Sonic Youth/Nirvana Documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke Coming to DVD

photo by Hillary Harris

In 1991, Sonic Youth embarked on a European club and festival tour that was documented by director Dave Markey. The band’s opening act, a little group known as Nirvana, are also heavily featured, and the film was released on VHS way back in the day.

Now, an enhanced special edition of the film is being released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tour. Among the exclusive new features announced:


  • A 42 minute movie called (This Is Known As) The Blues Scale with never-before-seen Sonic Youth performances of “Inhuman”, “White Kross”, “Orange Rolls/Angel’s Spit”, and “Eric’s Trip,” and a Nirvana performance of “In Bloom,” in addition to backstage footage.
  • Audio commentary by director Dave Markey and Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore.
  • 2003 Panel Discussion on the film with Thurston Moore, Dave Markey, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, and J. Mascis

More info on the release is available here. Below, check out the wacky, beat-boxy intro to the movie, featuring Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon dancing in railroad tracks. (NSFW - language.)

In related news, Seattle’s Experience Music Project is midway through the first week of their ongoing Nirvana exhibition, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses. The exhibit includes artifacts from the band and the punk scene of which they were an integral part, as well as oral histories from everyone from former Nirvana drummer Chad Channing to Bleach producer Jack Endino. Check out KEXP’s preview here.

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