Nirvana Ex Recalls Heartbreak Over Being Fired From Soundgarden
Former Nirvana and Soundgarden member Jason Everman said being fired from Chris Cornell’s band broke his heart in a way that being dismissed from Kurt Cobain’s outfit never did.
Everman joined Nirvana in 1989 as a second guitarist and is credited on their Bleach album. He’s not heard on the recordings but paid the $600 fee for the sessions, and he was dismissed after a tour later that year. He went on to replace bassist Hiro Yamamoto in Soundgarden before being ejected in 1990.
"With Nirvana, I guess initially when I came onboard, Kurt wanted a second guitar player for the live show,” Everman said in a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience. “Initially I thought I was going to be able to contribute to the band creatively, and then it got to the point when I realized that wasn’t going to happen.”
He added: “On the rare times where we actually rehearsed as a band – which was not a lot – Kurt kind of halfheartedly [asked], ‘Who has ideas?’ … I’d throw a couple of ideas out. And Chad [Channing, drummer], a very accomplished musician in his own right, would throw some ideas out. And then it would just be glossed over and [Cobain] would be like, ‘Well, here’s the new song I wrote,’ and we'd start learning that.”
Everman suggested that Channing also drew the conclusion that he’d never be allowed any creative input, but they were ill-equipped to discuss this dynamic. “Everyone in the band, including myself, were poor communicators – a lot of passive aggression," he said. "We were kids.”
After being kicked out of Nirvana, Everman began preparing for a trip to the Himalayas, but he dropped the idea when Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil called and asked him to audition for Yamamoto’s role. “At that point, Soundgarden was my favourite Seattle band, hands-down,” he explained. “But at the end of the day, I wasn’t getting along with Chris that well – and obviously, who's gonna go? It was me.”
Everman said the Soundgarden dismissal "broke my heart. It was a bad spot for me because I loved that band. I never thought they would get as big as they did. Honestly, it was surprising because they were a great band, but I always thought they were a little bit too quirky to be huge, despite the Chris factor – a genetically engineered rock star.”
While medium-scale success would have been fine with Everman, it didn’t happen. “Getting fired from Soundgarden put me in a pretty bad tailspin,” he admitted. “It was a rough patch of my life for sure, so in order to cut this tailspin off, I had to do something radical.” He joined the U.S. Army in 1994 and began a successful career there, working his way up to Special Forces.