Ex-Nirvana Member Had Problem With Chris Cornell


Former Nirvana and Soundgarden member Jason Everman recently talked about his brief runs with two of early ’90s rock’s biggest bands and described the circumstances that led to his departure from both.

In 1989, Everman joined Nirvana as the second guitar player, and he even paid for the recording sessions of the famous Seattle band’s debut album “Bleach”. His stint with Kurt Cobain & Co. proved to be short, however, as he departed following Nirvana’s first national run after the debut album’s release in the same year.

Jason Everman talks about his departure

During a recent guest appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Everman recalled how he arrived in Nirvana (via MusicRadar):

“With Nirvana, I guess initially when I came onboard Kurt wanted a second guitar player for the live show basically – have a heavier sound live and take some of the responsibility off him so he could concentrate on vocals and that kind of thing.

“Initially I thought I was going to be able to contribute to the band creatively, and then it got to the point when I realized that wasn’t going to happen. And the same thing happened with Chad [Channing] the drummer, I think.

“Everyone in the band, including myself, were poor communicators – a lot of passive aggression. We were kids.”

He went on to describe Nirvana’s inner creative dynamic and said:

“On the rare times where we actually rehearsed as a band, which was not a lot, Kurt kind of half-heartedly [asked], ‘Who has ideas?’ and I’d throw a couple of ideas out.

“And Chad, a very accomplished musician in his own right, would throw some ideas out and then it would just be glossed over and [Kurt] would be like, ‘Well here’s the new song I wrote’ and we’d start learning that.

“So it was very cursory. He kind of like threw it out there but it wasn’t going to go anywhere.”

After leaving Nirvana in 1989, Everman was intent on going on a trek through the Himalayas, which, unlike being a rockstar, was his real childhood dream. It wouldn’t happen for another ten years or so, as he ended up joining Soundgarden as a bassist in the fall of ’89:

“Kim [Thayil] from Soundgarden called and was like, ‘Hey, Hiro [Yamamoto, bassist] quit, do you want to audition for the band?’ At that point, Soundgarden was my favorite Seattle band, hands-down.”

Everman left Soundgarden during the following year, telling Joe Rogan it was due to tensions with the band’s late frontman, Chris Cornell:

“It’s complicated. But at the end of the day I wasn’t getting along with Chris [Cornell] that well and obviously, who’s gonna go? It was me.”

Unlike his departure from Nirvana, leaving Soundgarden wasn’t something Everman took in his stride. He said:

“It broke my heart. It was a bad spot for me because I loved that band. I never thought they would get as big as they did.

“Honestly, it was surprising because they were a great band but I always thought they were a little bit too quirky to be huge, despite the Chris factor; a genetically engineered rockstar.

“But I always thought they were a little too weird to have mainstream success. Which was fine with me – I thought they’d be like a big indie band. Like Sonic Youth or Buthole Surfers, that level.”

He added:

“Getting fired from Soundgarden put me in a pretty bad tailspin. It was a rough patch of my life for sure so in order to cut this tailspin off I had to do something radical so what I did was I ended up moving to New York.”