Nevermind-Nirvana Tribute
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Nevermind-Nirvana Tribute

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The best kept secret in music


""Nevermind" by D.X. Ferris"

The cool thing about Nirvana tribute Nevermind is that the Chicago band doesn't just nail the hits. And it isn't the funky sweaters they wear. They reach deep into the greatest grunge band's catalog, playing an acoustic tune or three, and covering nuggets like "Moist Vagina," "Spank Thru," and "Marigold." If you think the trio's grittier Bleach-era sound deserves more props, you won't be disappointed.

- Cleveland Scene ( Cleveland Ohio

""Nevermind Nirvana" by Peter O'conner"

Kurt Cobain did not smile often. Nor did he seem happy in his public persona. But one thing that is sure to have him smiling ear to ear when looking down from heaven: Nevermind's respectful handling of his music.

Since 1991, Chicago-based cover-band Nevermind have been playing one very long gracious tribute to the great genius that inspired a whole generation of youth to pick up a guitar and never mind what people thought. Nevermind carry on the spirit of the grunge gods by showcasing a performance that is as close to the real thing that any Generation X'er can hope for.

If people want to listen to a Nirvana CD; they listen to the real thing. But if they want to try to cop a feel of the live experience; they should go out and see Nevermind perform live. When witnessing Nevermind performing live, you are not only rocking out to the tunes, you are carried back to the 1993 In Utero tour; the final tour; the tour before Kurt Cobain collapsed from his own genius.

Nevermind replicate the 90's grunge gods with a degree of accuracy that only a heart surgeon could appreciate. They claim to be able to perform over 70 Nirvana songs, which is more Nirvana songs then most fans can even think of. In their stage presence, Nevermind bring it all: the hair, the cloths, the In Utero Angle, the instruments. A simulacra no doubt, Nevermind create the atmosphere of 1993.

With the right set of eyes, one can be hypnotized into believing that he or she is back in 1993, flannel shirt and Doc. Martins, head-banging and absorbing the blissful sounds that three Seattleites created not so long ago.

Now they are on an international tour and will be in playing at a local venue near you. They will be covering the states such as: Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Iowa.

""Gimme Cover" by Ann Colwell"

The haze of cigarette smoke mingles with the winter air of the bar. Then a hum sparks through the drafty room, and a group of five stringy-haired, grunge-clad men take the stage.

A cigarette dangles from the lips of the guitarist, who is also sporting a black top hat and a Jack Daniel's T-shirt. The blond head-banging bass player is wearing a cut-off CBGB muscle shirt.

"You know where you are?" the lead singer screeches into the microphone, swaying and lifting his left forefinger toward the crowd. "You in the jungle, baby."

Rock stars? Not quite. These are what Chuck Klosterman dubs the mock stars, copycat stand-ins for crowd-pleasing originals, and there's an onslaught of them hitting the Iowa City music scene. Evenflow, a Pearl Jam tribute band, and Nevermind, a Nirvana representation, are set to play the Yacht Club, 13 S Linn St., on Saturday at 9 p.m.

This isn't just an Iowa City thing - approximately 3,000 such bands are registered on, a site dedicated to tracking tribute bands.

"We're more impressed by the quality of the tribute bands than anything," says Yacht Club owner Scott Kading. "They never miss a note. The guitarists, everything - they grew up listening to this stuff, and they're perfect. It's incredible."

Tribute bands: striving to fully embody someone else. Look like, act like, sing like, play like, and drink just like the originals.

"I'd say I'm a lot like Brad [Nowell]," says Chris Gelbuda, the lead singer and guitarist for the Sublime tribute band Second Hand Smoke. "I mean, I'm husky. And I like to get drunk when I play."

The first time I call Gelbuda, he is a little preoccupied.

"Can I call you back? We're going to need a minute to find a spot on the beach here," he says. Five minutes later, my phone rings. "All right, I'm ready to talk. We're all settled in, just like a Corona commercial."

Twenty-three-year old Gelbuda is talking to me from Puerto Rico. Second Hand Smoke has four shows to play in and around San Juan, where the market for tribute bands is huge, appealing to both tourists and locals. He says that if the group were an original band, it would never be able to play shows such as these.

