Brian’s Nirvana Tour of the U.S. North West Part Three: Aberdeen

As most fans know, Aberdeen was the home of Kurt Cobain during his childhood, in which Kurt stated in interviews that he never felt accepted in, among other negative statements. After visiting, I can tell you that Aberdeen has come around in the past few years in embracing Kurt in various ways. Whether its through its yearly Kurt Cobain celebration, maps to various Kurt related spots in its History Museum, or at “Kurt Cobain Landing,” there are tributes to be found for any Nirvana fan. 
The town itself is fairly secluded from the overall population of the United States, and still certainly has its struggles with the homeless population, some boarded up and/or burned homes, run down business, among other concerns. However, perhaps Kurt would have had a slightly more positive perspective of the town if he had grown up in the Aberdeen of 2016. While there are currently no music stores, nor tons of places to really go and hang out for locals, there was an overall peaceful and laid back vibe to be found through much of the city. This is a town that while still in need of more modernizing, was not the gloomy and depressing place (at least not during my visit) that it is often made out to be.
1210 East First Street Aberdeen, WA USA (Kurt Cobain’s home from the time he was a toddler until his parents divorced when he was about 8 years old) – nice but dated yellow home, looks just as it has been pictured for some years online. Still up for sale, but not advertised anywhere on the property of the house itself. The curtain was slightly open on the right side of the home where the living room is, so I took a quick look. The interior of home still has the 70’s style, with brown carpeting in the living room where the fire place is. There is a small left side alley as well as rear alley access by car. Street parking also available in front. Only a few blocks from the Wishkah river (Young Street) bridge and Kurt Cobain Landing aka Kurt Cobain Memorial Park.
609 West Second Street Aberdeen, WA USA (Melvins former rehearsal space where Kurt Cobain frequented + sometimes slept in a cardboard box on the patio when he needed a place to stay according to stories, and former(?) home of the family of Dale Crover of the Melvins) – red home with no trespassing sign on front of house. Tough to imagine Kurt sleeping in a cardboard box there (no patio in front of home, only steps up to front door), however house is a good size which stretches to the back, where there may be a patio in back.
1000 1/2 East Second Street Aberdeen, WA USA (the first house Kurt rented of his own) – building was condemned and torn down in 2009. Short walking distance of a few blocks from Kurt’s Moms’ house (1210 East First Street). Previously sat behind a larger home in a corner where the road curved. Wouldn’t know a home used to be there nowadays without knowing about its history. Now the spot of the building is just an open spot in what passes as a small backyard for the larger home in front.
1120 Fairfield Street Aberdeen, WA USA (former Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic’s home) – down the road on top of a steep hill (aka Think-of-Me-Hill). Very nice large, white and green home. Possible to walk there from the Young Street bridge at the Wishkah River (Kurt Cobain Landing), with the only tough part being the long walk up Think-Of-Me Hill. A big step up from where Kurt was living in Aberdeen.
Rosevear’s Music Center Aberdeen, WA USA – now permanently closed. (Guitar store where Kurt got his first guitar) was located in 3 locations over the years – 110 E Wishkah st (now Coastal Print Works), 211 E Wishkah st (now a religious store) & 224 E Wishkah st (now a bank). I looked for the star of Kurt on the Aberdeen Walk of Fame on the sidewalk that was said to be where the store used to be, but could not find it. However, I found many other stars walking the East & West Wishkah St including one of NFL legend John Elway.
The Pour House – 506 East Wishkah Street Aberdeen, WA USA – also now permanently closed. Home of Nirvana’s (an early incarnation) only Aberdeen gig must have recently closed. The long blue building is there with the name still on front, but all of the windows are boarded up. Pour House is a bit tricky to find if driving. It is near downtown Aberdeen just over the main downtown bridge. 
Nirvana Mural – around 300 East Wishkah Street Aberdeen, WA USA – (Added in September 2014 with Krist Novoselic and former Nirvana drummer Aaron Burckhard appearing at the unveiling) – a great addition to the downtown Aberdeen area, covers much of Nirvana’s history as well as name checks tons of bands Nirvana either played gigs with and/or were influenced by. Shows bass player Krist Novoselic & drummer Dave Grohl in the center with a 1992 concert photo of Kurt with his back turned to the viewer in between. Obviously purposely done to not exploit Kurt’s memory, however a photo is painted of Kurt as a child near the center on the left side as well. Lots of inside Nirvana related messages on the sign that only a dedicated Nirvana fan would be able to pick out the meaning of, including Dave Grohl’s “Chaka” bass drum from the Smells Like Teen Spirit music video.
Krist Novoselic’s Mom Maria’s Hair Salon – 107 S. “M” Street, Aberdeen, WA USA – (Nirvana held rehearsals here upstairs on the 2nd floor) – green building near the heart of downtown Aberdeen, is currently with the windows boarded up as well. No business are currently located there. Could pass for a two story home from the looks of it from the outside.
