seattle show with Nirvana in 1990, when the club was called the Off Ramp Café. Dave also played the club (then called Graceland) in 2002 when he drummed for Queens Of The Stone Age, and Krist Novoselic appeared here with his band Eyes Adrift on Halloween the same year; in 2008 he played the venue as a member of Flipper. On October 31, 1991, Nirvana played a triumphant homecoming show at the Paramount Theatre at 911 Pine St. The show was filmed and recorded, and finally released officially in 2011; footage from the show also appeared in Nirvana’s “Lithium” video.
Nirvana played twice at the Moore Theatre, located at 1932 2nd Ave.; once at the first Sub Pop “Lame Fest” in 1989, and again the following year, when they opened for Sonic Youth (Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” video was also shot at the venue). Sub Pop’s offices at the time were located in the Terminal Sales Building at 1932 1st Ave.
The Seattle Center, bordered by Mercer St to the north, Denny Way to the south, 5th Ave. to the east and 1st Ave. to the west, was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The primary concert venues have undergone many name changes. When Nirvana first played on the grounds on September 11, 1992, they appeared at the Coliseum; when Grohl later played the venue with Foo Fighters, it had been renamed Key Arena. On January 7 and 8, 1994, Nirvana played their last US dates at what was then called the Arena; today the venue is called the Mercer Arena. On April 10, 1994, a citywide memorial was held for Cobain at what was then the Flag Plaza; the area has since been substantially resigned. The grounds are also home to Seattle’s rock ‘n’ roll museum, the Experience Music Project, currently hosting a Nirvana exhibit that will run through April 2013.
Kurt Cobain’s first home in Seattle was at 11301 Lakeside Ave NE; the “Sliver” video was shot in the garage. In January 1994, he moved into a large house at 171 Lake Washington Blvd. E. He was sometimes seen at restaurants in the area along nearby Madison St., including the International House of Pancakes at 950 E. Madison St. Viretta Park, next to his home on Lake Washington Blvd. E., is where you’ll find the most visible reminder of his presence. Messages to Cobain are written on the park’s benches, and on the anniversary of his death, fans can be found congregating in the park.
Gillian G. Gaar’s book Entertain Us: The Rise of Nirvana will be published this July.