"A lot of people think tribute bands are bullshit," he says. "I don't think they'd say the same thing if they were where we are right now."

So they learn the songs, talk the talk, and wear the same beer-stained clothes. But why would some spend all this time playing other people's music? The No. 1 perk: Walk into a bar, and a tribute band doesn't need to find its own fans. A decent tribute band automatically has them.

That's the appeal - music aficionados want to hear songs they already love. Why pay to hear some subpar original band eke out shaky tunes about the members' ex-girlfriends when you can go listen to a couple of fellow diehard fans flawlessly pump out your favorite songs?

For that matter, why pay to read a subpar, grammar-less writer wannabe when you can read a Hemingway fake, or a Faulkner fake, or even a T.C. Boyle fake?

After its début show in Iowa City in February, Second Hand Smoke's music exploded on the tribute scene.

"It was packed," the former UI student [who? Gelbuda?] says. "People were practically hanging from the ceiling. We thought, 'Man, we gotta do this more consistently.' "

Seeing that Sublime is not around anymore, Gelbuda's main goal is to be a Sublime tribute band for the hard-core fan, not just the kids who memorized the words to "What I Got." The band members researched the specifics of Sublime's live performances, wardrobes, albums, and attitudes, and the members have everything except the token Dalmatian.

Gelbuda and his band found a lot of these hard-core fans in Iowa City, and Second Hand Smoke plans to return to the Yacht Club in late September.

"People really have an urge to see this stuff live," Gelbuda says. "To a lot of younger kids, it's almost retro now."

Flash back to 1993, when the genesis of a different tribute band was taking place.

At age 15, J. Gil faced a dilemma.

The future Nirvana tribute-band member had $40 in his wallet, and he had a tough decision on his hands: buy an identical guitar pedal to Kurt Cobain's, or use the money to see Nirvana play at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

"Luckily, I skipped the pedal," says the now-29-year-old Gil, who has been playing guitar for 16 years. "I was fortunate enough to get to see Nirvana before Cobain OD'd."

Gil and his two younger brothers, Alex and Sam, form the Nirvana tribute band Nevermind.

"Playing in a tribute band is kind of a double-edged sword," Cobain-model J. Gil says. "At times, I feel really guilty for what we do. We didn't write or record this stuff. I'm just a passionate fan singing along with everyone else. When we get in that room, we're all on the same page."

He may just be a passionate fan, but he's a fan who intends on sounding and looking just like Cobain. Mirroring the band adds - The Daily Iowan

""Smells Like Teen Spirit""

What’s the name of your band? Have you changed the band’s name before?
Our band is called Nevermind when we perform only Nirvana songs and when we play our original material we are called Plasma. The name Nevermind came to be in late 2005 after a friend of mine suggested we play more as a Nirvana Tribute.

How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
All of our lives. We met in the hospital..haha. All 3 members of this band are siblings.

Who are your major influences?
Nirvana, L7, Local H, Mudhoney, The Distillers, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Slayer, Metallica, Foo Fighters,
Smashing Pumpkins, Tad, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Ramones, The Exploited, Suicidal Tendencies, Muchacha (Local band),
Veruca Salt, The Muffs, Green Day, Babes In Toyland, Faith No More, Teenage Fanclub, Nine Inch Nails, and many many others

When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
When we first started. haha just kidding. The band formed in 1991 at my (J.) old high school. I had been playing guitar on my shitty acoustic for a year at that point and I really wanted to play the talent show for the following year so I seeked out a couple of classmates into starting a band with me though I didn’t have an electric guitar or amp yet. We went on to win first place at The Kelly High talent show of 1992 with our rendition of Enter Sandman by Metallica and I STILL have the VHS tape of that show. Man were we sloppy but the kids ate it up. That show was the most amazing moment in my life. That inspired me keep going after the first lineup fizzled out.
My drummer/brother Sam joined in 1994 and then Alex (bassist/sibling) joined in 2003. The lineup has been the same since.
What inspired us to make music together was the lack of people sharing the same music taste as us. So it all just made sense to play together since Alex and Sam would raid my CD collection anyways.

Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Kinda. I have a "label" called LITTERBOX RECORDS ( We’ve put out all 8 PLASMA albums with our own money and we wanted to give some kind of legitament cred to our name so we made up a label. As of right now the "label" is more of a front for all ages shows which is something i’m very passionate about. I have a small staff of young kids who help me run Litterbox Records. Hopefully we can get some local shows featuring young bands by summertime.

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Oh Geez...that’s going to be a long list but i’ll put as many as I can remember.

The Abbey Pub (Chicago, IL.)
Volkan Nite Club (Chicago, IL)
Cubby Bear (Chicago, IL)
Hi-Tops (Chicago, IL)
The Canopy Club (Urbana, IL)
The Arcada Theatre (St.Charles, IL)
Bourbon St. 115 (Merrionette Park, IL)
Durty Nellies (Palatine, IL)
Jersey’s Pizza (Hoffman, Estates)
Otto’s Nite Club (Dekalb, IL)
Crazy Charley’s (Chilliothe, IL)
Pop’s (Sauget, IL)
O’malley’s (Alsip, IL)
Logan’s Bar (Freeport, IL)
Iowa City Yacht Club (Iowa City, IA)
The Next Door Club (Kinston, N.C.)
Dr.Unk’s Oasis (Greenville, N.C.)
Hooligan’s Music Hall (Jacksonville, N.C.)
Amos Southend (Charlotte, N.C.)
The Pourhouse Music Hall (Raleigh, N.C.)
The Marvell Event Center (Durham, N.C.)
The Park Tavern (Atlanta, Georgia)
The Masquerade (Atlanta, Georgia)
Andrew’s Upstairs (Atlanta, Georgia)
Triple Play (Kennesaw, Georgia)
The Midtown Music Hall (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
The House Of Blues (Atlantic City, NJ)
The Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino (Indio, California)
Club 101 (El Paso, Texas)
Nirvana Rock Joint (Monterrey, Mexico)
Pierre’s Entertainment Center (Fort Wayne, IN.)
Uncle Fester’s (Bloomington, IN)
Franco’s (Highland, IN)
Buddy and Pal’s (Crown Point, IN)
Backstage Lounge (Gainesville, FL)
Jersey’s Bar & Grill (Inver Grove Heights, MN)
The Phantasy Nite Club (Lakewood, Ohio)
The Lazy Chameleon (Powell, Ohio)
Bojangles (West Carrollton, Ohio)
Rhinos (Cincinatti, Ohio)
The Vibe (La Crosse, WI)

I know there are way more clubs that we’ve played but these are off the ones I can remember off the top of my head.

This Thursday (March 20th) we are at the CLUB TAVERN in Middleton Wisconsin. 21+ show.
AND....we are returning to CRAZY CHARLEY’S in CHILLICOTHE, ILLINOIS this coming Saturday March 22nd!
Check our TOUR SCHEDULE at our official website for the addresses, times, etc. of our Spring Tour Dates. :)

Least Favorite Venue? Normally I wouldn’t say anything but since I know we will never return we are more than glad to say that
BIG DADDY’S in TALLAHASSEE FLORIDA was the WORST venue ever. First of all those guys only posted TWO of the 20 posters that we’ve sent of them being waaaay up high in the women’s bathroom were you wouldn’t even bother to look up and see it.
Secondly....t - River City Times (Peoria Illinois)

""Nirvana Tribute To Play Loco's" by Joel Weickgenant"

It was 14 years ago this week that Kurt Cobain, the jaded anti-hero of a generation, took his own life. Next weekend at Loco's, fans can pay homage to the Man at Loco's. Chicago based "Nevermind," a Nirvana tribute band that has played since 1991, will be playing (21 and up only) at the venue on 30 W. Broughton St. Friday April 18.

Caught up with J. Veldman, Nevermind's lead singer and guitarist, for a little Q&A:

-You guys have been a Nirvana tribute band since 1991. What has kept you touring all these years?

