Nirvana Made Bold Last Minute Record Contract Demand: ‘They’re Going To Make Us Rich’


Dangerous Minds recently published an excerpt from  the upcoming Gillian G. Gaar book, World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story. Below is an excerpt that describes a significant moment in Seattle music history when Nirvana boldly helped change the way Sub Pop did business by demanding a written record contract, rather than just an oral agreement like other bands had signed.

Nirvana had also recently become the first act to sign a record contract with Sub Pop. Earlier in the year, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic had turned up at Bruce’s house one evening, demanding a written contract; previously, Sub Pop had only made verbal agreements with its artists. Jon [Poneman] hastily drafted a one-year contract, with options for two further years; the contract was signed on June 3 but backdated to January 1, 1989. “Righteous heaviness from these Olympia pop stars,” was the Sub Pop catalog’s assessment of Bleach. “They’re young, they own their own van, and they’re going to make us rich!”

Nirvana released Bleach on Sub Pop in 1989, and later signed with Geffen to release Nevermind in 1991 and In Utero in 1993. Bleach was a breakthrough record for Sub Pop, still selling large amounts of copies to Nirvana fans to this day in 2018.