Special thanks to ThisDayinMusic.com.

It could have been worse: they could have been drumming for Spinal Tap. But spontaneous combustion and choking on someone else’s vomit aside, drumming in Nirvana had proven to be a short ride in the ejector seat since Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic first started fishing for a timekeeper in 1985.

The first guy to pick up the sticks was Aaron Burckhard, who (to be fair) brought his dismissal upon himself, having gotten Cobain’s car impounded by police after getting into a fight with an officer. Coupled with multiple missed practices and a generally pugnacious attitude, this last straw made dropping Burckhard an easy decision for Cobain and Novoselic.

Then came Dale Crover, who had previously played bass in the scatologically named Cobain project, Fecal Matter. Crover appeared on the band’s early demos and rejoined the group here and there when they needed a body behind the kit, but he was pretty much on loan from The Melvins.

Next in line was a drummer named Dave Foster, who was a reasonably good drummer (according to Cobain’s journals) but was a pain in the neck to get to rehearsal. Foster lived 80 miles away from the band’s Tacoma, Washington rehearsal space. And after his driver’s license was revoked when he was thrown in jail for assaulting the son of the mayor of Cosmopolis (great name!), Washington, the band had to drive over an hour each way to pick him up and drive him back to Tacoma.

With the impending recording of their debut single, “Love Buzz,” and the subsequent album, Bleach, on the horizon, the group settled on Chad Channing. Channing lasted roughly two years, but as they demoed the material for their major label debut (a little album called Nevermind), both Cobain and Novoselic knew Channing was not the right drummer for their band. Beyond his playing style, Channing also wanted a greater hand in the group’s songwriting…and that job was filled, thanks. So, with demos recorded and the band on the verge of signing with DGC, Channing was sent packing.

The next set of hands behind the kit belonged to Dan Peters of Mudhoney. Dan lasted all of one single (“Sliver”) and one ballyhooed live show at the Motor Sports International Garage in Seattle, where a certain Dave Grohl was in attendance, at the invitation of Krist Novoselic.

It seems this wiry, longhaired dervish from DC had just seen his band Scream implode, with his bandmates relocating to L.A. to form the group Wool. Cobain and Novoselic had actually seen Scream on their final tour through the Pacific Northwest, attending with Melvins frontman Buzz Osbourne. Later, when Scream imploded, it was Osbourne whom Grohl reached out to for advice. Osbourne was well-versed in the revolving door that was the Nirvana drum stool and remembered how much the Nirvana duo had liked Grohl’s playing with Scream. He put Grohl in touch with Novoselic.

After the Seattle gig (most of which Grohl later admitted missing, as he was outside talking to a friend), Grohl was brought in to audition for the band. Regarding Grohl’s audition (which happened on this very date in 1990), Novoselic later said, “We knew in two minutes that he was the right drummer.”

Peters was out, Grohl was in — and the band never looked back.