When touring, especially as a young band, you don’t overpack. Anything you don’t need to play shows or survive a month of passing between gas station mini-marts and venues isn’t going in the van. As such, when it comes to daily incidentals like hashing out a setlist for the night’s show, you tend to just grab whatever’s laying around and go for it.
For a 1990 show at Washington D.C.’s famed 9:30 Club, late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain wound up scrawling his setlist on the back of a pizza plate, off which he’d just finished eating pizza. And now, almost 30 years later, that plate has sold for $22,000.
California auction house Julien’s Auctions came into possession of the rare paper plate, which predates the band’s meteoric rise to global stardom by about a year, through another musician who played for an opening act that night:
Accompanied by a typed, signed letter of authenticity from Johnny Riggs of the band THUD stating that his band played before Nirvana at the club that night. Cobain had eaten some pizza before the show and proceeded to write the set list on the plate he had been eating his pizza on. Riggs managed to obtain the plate when they were done performing.
After initially valuing the plate at around $1,000-$2,000, it sold for the aforementioned $22,000, to whomever it is that has both the slavish fandom and the tens of thousands of dollars in expendable income to buy an early-era Nirvana setlist.
In pointing out that the price tag seems high, we don’t mean to disparage the band in any way; at this time they were touring behind Bleach, and that’s a show we’d have given just about anything to see. But this still seems like a weird way to honor an artist who at once pursued fame and was frequently repulsed by it, and also, it is a plate on which pizza was eaten and then song names were scribbled, 29 years ago, and it sold for $22,000.
Then again, a few years ago, somebody also bought Cobain’s deactivated credit card on auction. Celebrity worship is weird.