The 1990s began for Dave Grohl with what would be a life-changing decision, choosing to leave behind the imploding Scream to join grunge rockers Nirvana. With just a few personal belongings and his drum kit in tow, he headed across the country and joined up with his new band-mates in Washington state. Dave was given little time to get settled, with the band soon heading across the Atlantic for a two-week tour of the United Kingdom.
After playing half a dozen shows the band returned home at the end of October. Without enough money to afford a place of his own, Grohl moved in with Kurt Cobain at his Olympia apartment. Just one further Nirvana show was booked for the rest of the year and with no friends in the area, life in the apartment in these months was tough.
“The apartment was a mess the majority of the time, and not knowing Kurt that well made things uncomfortable, and also quite boring,” Grohl would later recall. “There was a lot of time just spent sitting in the room totally silent reading or doing nothing, staring at the walls.”
Following his trek across the country Barrett Jones’ Laundry Room Studio was now almost 3,000 miles away, meaning regular visits to see his friend and record music were a thing of the past, for the time being at least. Thankfully for Grohl among the corn dog sticks and endless cigarette butts in the apartment was an acoustic guitar, as well as a 4-Track Tascam tape recorder that Kurt owned, giving him at least a limited option to record any new ideas. Two songs were written and recorded whilst he was at the apartment. The first of the two, ‘Friend of A Friend’, was penned as an observation about his two new band-mates. Apprehensive about what Kurt would think of the song, he recorded it late at night, whilst his roommate was sleeping.
“That was the first song I ever wrote on acoustic guitar,” Grohl remembered. “There was just a TV and a few worn-out records, so I would sit up at night on this couch that I slept on and write music.” The second track, ‘Color Pictures of a Marigold’, was recorded in similar secrecy, or so Grohl thought. “I just did a guitar track and some layered vocals, and Kurt was in his bedroom on the other side of the wall. I thought he was sleeping, and I was trying to be as quiet as possible,” he recalled. “He came in while I was listening back really, really quietly and said, ‘what is that?!’ And I said, ‘Oh, just something I just recorded.’ He [was] like, ‘Whoa, show me the guitar thing, show that to me.’ We used to kind of jam on it in the living room. That was probably the first time I ever thought, ‘Wow, maybe I can write songs.’”
Both songs would be re-recorded and released in several forms in later years, but neither of these original recordings has been heard by the general public.