The hardcover release of “Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge In Europe, 1989” from Bazillion Points Books will happen this October. The book features over 200 picturesque and candid full-color photos shot by Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop Records over a tumultuous one-week period on tour from Rome to London with NIRVANA, TAD and MUDHONEY.

Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989, is a photo journal and a grunge rock micro-history; an inside look into a crucial eight-day period in the touring life of Nirvana, and two other Seattle bands, as seen through the eyes of Bruce Pavitt, the co-founder of Sub Pop, the Seattle label that first signed Nirvana in 1988.

The dramatic eight days covered in this book, from November 27 through December 4, 1989, represent a turning point for Nirvana. In this brief period, the young band goes from breaking up in Rome to winning over the influential British music press at Sub Pop’s LameFest UK showcase in London—setting the stage for their imminent popularity.

On November 27, 1989, when Pavitt and his Sub Pop partner Jon Poneman arrived to meet Nirvana in Rome, the band was almost finished with a grueling six week tour of Europe. Although determined to promote their grungy, riff-heavy debut album, Bleach, their travels with fellow Sub Pop act Tad had left them exhausted. Pavitt and Poneman did their best to revive the spirits of a frustrated and downcast Kurt Cobain. Despite a threatened leap from a 14-foot speaker tower, and a stolen passport, Cobain managed to continue to London, where Nirvana played the biggest and most important show of its career to date.

Nirvana’s breakthrough show at the 2,000-capacity Astoria Theatre in London featured three Seattle Sub Pop acts: Nirvana, Tad, and popular headliners Mudhoney. Nirvana opened the show, and their heart-pounding performance won over the crowd and changed the band’s fate. The powerful London music press proclaimed that Nirvana was “Sub Pop’s answer to the Beatles.” After that night, the world’s attention began to focus on the band that would become the biggest rock act of their generation.

“Sub Pop didn’t have much to work with. We knew Seattle was developing a distinctive brand of heavy, soulful, grungy rock, but we weren’t sure who our next bands were going to be. Then, everything unfolded. This is a Nirvana story with a joyful ending”—Bruce Pavitt

Bazillion Points books are available at all good bookstores, music stores, and online retailers, distributed to the book trade via PGW/Perseus in North America, and Turnaround in Europe. Find out more here:

Nirvana Experiencing Nirvana book cover