New cities, new faces, new fans, new experiences, new friends, traveling, and spreading the music that we all grew up with. In the beginning we really only traveled around the Illinois area (Chicago and the suburbs. After doing that for so many years we wanted to spread out and find venues that were very supportive of our kind of act and by traveling outside our own city we were surprised at how many great people are out there willing to come to a show and create a vibe that we feed off of.

-What does it take to establish yourself as a superior tribute band? Does it extend to the look, or is it all about the music?

The number 1 element is the music. It always was and always will be. But to make things even more interesting for those with candy eyes we decided to take things up a notch and live every night that we play as if it were Halloween.

Our band started as just us 3 playing backyards, basements, and parties as 3 normal looking guys. Then sometime in 2005 we thought it would be funny to dress up like Nirvana for Halloween. So we went out and we shopped at thrift stores to complete our outfits. It was all a fluke...a joke..but it worked and that got us a lot of attention. Then we thought why dont we try to top ourselves by taking it up a level. We wanted similar stage props to what Nirvana used and we ordered a couple of mannequins that looked similar to the full sized anatomical models that Nirvana used during the In Utero tour.

Each band has it's own way of expressing their love for the music. In order to establish yourself as a solid tribute band you have to own all these songs and be genuine about that love. We don't compare ourselves to other bands because that's unhealthy. The only time we compare is when we are trying to top ourselves. That's why we are always trying to work on new setlists, more obscure songs, and we're just trying to be the best that we can be.

-How did you decide to first start this band?

The FIRST band I was in was called WARHAWK back when I was going to Kelly High School here in Chicago. The band started with my friend Mark Bajic and I. We both loved the same music but it was more about Heavy Metal than punk. Grunge came a little after we first met. We both had this dream of playing at our High School's talent show. I found some other kids to play drums and bass and we just kinda started getting together and working on a few songs. We sounded horrible and were sloppy but hey...we were about 16 then. We fired Mark because he was an a.....e and wouldn't rehearse with us. That was one of the best things that happened because we could move forward without him slowing us down.

-Do y'all have other side projects as well?

Plasma. That's our original band. As Plasma we have released 8 albums on our own label (Litterbox Records). Plasma is the same guys. Just a different name with obviously a different set of songs. We are still writing new material and we have about 3 albums worth of stuff. Really good stuff! But over the last 3 years we haven't made time to finally record and release all these new tunes.

-Bring me back to '94, when Kurt Cobain tragically left us. How was that time for you? Did his death help spur you guys on to making this a full-time project?

I actually just posted this in our myspace blog (

"April 8th, 1994 was the date that the world discovered Kurt Cobain was gone.
I was at my first job at an insurance agency while going to school. My friend Harry called me up and told me to tune into Q101 because he had heard something had happened to Kurt. My heart sank hard even though I didn't know what he was talking about. Sure enough the reports kept coming in about "a body found in Kurt's home" but no one was sure if it was Kurt's or not.....deep inside you just knew the horrible truth. Nirvana was constantly played on the radio....then it was official...the body has been confirmed. Kurt Cobain is dead at the age of 27. We forever lost a great spirit, an amazing songwriter/artist/human being.

This was one of the worst feelings in the world. Everything had gone wrong for me in 1994. From school to personal relationships..just seemed like all I had was Nirvana and music....selfishly I thought to myself "It's over....there will never be another new Nirvana record, they will never play a live show again, they will not play at Lollapalooza, it's just over. Music officially sucks - Savannah Now (Savannah Georgia)

""Smells Like A Nirvana Tribute" by Jim Reed"

THE VELDMAN BROTHERS (J., Alex and Sam) first started making music in 1991 — just when the infamous "Seattle sound" was turning the small Northwestern grunge scene into an international movement. They never dreamed that years later they'd enjoy a rep as one of the most accurate and entertaining tribute bands specializing in that movement's poster boys, Nirvana.

Touring across the U.S. (and into Mexico) as Nevermind, they've got the look, vibe, tone and attack of Cobain and Co.'s over-the-top brand of explosive, Pixies-inspired neo-punk down about as pat as one might imagine. They even use identical gear and instruments to capture the feel and sound of their heroes.

I caught up with singing guitarist J. Veldman (Kurt) in Chicago after a string of NYC dates to find out what it's like to live by night in another man's shoes.