Aberdeen Museum of History – 111 East Third Street Aberdeen, WA USA – (Museum with various Kurt Cobain/Nirvana related artifacts) – free Museum that covers Aberdeen’s history in nice detail. There are some cool Nirvana related items here. They currently include the couch Kurt used to sleep on when he stay at Lamont Schillinger’s home in Aberdeen in the mid 1980’s. There is also the bench that used to sit in Viretta Park outside Kurt’s residence at 171 Lake Washington Boulevard East in Seattle. The bench in Viretta Park is apparently changed every so often due to the large amount of graffiti and tributes written on it from Nirvana fans around the world. The museum started selling t-shirts of the writing from the bench in its gift shop. In the exhibit there is also a large Kurt poster. Info I’ve never read anywhere online: There used to be a statue of the “Crying Kurt Cobain” that local Raymond, WA sculptor Randi Hubbard made on display in Aberdeen. Randi’s husband Bob & her own Hubb’s Muffler shop at 2208 Sumner Ave, Aberdeen, WA USA where the statue was on display from 1994 to 2014 until the Aberdeen Museum of History took it into its collection in April 2014. However, that statue is no longer there in the museum. I asked about its whereabouts and was told the artist “took it back.” I was then told that a replacement Kurt Cobain statue should be done soon, which will be put on display in the museum. There was a Kurt drawing on display of what the sculpture should look like when it is finished. It is Kurt circa 1993, sitting with his hand against his face, looking bored. The lady said the new Kurt statue is being made by the museum’s curator and spoke highly of him, Mr. Dann Sears. In the gift shop, I found a pamphlet the Museum was giving away to museum goers talking about Kurt related sites in Aberdeen. The Nirvana related items being sold in the gift shop at the time of my visit were a “Nevermind” puzzle, “Nevermind” CD’s and $25 t-shirts of the “Kurt Bench.” 
I decided to email Mr. Dann Sears about the new Kurt Cobain statue he is making for the Aberdeen Museum of History. Here is his reply. Outside of a few locals who might be aware of this working at the museum, this is new exclusive info for the Nirvana community. Check it out:
Yes we had a large concrete statue of Kurt Cobain here for a short time. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the “Concrete Resurrection”, as it was named by the artist was removed from the museum.
The life size figure, I am now working on will be ready by Kurt’s birthday which is also Aberdeen’s annual “Kurt Cobain Day.”  Considering my schedule and work load the figure is developing nicely. I have attached a copy of the beginning sketch of the figure. I will depict a younger Cobain sitting under the Young Street Bridge with his journal or sketch pad, behind him will be a scrim (Screen), when the light comes on behind the screen the rest of the Nirvana members will fade into view. We are trying to step around a lot of the negativity, and concentrate on his creativity and what he accomplished in his short life span.  
Thank you for your interest in the “Music of Grays Harbor” exhibit.
Dann Sears”
“Welcome to Aberdeen Come As You Are” sign – (Done as a tribute to Kurt Cobain from the residents of Aberdeen, WA USA. Come As You Are was added to the bottom of the sign in reference to the Nirvana song, but as a more subtle reference than just saying “Home of Kurt Cobain”) – sign is on the entrance of Aberdeen furthest from Hoquiam and that leads you through their downtown area if you keep going straight. The sign has a small area you can park just off the road to see it up close. It is not a real parking spot, however. Just a dirt sport in the grass where other cars have previously parked. The sign looks a lot bigger close up than I imagined. 
Kurt Cobain Landing – under Young Street Bridge separating North & South Aberdeen, WA USA. (Spot where Kurt hung out and immortalized in the Nirvana song “Something In The Way.” Also referenced in the title to the 1996 Nirvana live album, “From The Muddy Banks of the Wishkah.” Now home to Aberdeen’s Kurt Cobain memorial.) Known as Riverfront Park, this spot is very short walking distance from Kurt’s old home (1210 East First Street Aberdeen). If driving up, at the end of a dead end street in a residential area with no real parking spots available. Park where you can. The “park” is very small. Basically a section of land between the last house on the block and the bridge. You will find a green bench near the water, a Kurt Cobain “Jag-Stang” statue with lyrics to the song “On A Plain” attached, a purple metal stand (called Kurt’s Air Guitar), a small table with seating, a plaque on the ground with Kurt Cobain quotes, another sign on a pole with lyrics to the song “Something In The Way,” a sign about the park itself, and the Young Street bridge which you can walk under with fan tributes and Nirvana/Kurt related graffiti with a sign that reads “From The Muddy Banks of the Wishkah” attached to the bottom concrete of the bridge. If you pay attention, you will also find two “Kurt Cobain Landing” signs and “KC Park” written on all 4 sides of a metal enclosure for the trash can. The area is well maintained and had no shortage of Nirvana fans coming to visit every 10 minutes or so during my 2 stops there. In my opinion, the best Kurt related site in Aberdeen.

