Review Revue: Nirvana – Nevermind


OK, everybody: this is the one you’ve been waiting for. Haven’t you always wondered what the powers at KCMU thought about this whole Nirvana thing as it exploded around them? Being as I was in high school and 3,000 miles away at the time, I’m going to just go ahead and assume that by the first time I ever heard Nirvana, everyone here was totally sick of them. But in this edition of Review Revue, we get to see the initial reaction at the station to The Album that Changed Everything Forever, along with the usual running commentary as its tenure in heavy rotation ran on and the big commercial stations (and even AM talk stations apparently) start catching on.

One note that should explain one of the comments below: DJ Michelle explains to me that KCMU used to have — in addition to the yellow and red dots to denote indecent and obscene tracks — a “white dot” system for marking tracks (or albums) that were getting too much commercial recognition, and thus not worthy of airplay here. I have mixed feelings about this, but my inner high school music snob thinks it’s kind of awesome.


“Also on CD.” (Good point. If I were being really thorough, I would also post the additional comments on the CD, but hey, I’m a volunteer; what do you expect?)




“Take a pill! and listen to this 4-a” (I have no idea what this means, sorry.)

“Who is this kid anyway?” (Ah, I’m happy you asked!)

“4 months in rotation? This little brat probably has armpit hair by now!”

“Sonic Youth was in rotation longer than 4 months. Maybe this is Goo’s child or something.” (David Geffen rubs his hands together and cackles wickedly…)


“Heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on KUBE on the way over here. Neat, huh?” (Hmm, sarcasm? Genuine wonder? This is a tricky one to peg.)

“They’re playing the non-hit songs on AM talk radio between the ads.”

“These guys will be remembered in years to come because they know how to write songs with hooks! Yeah Nirvana!”

“#4 in the country. Do we white dot it? More popular than Paula Abdul.”

“Platinum in 7 weeks. Holy moly!”

“Just when I thought ‘Oh well, the record’s almost over,’ ‘On a Plain’ begins up and, there it is, the BEST song on an altogether fine album!”

“#1 never sounded so good…”


“Hey! Can we be really cutting edge and be the first to stop overplaying this?”

“Yes let’s! Please!”

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  1. Anthony Lombardi
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Interesting read. Most interesting to learn about the dot system. How radio stations catalogued thigs in the pre-Excel days. So- my question would be did the absolutely brilliant In Utero get white dotted?

  2. Posted February 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Good question! I shall look into it next time I’m in the station.

  3. Posted February 28, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Very cool, Levi. Like time travel. Really liked this one! I’ve heard of white ‘spots’ but not dots.

  4. Scotty
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Some KEXP DJ’s would do well to revisit the white dots. 4-A would be a former KCMUer, Erik Fouray, or 4-A, who owns a recording studio on The Ave and fronts a band “howlin’ Houndog and the Infamous Loosers” circa 2009.

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