> Sessions History > Studio Sessions > March 20, 1990 - Television Studio, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, US

March 20, 1990 - Television Studio, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, US View in Google Maps


    • Channing, Chad (drums)
    • Cobain, Kurt (vocals, guitar)
    • Novoselic, Krist (bass)


  • Babior, Greg (sound engineer)
  • Kostelnik, Alex (camera op)
  • Snyder, Jon (director)


  • [U] Jam (Novoselic and Channing)
  • [U] Jam
  • [U] School (part of)
  • [U] School
  • [U] Lithium
  • [U] Jam
  • [U] Big Cheese
  • [U] Big Cheese
  • [U] Floyd The Barber

Best available sources

Source Quality Complete Runtime Lowest Gen Tracks Featured Notes
PRO #1a 8.0 No 0:14:25 VHS(1)>DVDR • School
• Big Cheese (take 1)
• Big Cheese (take 2)
• Floyd The Barber
• Lithium
This source has better picture quality than PRO #1b, but is less complete and has lower quality audio. Big Cheese (take 1) cuts out after just a few seconds.
PRO #1b 8.0 No 0:30:44;
• School (part of)
• School
• Lithium
• Jam
• Big Cheese (take 1)
• Big Cheese (take 2)
• Floyd The Barber
This source is more complete and has better quality audio than PRO #1a, but has lower quality picture.
AMT #1 8.0 No 0:05:32;
• Big Cheese (take 1)
• Floyd The Barber
• Jam
• Jam
Big Cheese (take 1) cuts in. Floyd The Barber cuts in as the camera-person moves into the studio through a side-door. Footage of Cobain inside the control room also features, as Novoselic and Channing jam together. The full-band jam cuts in and out, with the camera lingering mainly on production personnel.


NIRVANA snuck into The Evergreen State College's Television Studio during spring break to film what Kurt Cobain imagined would be their first official video release. The original concept was to do stuff in the studio, then go to Aberdeen and shoot a bunch of other stuff and turn it into some hour-long thing they would sell to fans, explains session director and former 'greener, Jon Snyder. (1)

Cobain brought along a selection of video-tapes that, through use of Chroma-Key, provided a spooky backdrop to the band's performance. I showed Kurt how to edit the stuff he taped off TV to use for background footage in the videos, recalls fellow student, Alex Kostelnik. (2)

The band's performance was captured live, We did no editing, and we did no after-effects. Instead, we figured out a way to have it all happen live, explains Snyder. We were switching between cameras in the studio control booth, which makes it look like it's been edited, and all the effects were running off tapes in another room so they could be combined in as we were shooting. And the sound was live engineered sound. (1)

The band recorded two versions of School (one incomplete), with backing footage that Cobain had taped off TV—Shaun Cassidy, contestants from Star Search, and Christian body builders The Power Team, among other treasures. They then recorded an early version of Lithium so the bass level could be adjusted, followed by a jam. Two versions of Big Cheese came next, with backing footage drawn from the silent film Haxan: Witchcraft of the Ages. The final number was Floyd The Barber, with backing footage of Cobain's dioramas and sculptures. He had broken dolls, dolls on fire, or stuff like in Toy Story where the dolls are all put together wrong, recalls Kostelnik. (3)

Footage from this session has appeared on various NIRVANA TV retrospectives; Snyder also edited versions of School and Lithium which appeared on TESC's student cable access program, 1200 Seconds.

Snyder eventually sold his collection of tapes to the Experience Music Project in 2002, I knew I could not keep them climate-controlled and preserved indefinitely myself and that EMP could. (4)


  1. Gaar, Gillian G., 2004. Mondo Nirvana, Tablet Siffblog, [online] Available at:
  2. Gaar, Gillian G., 1997. Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History Of Nirvana, Goldmine, [online] Available at:
  3. Cross, Charles R., 2001. Heavier Than Heaven. Hodder & Stoughton, London.
  4. Gaar, Gillian G., 2004. Six years sifting vaults, basement tapes, Seattle Times [online] Available at:
© Alex Roberts. August 28, 2011