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8

That Time Nirvana Got Thrown Out of Their Own Record Release Party

In 1991, a young band from Seattle named Nirvana released an album called Nevermind. DGC Records had high hopes for the album and threw a release party at a club called Re-Bar on Friday the 13th. From the perspective of 2019, you can imagine that the invitations were coveted and the party was a wild night. And you'd be right, but there was more to it.

The first signal that things at Nirvana’s record release party for Nevermind might get out of hand was it was a strictly “beer only” event. To remedy this, Kurt Cobain’s pal Dylan Carlson of the band Earth snuck in a huge bottle of whiskey (allegedly Jim Beam) served it up covertly in a photo booth inside the infamous Seattle entertainment mecca/gay-friendly watering hole, Re-bar. Smuggling booze into a bar is a thing thrifty drunks do, but you also might be asking yourself why did it have to be smuggled into a bar hosting a party full of industry types from Geffen Records, local label Sub Pop and thirsty musicians? To explain this, we have to consider Seattle’s long, complicated history with hard liquor. Prior to the 1970s, it was illegal for people to drink whilst standing up, and women were not permitted to sit on bar stools.

Even in 1991, the liquor laws were quite strange, including one against serving liquor where food was served. Did the local legislators fear that a food fight might break out? Um, that's exactly what happened. Read about the Nevermind release party at Dangerous Minds.


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