Brian’s Nirvana Tour of the U.S. North West Part 2: Olympia

Olympia is a nice, but small city, that is roughly 40 miles from Aberdeen. It is about a 15 minute drive from one end of the city to the other. Olympia has a very different feel to it, considering its proximity to Aberdeen. I can see why Kurt would have liked it. Olympia felt safer than Aberdeen, more like a place you wouldn’t mind living. The home he lived in with Tracy Marander was certainly a much better living situation than Kurt usually had in Aberdeen.

The Evergreen State College has a rural feel to the area. Unlike many US colleges, as you drive up, the entrance is a long road, nestled between large trees. The college feels more within nature than most and the trees kind of hide the university buildings within them. Once you get up to the university itself, it separates into left and right sides of the school.

Capitol Lake Park was pretty and picturesque, but also fairly small as far some city parks go. Olympia has its own farmers markets and art fairs going on, that were nice to come across. I also ran across a popular children’s museum, among other activities while in Olympia that all seemed worth checking out.


114 1/2 Pear Street Olympia, WA USA – (home where Kurt lived with then girlfriend Tracy Mirander and later with Dave Grohl in 1990-1991) nice blue home, 3 separate sections of home available for living with Kurt previously occupying the right side & right rear side of home (sections 2 & 3). Young college aged kids living there during my visit from what I could tell. Street parking is available in front of the home and across the street at the Washington State Lottery Building (that Kurt & Dave Grohl used to shoot air gun pellets at). There is also a parking lot for the Washington State Lottery building right there too. The home itself has a small alley access on the right side of the home as well and the backyard is small and only partially visible due to trees from the right side alley. Kurt wrote a large majority of the most famous Nirvana songs at this home. What I think was maybe just a coincidence, when I was right in front of the house, a car passed down the adjacent street (but not in front of the house) playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with the window rolled down. It hit me that I was standing in front of the house where that song is thought to have been written. Amazing.

The Evergreen State College Olympia, WA USA – TV Production, Library area, KAOS Radio, etc. – (Kurt & Nirvana played shows here, appeared twice on KAOS radio station, recorded songs in the television studio & had friends that went here) – I visited on a Sunday in the Summer, so the school was out of session. However, because of that, I was able to go around and see more than I probably would have been able to otherwise. All of the Nirvana related buildings seemed to be open. The building that has the KAOS radio station inside was open and I was able to walk up all the way to its front door. Lots of interesting messages on the glass windows in front. Next to the KAOS offices (which were locked) was a billboard for upcoming events going on in the college. Nirvana played a gig near the library so I went to check that area out. While the library itself was not open, the photography section was, which has a display of various personal looking photos taken during US wars in the Middle East. Once heading further in that building, it leads to the TV & Graphic Arts rooms. Those rooms were all closed, however you could walk through the entire department and its hallways. I could kind of picture what it must have been like all those years earlier after visiting the college.


Keep in mind that many of the places Kurt and Nirvana played at or hung out at in Olympia have either closed or have changed drastically over the years. That is the case with Aberdeen and Seattle as well. This is to be expected since it has been 20-25 years since they became apart of the Kurt Cobain/Nirvana story. I visited what I felt were the most relevant and intact places as of 2016.

If you are looking for more to do in Olympia, check out the State Capitol building, a Japanese Garden, the Bigelow House Museum, as well as other lakes and parks.

And if you want to see every related Kurt Cobain item here, you can go by the house that Courtney Love bought for Kurt’s Mom Wendy & sister Kim at 8910 Bordeaux Rd SW, Olympia, WA. Courtney purchased the house in 1997 but stopped making payments by 2003. WMC Mortgage Co. in Los Angeles was owed back payments, so the house was auctioned off in January 2006 at the Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia.


