30 years ago today Nirvana’s “Bleach” was released, thanks in part to the mysterious figure on the right hand side of the album cover named Jason Everman.
Listed as the second guitarist of the band, Everman actually never played on the recording that sold nearly 2 million copies. The Alaskan native joined the group in 1989 and toured with them after being in Stonecrow, a band that included drummer Chad Channing, a childhood friend who would also eventually join and subsequently leave Nirvana.
But back to Bleach… despite the fact that none of his guitar parts were used on the band’s debut LP, Everman loved the album so much that he paid the $606.17 producer Jack Endino billed Nirvana for the 30 hours of recording.
As a thank you, Kurt Cobain used the now-iconic photo of he and Everman for the cover of Bleach and listed him as a guitarist on the Sub Pop Records album sleeve. That credit would be removed when Geffen re-released the record in the wake of the success of “Nevermind.”
Everman can be heard in several bootlegs and seen playing with the group during their Rhino Records in-store performance, but he soon left the group and joined Soundgarden briefly as their bassist and appears on “Loudest Love” and “Louder than Love”.
In 1994 he joined the Army and did tours in Afghanistan and Iraq in the Special Forces.
So when you rock out to “Negative Creep,” “School,” and “Molly’s Lips” today, as you should, the guitar-work that you don’t hear is coming from that other guy on the Bleach cover not wearing a jean jacket. He is Jason Everman, the war hero who financed one of the greatest records in rock.