Much has been written over the years about how "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the Nevermind album changed everything for Nirvana.
The band went from a steadily growing punk-inspired underground band to a chart-topping juggernaut and leader of musical and cultural movements in the early-'90s. Drummer Dave Grohl has explained over the years that he still has trouble processing the band's ubiquity.
One piece from a collection of assorted Nirvana documents from a Seattle, Washington, record store really puts into perspective where the band was before its career took off: a royalty check made out to "Kurt D Cobain" for the amount of $26.57.
That amount of money translates to about $50 today. But if Kurt Cobain's old paper pizza plate with a setlist scrawled on it could fetch over $22,000 at auction, this humble check is surely worth a healthy sum.
"We just found it ... or should say noticed it," store owner Matt Vaughan told NME that the box of Nirvana collectables his shop purchased in the '90s includes several Nirvana documents. "We looked through 'em a little, but just put 'em in storage. Seemed like every band in Seattle had tour itinerary books ... [it] wasn't uncommon to run across one."
The check is dated March 6, 1991, a little over six months before Nevermind was released, and eight months before "Smells Like Teen Spirit" entered the charts. To put it into perspective, before "Teen Spirit" landed, Cobain's recording career earned him about enough money to fill his car with gas a twice. Eight months later, having enough money was the least of his worries.
"We're guessing the next royalty checks were a bit larger," Easy Street Records noted in an Instagram post with a photo of the check.
See the check in the Instagram embed below or here.
Photo: Getty Images