Part 1: Seattle can be found here:

My 2013 visits are documented in the ‘Nirvana Maps and Locales’ category, check the menu at left hand side of the screen. They include:


Brian’s Nirvana Tour of the U.S. North West Part 1: Seattle

A little while a go I checked and was greeted by a couple of emails from a charming fellow called Brian describing his own Nirvana journey in the State of Washington – an endeavour he’d been working up to for quite a while. My own trip was – wow, some three years ago now, ages. So was curious to see his updates and happy to agree to share his ‘journal’ and photos more widely. Hope you enjoy – oh! And definitely go see the Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia/Aberdeen area, it’s intriguing!


My name is Brian Peterson, and I am a long time Nirvana fan. I completed a visit to Washington State in the US in July 2016, during which time I visited numerous Kurt Cobain/Nirvana related sites. I ran my own Nirvana web site, The Nirvana Information Archive, from roughly 1996 to 2006 and was an active member of the internet Nirvana community during that time.
Visiting Aberdeen/Seattle/Olympia/Hoquiam/Tacoma was something I wanted to do ever since I started reading the dozens of Nirvana books I own, bought the numerous unauthorized Nirvana videos out there, etc. I wanted to see if the “stories” were anything like the real experience. I wrote this in order to share with you my experiences. While researching my stops for this trip, I found there is a lot of outdated info on the internet for those who want to visit these Kurt Cobain and Nirvana related locations. My goal is for this information to be easy to understand whether you are a more casual fan or a hardcore Nirvana fan.
This journey is actually apart of a much larger trip I have been doing ever since April 2015. I have been traveling around the world. I have visited every continent and 50+ countries and counting. If you are interested in learning more, and would like to keep up with my latest adventures, check out my blog at:
Seattle is what most fans think of when they think of bands like Nirvana. Seattle is a huge city, especially compared to Aberdeen & Olympia, full of people from all walks of life. There is still a more “alternative culture” in Seattle than most places, and the fact that there are still numerous music venues within a few miles of one another is quite an accomplishment in itself.
However, Seattle is said to have changed quite a lot over the past 20+ years. While many Nirvana fans may think this is not a good thing, I think it is important for any city to evolve and grow in order to stay relevant. 
You will likely not feel as personal of a connection to Kurt in Seattle as you will in Aberdeen. The fact of the matter is, Nirvana was not really a Seattle band in the first place. That being said, places like the Experience Music Project is a must see attraction for any Nirvana fan, and to a lesser extent, the “Kurt Bench” in Viretta Park. 
I have visited Hard Rock Cafes around the world, and the best Hard Rock/Nirvana related collection is in Seattle. Stop by there as well if you get the chance.
11301 Lakeside Avenue NE Seattle, WA USA – (Kurt & Courtney’s home for much of 1993) nice area, home sits on the outer corner of the road that what turns into a dead end street. Had to turn the car around to get out. Mustard yellow and brown colored home up on a small hill with garage. House is very nice, but home directly across the street stood out more on first glance due to nice flowers growing near the road. Is in a private area of the town where no local traffic would normally ever pass through.
171 Lake Washington Boulevard East Seattle, WA USA w/ Viretta Park next door – (Kurt & Courtney Love’s former home where Kurt Cobain’s body was found on April 8th, 1994) – I previously had also visited Seattle in 2010 and many Kurt/Nirvana related sites, so I knew what to expect this time when going to Viretta Park. The home is less visible to see from Viretta Park from my visit in 2010 (due to the trees on the side of the park growing larger). The current park bench was covered in tribute of flowers, a Kurt drawing, beer cans, and a marker left to write on the bench. I only wrote my name on the bench in the back, because any message I could write obviously wouldn’t be seen by the man it was intended for and the messages already there I found were deeper than anything I could come up with off of the top of my head in that moment. I visited on US Independence Day (July 4th) for about 10 minutes. During that time 5 other fans also came up to visit all these year later. It felt kind of like I was visiting a cemetery, albeit very peaceful. There is no parking in front of the house nor park. There is another small park down the road with limited parking if driving by car. There were “no parking” signs on the side of the street near the home to keep visitors from parking there. Traffic is continuous on Lake Washington Blvd East and you need to watch for cars when walking across the street to Viretta Park. If going by public bus, it can get a bit tricky to find it from the bus stop drop off location, so use your cell phone GPS to lead you there if possible. My favorite message on the bench from this visit: “You are more than your suicide. You are more than your music. You are more than Nirvana.” Also, it rarely gets mentioned, but there is a 2nd bench in Viretta Park in the far left hand corner if you are looking at the park from the sidewalk.
