Drummer Rey Washam, known mostly for his work with bands like Scratch Acid and Ministry, recently uploaded a 30-minute audio recording to Youtube. This audio clip is from a jam session between Washam and the rhythm section for grunge superstars, Nirvana. Dave Grohl, the drummer for Nirvana, is on guitar in the clip, a precursor to the role he would eventually take on with the legendary rock band, the Foo Fighters. This previously unreleased jam session took place in 1992, at arguably the height of Nirvana’s fame.
“The jam was very low key,” Washam said, “but I had to play Dave’s drums the way he had them set up for himself. Krist showed up, and all had fun. This is a portion of a two-hour jam session.”
While hearing an unstructured jam session amongst these musicians is cool enough as it is, the most exciting part is seeing the early stages of songs that would appear later in the musicians’ career. Around the 19-minute mark, Dave can be heard playing a rough outline of what would later appear as “Make a Bet” as a B-side on the Foo Fighters 1999 single, “Learn to Fly.” This same song would be reworked and re-released as “Win or Lose” as a B-side to the 2002 single, “All My Life.” Hearing the song in its earliest, bare-bones stages in 1992 is priceless.
Around the 24-minute mark, a slowed-down, chugging guitar riff is played. Nirvana fans will recognize this riff as one of the heaviest tracks Nirvana ever wrote, “Scentless Apprentice” off of 1993’s In Utero. Bands often collaborate on songs, and it is interesting to see that this was a song originally written by Grohl rather than Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
Grohl would go on to form the Foo Fighters in 1994, a band in which he is the vocalist/guitarist. Could this jam session have been an early audition of some sorts for Washam? According to Washam, it doesn’t matter whether it was or not.
“I think the tape speaks for itself,” said Washam, “Dave made the right decision to have Taylor play drums in Foo Fighters and not me.”
While Washam may not have been invited back for another practice session, he was still an integral part of some early demos that would go on to be a part of the catalog of two of the biggest bands in rock history.