Nirvana Nevermind deluxe memories from 1991

Posted on 19 October 2011
By Pierce King
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As regular readers of this site will know, Purple Revolver really dig a spot of time travelling, reaching into the past and watching how it can transmute and influence today’s culture.

And what better way than to relive the tale of one music fan who watched Nirvana in a small music hall in Columbus, Ohio, just after they unleashed Nevermind on the world.

These are the memories of Urge Overkill superfan Gene Mullet, who endeared himself to us even more by admitting he blagged his way into the gig with his fave band through the back door.

Recently married Gene, who works for AT&T, fondly remembers now defunct Stache’s as being the place to go to see emerging bands, such as Rapeman, Jesus Lizard or Laughing Hyenas.

Remembering the night in October 20 years ago Gene said: “I was away for a funeral the day Nirvana tickets went on sale.

“Stache’s was a small venue and this was well before the internet exploded, so the club sold tickets behind the bar and through local record stores. By the time I got back into town, the show was sold out.

“The manager was adamant the show was staying there and not being moved to a bigger place even though there was still wild demand for tickets.

“Fortunately for me, Urge Overkill was opening. They were on the Touch & Go label of which I was quite the devotee and had corresponded with them regularly by letter.

“Stache’s was a good sized hall, but you still got the intimacy of a small club. It’s where I did my first stage dives which were absolutely liberating for me.

“The hall had windows in front. I arrived early and wore my Urge Overkill tee and waited, peering through the windows, until I saw one of the band members in the club.

“It was Nate (later Nash Kato). I ran around the club. He remembered me and I explained about the tickets.

“He said, ‘No problem, you can go in right there,’ pointing to the open door at the back of the club where the band was moving equipment. I was in!

“The place wound up being as packed as I’d ever seen witnessed being in a gig audience. The mob’s intrinsic craziness was intensified by the fact it was Nirvana.

“This was a band that’d played Stache’s a few years earlier for a few dollars.

“It was like one of “our” bands were taking over the world and they were! People almost felt a sense of accomplishment; like a favorite sports team had won the championship and they were being rewarded for being a fan all along.

“Nirvana were everything we hoped they’d be. Kobain already had a voice that sounded like he’d lived three or four lifetimes and that really came through in a small club.

Novaselic’s stage presence was remarkable, too. Tall people on stage are noticable, but when that person is close enough to jab you in the face with a headstock and playing some of your favorite songs, it definitely can take on a new meaning.

“I have a pretty good size collection of set lists from over the years & even for as close as I was, I don’t think there was any chance I was getting any of these.

“If memory serves me correct, a several people in the audience had to be told by band members to put the lists back because they were done playing the show! Everyone knew they were seeing something special.

“It was pandemonium and there was a lot of screaming before, during, and after every song. Naturally, “…Teen Spirit” brought out the most mayhem.

“In a series of photos from the show (by Jfotoman), there’s one of me where I squeezed my way out of the bodies to get up on stage. It actually took four or five attempts to pull myself above everyone else. But I actually don’t believe I drank that much that night.

“If someone that close gave up a spot, there was no way he or she was getting back to it. For almost every show I’ve ever seen where it was especially crowded, people eventually get tired of being mashed and eventually fall to the back of the crowd for fear of safety, claustrophobia, or just to take better breaths of air. Not that night.

“For us, Nirvana was only a few feet away and safety, comfort and the ability to breathe just wasn’t significant. It was a very special night, which will forever be etched on my memory.”