Someone Unearthed Video Of Kurt Cobain Playing A Surprise Solo Set In 1992
By Katrina Nattress
August 24, 2020
The date is September 26, 1992. Nirvana released their seminal album Nevermind nearly a year earlier. You're at a concert in the small California town of Castaic, eager for the stacked bill of Sonic Youth, Pavement, and Mudhoney. You see a couple walking around that looks an awful lot like Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, but there's not way they could be there, right?
Wrong. That night Cobain surprised the crowd at Castaic Lake Amphitheatre when he joined Mudhoney for their cover of Fang's "When The Money Rolls In" (which Nirvana also covered live) and then played a few songs solo, including a cover of Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," which his band famously performed during its MTV Unplugged set.
Sacramento Music Archive's Shayne Stacy recently uploaded restored footage of Cobain's Leadbelly cover, and included an interesting account of his evening:
Here’s what I remember of this show. I could not get my equipment through security, so I asked Scott K (Spiral Stairs) for help. He looked suuuuppeerrr put out but he came through with a pass about an hour later (thanks and sorry Scott). It was shortly before Pavement’s set, so I had to hustle out to the car, grab my stuff, and then hustle back in.
Later on, I realized that the pass was an all access pass and I really had to go to the bathroom, so I went back and grabbed a water and stuff. I remember walking by Kurt and Courtney, and I vaguely remember seeing a baby… but Frances was only like a month old at the time so maybe I am misremembering.
Sorry these sets from Castic are such crappy camerawork. I had a tripod, but the entire place was just one huge, flat dirt field. There was no place to go. I should have just gone up on stage to film.
This was the last time I would see my friend Matt Polish(randomly saw him at the show) for over 20 years.
For this Cobain clip, I am SO happy to not have to hear my voice on the audio track anymore. I caught flak for not knowing who leadbelly was… in 1992. Yeah, sorry I wasn’t a music encyclopedia at 25 years old. How many of you metalheads/punk/alt peeps knew then?
Footage of Cobain's performance with Mudhoney, and the whole set, has also been unearthed. Check it all out below.
Photo: Getty Images