Surprising Drummer Reveals How He Missed Out On Joining Nirvana Twice

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Kurt Cobain’s friend John Purkey discussed almost joining Nirvana twice in a new YouTube video on his Observer channel.

“Having a chance to play in Nirvana twice, I guess you’d say. The first time I turned them down because I was already in another band. Later on, when Chad left the opportunity came up again and I was ready to drop everything. I talked to the guys in Subvert, everybody in Machine knew, I was like, that was it. They needed a drummer, and I’m ready to take the spot. Well, for those guys they had lots of options at that point.

Kurt had told me that he wanted somebody that sounded like John Bonham and he had mentioned Dan Peters’ name. That’s before Dan joined the band. So Kurt wanted Dan Peters in the band. At that point, I guess they felt they could get any drummer they wanted. So that kind of cut my chances out. But, I wouldn’t give up. I was like, ‘Let’s jam together.’ Krist was totally ready to go, Kurt was too. He was like, ‘Yeah, let’s jam, but I don’t have a guitar. My guitar is in the shop.’ His only guitar he had was in the shop.

Now I have like two days before I had to go on tour with Subvert, so we had to figure this out. Left handed guitars, there are no left handed guitars around. So we just decide, Krist just says, ‘Hey, I’ll just come over, and I’ll play bass, and we’ll go through some songs.’ So that’s what we did, we went through In Bloom, Lithium, a couple songs off Bleach, Swap Meat, yeah. It wasn’t bad, it was fun, it went pretty good. But it’s definitely not like Krist called me the next day and said, ‘Dude, don’t go on tour, you’re in!’

So I went on tour with Subvert, that was that. It was a downer, I guess I really got my hopes up too. When I talked to Krist, when they first got back and he told me that Chad was leaving the band, instantly I was like, I wanted in the band for sure. But things worked out how they did, and they couldn’t have gotten a more powerful drummer, killer drummer, Dave Grohl.”