Crazy story about the guy who happened to get kicked out of both Nirvana and Soundgarden (right before each band got huge) before joining the Army Rangers and then becoming part of the Special Forces. Jason Everman’s moodiness got him kicked out of Nirvana after the Bleach tour, a tour supporting an album he paid for. And then later on the same thing got him kicked out of Soundgarden. Then he joined the army and did multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Interestingly, the story is written by a guy who was in Bullet LaVolta, a band from Boston I always tried to like because they were on Taang Records and had a cool name.
But it was when the band hit the road — piling into a cruddy van, as we all did — that it came undone for Everman and Nirvana. A tour is tough for anyone to handle, especially the first one. The days are 23 hours of stultifying boredom — all so you can have one hour onstage, one hour of visceral release that makes it worthwhile. Between the hangovers, the stink, the beaten-to-death inside jokes, touring can make anybody crazy. The key is to keep the van fun. The guy next to you may love you when you start, only to hate the way you keep asking him to turn the Stooges down 100 miles later. “We had some great shows with Jason,” Novoselic said. “But then things went south really fast.” Somewhere along the way, a cloud formed over Jason, an impenetrable inwardness that just hung there. They say he wouldn’t talk to anyone, completely removing himself from the circle.
By the time they made it to New York, “the fun stopped,” Novoselic remembered. “The fun stopped fast.” Channing was confused by it, too, and he was one of Everman’s oldest friends. “He doesn’t talk freely when things are bothering him,” Channing said. It just seemed as if he didn’t want to be there. Cobain and Novoselic wanted Everman out but didn’t know how to do it. That’s the inherent contradiction of punk-rock rules: you were supposed to hate careerism yet still have a career. And 20-year-old kids aren’t particularly good at sorting that out. So Nirvana didn’t actually fire Everman; the band canceled the rest of the tour and drove straight from New York to Washington State, 50 hours in silence. Hardly a word was spoken.