LIVE NIRVANA SESSIONS HISTORY August 20 & 28, 1989 - Reciprocal Recording, Seattle, WA, US View in Google Maps

  • The Jury
    • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
    • Mark Lanegan (vocals)
    • Krist Novoselic (bass)
    • Mark Pickerel (drums)
  • Jack Endino (producer, engineer)
  • [O] Where Did You Sleep Last Night
  • [O] Grey Goose instrumental
  • [O] Ain't It A Shame
  • [O] They Hung Him On A Cross Cobain solo
  • Audio: 2-inch 24-track analog magnetic tape (session tape)
Source ID Quality Complete Runtime Lowest Gen Tracks Featured Notes
SBD #1 10.0 0:03:59 Official AIFF/WAV 96kHz/24bit (Mark Lanegan - The Winding Sheet)
  • Where Did You Sleep Last Night
  • Mixed by Jack Endino, 1990.
SBD #2 10.0 0:08:34 Official CD (With The Lights Out)
  • They Hung Him On A Cross
  • Grey Goose
  • Ain't It A Shame
  • Mixed by Jack Endino, 2004.
SBD #3 9.5 0:02:05 ANA(2)>CDR(1)>FLAC
  • Ain't It A Shame
  • Rough mix by Jack Endino, 1989. This source is sometimes referred to as Kurdt's Tape Side A.

In August 1989, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic formed an offshoot band with Mark Lanegan and Mark Pickerel of The Screaming Trees. We were all becoming big blues fans, recalls Pickerel. We were trying to create a modern day version of Cream or Led Zeppelin. (1) The band rehearsed several times at a space above the Trailways bus depot on Westlake Avenue. (2) Both Lanegan and Cobain brought cassettes of their favorite Leadbelly songs to practice, We started with Leadbelly, and we were going to branch out from there, Pickerel explains. (1)

Sub Pop co-founder, Jonathan Poneman, expressed an interest in recording an album for the group, (3) but the project stalled upon entering the studio. It was as if both Mark and Kurt had too much respect for each other to tell the other what to do, or even make suggestions for what they should be doing, says Pickerel. (2) It was really frustrating. Neither one would take the initiative. (1)

Dubbing themselves The Jury at Pickerel's suggestion (Cobain had favored the name Lithium (3) and Jack Endino had referred to the group as Screaming Nirvana on the session paperwork), (1) the band booked into Reciprocal Recording for two days: August 20 [six hours], August 28 [three and a half hours]. (4)

The session started well enough, with the group recording a rock version of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (this rendition was released in 1990 on Lanegan's solo debut, The Winding Sheet).

Hailed by Dylan Carlson as the band's best song, an instrumental rendition of Grey Goose followed, It was almost like watching one of the English blues rock bands getting its feet, it was pretty incredible, Carlson enthuses. (3) Endino, however, found the song less than memorable, strenuously denying it had even been recorded until reviewing the reels for 2004's With The Lights Out box-set release, [It had] no vocals on it, not even scratch vocals. Nothing! That's why I didn't remember it… there's nothing much to remember it by. It's basically two chords, no chorus, no bridge, but it builds nicely and has some great drumming on it from Mark Pickerel. Sad that no one bothered to sing. (5)

Cobain was then promoted to lead vocals and guitar on Ain't It A Shame, with Pickerel on drums and Novoselic on bass and backing vocals. Again, Endino was relatively unimpressed, dubbing the track a very short throwaway traditional-type tune. (6) According to Poneman, however, it was one of Kurt's greatest vocal performances. (3)

Cobain then performed a solo version of They Hung Him On A Cross.

Much to Pickerel's disappointment, the group never followed through to finish the record, I really had high hopes for it. I wanted it to be a working band. But it just wasn't meant to be, I guess. (1)

Cobain and Lanegan regrouped later that year to record on Lanegan's solo album, The Winding Sheet; you can read more about that session here.

  1. Gaar, Gillian G., 2004. Mondo Nirvana, Tablet Siffblog, [online] Available at:
  2. Cross, Charles R., 2001. Heavier Than Heaven. Hodder & Stoughton, London.
  3. Azerrad, Michael, 1993. Come As You Are: The Story Of Nirvana. Doubleday.
  4. Gaar, Gillian G., 1997. Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History Of Nirvana, Goldmine, [online] Available at:
  5. Endino, Jack, 2001 & 2004. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.
  6. Endino, Jack, 1998. Jack Endino's Nirvana FAQ, [online] Available at:

© Alex Roberts. Last modified: August 28 2022