First off, your bio says this band formed near the start of the Seattle grunge movement - does that mean you all were in an original band around the same time as Nirvana was breaking?

J. Veldman: Yes siree. I started a band with some high school friends of mine in 1991. We wanted to play the next year's talent show and all the while were trying to figure ourselves out as a band. During that time, Nirvana began to emerge out of obscurity.

Whose idea was it to start this tribute act?

J. Veldman: It all started as a joke. A fluke. Our band has always written (and we still write) original material, and we still do. Whenever we noticed that our crowds weren't reacting, we'd throw in a few Nirvana songs to at least reach some ears with something familiar. So basically, it was my idea.

When was your first performance as Nevermind? What was the venue like, and what sort of response did you receive?

J. Veldman: Our first show was at my high school in 1992 when we were called Plasma. But, as the Nevermind we are today, the debut wasn't so grand! The very first official show was in a basement. It was meant as a "one-off" show at this kid's Halloween party. It was Halloween of 2005 and we just thought it would be kinda funny to dress up in clothes that Nirvana would wear to accent the music, and it kinda worked. Once we saw that the kids were moshing to our set we had a feeling we were on to something.

What if anything has changed about the band's shows or the way you market and present yourselves since then?

J. Veldman: Over the years, we've added stage props similar to what Nirvana used during their final tour of 1993-1994. Their acoustic MTV Unplugged show is performed when we feel like implementing it into our set. We've been keeping up with the rarities of Nirvana's music whenever some kind of posthumous release gets into the hands of the masses. So, we like to change our sets up a bit and we always try to dig even deeper into Nirvana's catalog.

We even flesh out songs that were really just demos — like the song "Do Re Mi" which can be found on the With The Lights Out boxed-set. We've also been extending our wardrobe to match the different eras and looks Nirvana went through. As far as marketing goes, the best thing for us was to finally get an official website and a MySpace page. The latter definitely helped us out since going full on with this thing in 2005. Back in the early years of playing in bands, we all had to rely on pieces of paper called "flyers". I don't know if those still exist, but word of mouth was the other popular technique to spread the word. MySpace has been the best way to let Nirvana fans know when we're coming to their town. is also a great website for us.

Do you feel coming from the same area as the band you're paying tribute to has helped you more accurately represent their music?

J. Veldman: I think that Generation Xers can connect with the subtle things that were part of the Sub-Pop culture back in the early '90s. I can make a joke about something like Pepsi Clear and most kids won't get it. But the adults will know what the heck that stuff was. (laughs) And, for the record, it looked very disgusting. Kurt was never very accurate from song to song, so I think that if you over analyze what he was doing then you're losing the magic of what made Nirvana so special. It was those sporadic moments of either improv or changing the dynamics slightly that made the band so interesting to me. Their performances were always different to my ears. The only advantage I have of growing up within that era of music is that I can still remember seeing Nirvana live, so I'm lucky for having that experience. I try to do my best to capture that at our own live shows.

Have any of you ever been involved in a tribute band of any sort before this?

J. Veldman: Never. We were always struggling to bring our original material into decent venues but Chicago has this sort of monopoly of promoters and club owners. There's a real lack of support, except for one venue called The Abbey Pub. Thus far, they've been the only ones who seem to tru - Connect Savannah (Savannah, GA)

""Relive The 90's During Cover Band's Concerts" by John Benson"

Grunge sells but who's buying?

Apparently the answer is plenty of Gen Xers and younger generations, who have recently created a demand for alternative rock tribute bands galore.

At least that's the idea behind the upcoming "Krock of the '90s Night" featuring cover bands Truage (Tool), American Idiot (Green Day), Nevermind (Nirvana), Hungerstrike (Temple of the Dog) and Ten (Pearl Jam) on March 8 at the House of Blues.
Invariably, the groups performing at the upcoming show are all targeting their set lists towards the diehard fan, with the notion of a Temple of the Dog tribute band being somewhat curious.