Central Saloon – 207 First Avenue South, Seattle, WA USA – (Sports bar Nirvana played early shows at) Still in its original location and still looks to be going strong. In downtown Seattle. Lists itself as “Seattle’s Oldest Music Venue.”
Robert Lang Studios – 19351 23rd Ave NW, Shoreline, WA USA – (Where Nirvana’s final recordings took place in 1994 and later Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters recorded) – beautiful large red home/recording studio found just north of Seattle. Wish I could have seen inside. No street parking in front. Does have a Robert Lang Academy which could be a great place to learn for up and coming engineers and producers.
Crocodile Cafe – 2200 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA USA (surprise Nirvana 1992 gig played here) – previously went inside in 2010. Great two story music venue with bars and overall good vibe. Lots of concert posters all over the walls. None of Nirvana though since they were not announced for that show and all posters look to be related to gigs played at the Crocodile.
Moore Theatre & Paramount – Seattle, WA USA (Nirvana concerts performed at these venues) – did not go inside either place, but both still regularly having big musical acts coming through their doors.
Seattle Hard Rock Cafe – 116 Pike St, Seattle, WA USA – (home of many Nirvana/Kurt Cobain/related acts artifacts) – Items found: snow globe from the wedding cake of Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love from the wedding in February 1992 in Hawaii, former door from Robert Lang Studios with Kurt drawing on it, Krist Novoselic bass, Kurt’s Aunt Mari’s guitar which Kurt played in the early-mid 1980’s, Dave Grohl Foo Fighters related autographed magazines, Nirvana “Bleach” era drummer Chad Channing signed drum set, letter written by Courtney Love, etc. A must stop if you are in the Pike Place Market area. There is a roof top bar there with a nice view outside as well.
Experience Music Project – 325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA USA – (The absolute best Nirvana/Kurt Cobain exhibit in the world is located here) Be sure to check out the “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses” exhibit that has been running for the past few years before it ends. It has been extended well beyond its original date, and there are tons of personal items/photos donated by Krist Novoselic, Shelli Hyrkas (ex-wife of Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic), among others that will likely no longer be there anymore when that happens. So what is to be found there? Almost everything you’d wish to see from Nirvana. Lots of used instruments, clothes, photos, tour props/cases, original concert flyers, you name it. Check this out for more info: ;
Sub Pop Records – 2013 4th Ave #300, Seattle, WA – The building itself looks like any other office building from the outside. You will find a few logos for Sub Pop on the lower level of the building. The Sub Pop office is on the 3rd floor. To go there you would have to be buzzed in, so you may have a better chance checking it out by becoming one of their interns. You can find out more about doing just that by checking out their website’s FAQ:
Other Notes of Mention about Aberdeen/Olympia/Seattle: The McDonald’s in Aberdeen has Nirvana photos inside it that have been there for years. The photos are even visible from outside the building through the windows. The annual “Kurt Cobain Days” event July 15th & 16th, 2016 was advertised on signs in various parts of the city of Aberdeen, including one of the first buildings/businesses when you first enter Aberdeen on the right side of the road (1/2 mile up the road from the “Welcome to Aberdeen – Come As You Are” sign) & on the building of The Pour House which Nirvana played at but is now closed. 
Some places that Kurt Cobain ate/drank at occasionally are still open in Seattle/Aberdeen/Olympia/etc., but I didn’t care to go into them. However, I did pass by some in Seattle. Linda’s Tavern and Cactus (semi-small Mexican looking restaurant near Madison Park) in Seattle were easy to find, but you would have no idea Kurt Cobain had been there from what I saw. Same thing goes for the known hotels/motels he stayed/temporarily lived at. It felt completely over-obsessive to go to any more lengths than I already did. However, it was an interesting experience that made more sense of places I had read about over the years. It’s amazing that so much of the stuff is still there really. I know time and various events have altered the way many of these places have looked over 20+ years, but it felt a bit like I was getting a small peak into what Kurt’s world really looked like and the places that may have directly or indirectly inspired him.
I’ll be sharing more of Brian’s travels – Olympia and Aberdeen next – over the next couple weeks. More materials for anyone planning a trip to the North West are contained in this category here on the blog:
Or just type ‘Nirvana Tour’ into the search bar at top left of the blog main page.

Elliott Smith: Heaven Adores You

Heaven Adores You Original Score COVER

Elliott Smith – Heaven Adores You: The Soundtrack

Recently I’ve spent quite a bit of time immersed in the world of Elliott Smith’s posthumous recordings as selected for the movie ‘Heaven Adores You’. Naturally I have an automatic empathy with the efforts of fans and friends seeking to celebrate and memorialise someone whose work they admire – the fact it does some real-world good via the Portland charity Outside In certainly provides further warmth in that respect.