As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the idea for Save Me, Kurt Cobain was in part sparked by a 2012 news story in the Victoria Times-Colonist about Harpo’s, a cabaret where I used to see bands like The Dead Milkmen and 13 Engines. I even interviewed some of them as a student journalist. The bigger bands used to play Victoria on less than peak nights of the week before hitting Vancouver, as did a rising band called Nirvana in March of 1991. Harpo’s Cabaret was booked that night–and the managers couldn’t rejig the schedule–so Nirvana, a band many wise music gurus predicted were the Next Big Thing, played The Forge (a club I am sure I also went to at some point, but I won’t be bragging about it). The club was uninspired, let’s say, tucked in the belly of a hotel–and is long gone. Attendance was sparse at the Victoria concert, which supposedly included an AC/DC cover band as opening act. This show became a key plot point in my novel.
I had seen grainy online photos from the gig, but none with attribution until I noticed a post from Al Ford, who is now program director at Jack FM radio in Vancouver. Al, who met Nirvana and interviewed them back then, kindly gave me permission to run the photos on my website. I guess Kurt Cobain was learning his craft while we were learning ours, as journalists.