Oddly enough Temple of the Dog was originally conceived in 1991 as a tribute to Mother Love Bone singer Andy Wood, who had died of a heroin overdose the year prior. "Temple of the Dog" features Wood's former band mates Stone Gossard (guitar) and Jeff Ament (bass), along with his former roommate Soundgarden's Chris Cornell.

At the time, Gossard and Ament, along with guitarist Mike McCready and a newcomer to the Seattle scene, singer Eddie Vedder, were forming a new band called Pearl Jam. They all appeared on the album, as did Soundgarden's Matt Cameron on drums. After the grunge explosion, "Temple of the Dog" was positioned as a Seattle super-group release.

"It seems that since 'Temple of the Dog' was not performed very much, and it's such a popular album, the crowd response is amazing," said Pittsburgh native and Chris Cornell sound-alike Shane Levdansky, who fronts Hungerstrike. "You didn't know that this album impacted people the way that it did."

As for being in a cover band, Levdansky remembers his initial opinion of tribute acts.

"Yeah, before I looked down on cover bands as not being creative," said Levdansky, who now also plays keyboards in Ten. "Like they're not real musicians, but I'll tell you what, it's not that way."

While next month marks the 14th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide, Nirvana's music remains as popular as ever. One person who understands this is singer-guitarist J. Beldman, who plays the role of Cobain in Chicago-based Nirvana cover band Nevermind.

"Over the last three years, the demand for the music went up," said Beldman, who saw Nirvana perform twice in 1993. "We were playing original music for so long and just did this Nirvana thing as a Halloween joke. It was a fluke, but people started getting into it."

While Nevermind played 50 shows last year, Beldman is hoping to perform over 150 dates in 2008.

"I think it's great that there's a new generation out there discovering the music," Beldman said. "That's kind of our mission, to make people aware that there's a lot of great music that Nirvana made that they can finally hear in concert. So it's good."
Perhaps ironic is the fact that Cobain had a difficult time coming to terms with the fact his music was embraced by a legion of fans he couldn't connect with on a personal level. Remember, he famously mocked his fans with lyrics, "Here we are now, entertain us," on the band's breakthrough single "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

So with this same paradox in mind, selling out to an audience you loathe, what does Beldman think Cobain would say about a Nirvana tribute band making a living solely by playing his songs?

"Even Nirvana played covers in the beginning, so it's kind of hard to say," Beldman said. "I think he wouldn't care. If anything, it would make them more money."

"Krock of the '90s" takes place at 7 tonight at the House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. Tickets are $10 to $15 at Ticketmaster outlets. Call 330-945-9400 in Akron or go online at

- Special To The Gazette (Cleveland Ohio)


Still working on that hot first release.



Nevermind is a band that was created in 1991. It began with J. Veldman and a few high school friends of his. The band covered a variety of bands and wrote original material. Slowly the band started to focus more on Nirvana's material. The band has been through a few lineup changed throghout the years until Sam (drummer and J.'s sibling) finally joined in 1994 at the tender age of 10). Alex (Bassist and other sibling) joined in 2003 at age 16.

Nevermind has gained status as one of the most highly acclaimed Nirvana Tributes across the U.S. and beyond. This touring show has the sound, the feel, and the look of Nirvana complete with stage props reminicent of those used on Nirvana's last tour ('93-'94). The band has over 70 Nirvana songs in their catalogue plus also offered is the entire MTV UNPLUGGED IN NEW YORK acoustic show which is now considered a classic amongs rock critics and Nirvana fans. Nevermind's 2006-2008 tours has taken them to cities in such states such as ARKANSAS, PENNSYLVANIA, KENTUCKY, MISSOURI, ALABAMA, OHIO, INDIANA, ILLINOIS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NEW JERSEY, NORTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, WISCONSIN, IOWA, GEORGIA, NEW YORK, FLORIDA, TEXAS, CALIFORNIA and the band has even been to MONTERREY MEXICO.... Thus making Nevermind a true international band.

Nevermind has performed shows sponsored by Jack Daniels, Miller Brewing Co., Coors, Microsoft (Xbox), Scion, PAWS (Atlanta), 99X (Atlanta), 99.5 The X (North Carolina) Rock 105 (North Carolina) and many others.