Kurt Cobain committed suicide 20 years ago. Only five years before that Nirvana was an obscure band touring and playing in dive bars such as The Sun Club in Tempe.
The Sun Club was a dilapidated bar down a short dirt road. It somehow made you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere — not in the middle of Arizona’s biggest college town. The inside was dirty. If you are the kind of person who can detect the faint smell of urine where urine shouldn’t be, your pissometer would have started beeping the moment you walked in.
Going there gave me the illusion that I was on the frontier; like any kind of shit might go down. None ever went down when I was there. And if it had, the cops were only about 45 seconds away.
Nirvana played the Sun Club in 1989, the same year that my band, Jumping Genes, played there.
I’ll disappoint you right away: This is not a story of the time I met Nirvana, because I never did. I only know this because I found this video of Cobain and Nirvana’s pre-Dave-Grohl drummer Chad Channing behind the backdoor of the Sun Club, trying to cool off. It was 102℉ outside in Tempe that day. It must have been worse inside.
It’s not a very interesting video, but it’s only 29 seconds long if you don’t want to take my word for it:
When I realized that Jumping Genes and Nirvana played the same crappy club the same year, I asked my current band-mates (The Nutrients), “Cobain is dead and I’m alive, so who won?”
Tom and Ron answered, in unison, “Dave Grohl.”
I think they’re right. And Dave Grohl probably never had to play the Sun Club.
Photo Credit: Roxy Shi (CC BY 2.0)