Here’s how a Seattle record store unearthed a pre-‘Nevermind’ royalty cheque made out to Kurt Cobain

Easy Street Records sheds more light on the discovery

Yesterday (August 29), Seattle’s Easy Street Records unearthed a precious fragment of rock history: a royalty cheque made out to Kurt Cobain of Nirvana before the release of ‘Nevermind’.

The beloved independent record store posted photos of the folded, yellowing cheque to Instagram yesterday. As the caption points out, the cheque from BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc) was dated March 6, 1991, six months before the release of Nirvana’s landmark album, ‘Nevermind’. At that point, the only full-length studio record the band had released was ‘Bleach’.

“We’re guessing the next royalty checks were a bit larger than only… $26.57,” Easy Street Records quipped in its post. According to an inflation calculator, $26.57 in 1991 comes up to about $50 in 2019. See the cheque in the photos below:


How did Easy Street Records discover the cheque? It had been in the store for “years”, the store’s owner Matt Vaughan told NME. “We just found it… or should say noticed it.”

The cheque was discovered in a record collection that the store – which buys and sells used records – purchased in the early 90s. The collection also contained a few tour itineraries for Nirvana’s 1992 ‘Nevermind’ tour of the UK and Europe, and the 1993 tour in support of ‘In Utero’.

“[We] looked through em a little, but just put em in storage,” Vaughan explained. “Seemed like every band in Seattle had tour itinerary books… [between] girlfriends, roadies, management, sound companies, [it] wasn’t uncommon to run across one. [It] was a smaller town then.”

Upon going through the collection more closely, the record shop discovered the cheque and a few other items: a money order to Cobain’s landlord, his backstage pass and a past-due doctor’s bill. “Miss you Kurt, RIP,” Vaughan said.