When Nirvana first appeared on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in the fall of 1991, they weren’t yet the cultural phenomenon they would become just a few months later. At the time, the word “grunge” had not yet percolated in the mainstream, and Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were just two-thirds a well-regarded (if little known) band from Seattle, not international superstars nor rock icons. So, it’s little surprise that Headbanger’s Ball host Riki Rachtman –whose allegiances to the LA hair metal scene made him “the enemy” for these Seattle upstarts– treated them as curios rather than the megastars they would eventually become. And who can blame him, really, with Kurt Cobain all but refusing to engage in conversation and dressed in a ridiculous yellow ball gown?
You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel?s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.