Sub Pop’s Bruce Pavitt Talks Grunge In Europe And Following Hendrix Model

Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Seattle’s Sub Pop, admits the label’s success couldn’t have happened without a little field trip he and his business partner Jonathan Poneman coordinated in 1989.

At the end of November of that year, Pavitt and Poneman ventured to the United Kingdom to showcase three of Seattle’s most explosive live bands at the time: Mudhoney, Tad and Nirvana — all of whom were on the new label. And, what unfolded in the UK, is what Pavitt deems a Nirvana story with “a happy ending.”

After seeing the three acts live, the press in the UK was knocked on its proverbial rear end. What stuck out was Nirvana’s performance at the Astoria Theatre in which one London journalist said the three-piece was “Sub Pop’s answer to the Beatles.” Less than two years later, Nirvana would release Nevermind and change the global music landscape forever.

Pavitt documents this legendary trip in his new book, Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe 1989. The book contains more than 200 color historical images and diaries from the trip as well as a black and white gallery of live images from LameFest UK taken by photographer Steve Double.

Pavitt also talked about Nirvana’s early days as well as John Peel‘s contribution to the madness in Seattle.


Chris Coyle, KZOK

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