Smells Like Nirvana-I’m With The Band

It was the nineties, I was a teenager, and I had just returned from LA where I had been spending my summers training. A few other dancers from my troupe and I had heard that auditions were being held at the Vancouver Public Library for Weird Al Yankovic’s upcoming show. He needed dancers for “Smells Like Nirvana” his parody of Nirvana’s song “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Just like video they wanted a couple of dancers in cheerleading outfits and sneakers. I loved my grunge rock bands, and I thought this was an amazing opportunity. Touring with Prince would have to wait. We arrived at the audition and to my surprise there were not very many people there. I mean, obviously Weird Al was definitely not Kurt Cobain, but that’s why the power of imagination is so crucial! Besides, who doesn’t want to get up on a stage and perform in front of thousands of screaming teenagers, even if the screaming isn’t for you?!

Z95.3 FM was hosting the audition, so it was live. We quickly learned the choreography and performed it a few times. I won or rather was chosen along with one other girl. They interviewed us, I told them what a great honor it was to receive this opportunity, and that I was so excited to be a part of the show. I walked away and couldn’t believe the BS that was coming out of my mouth…once again my imagination was getting the best of me. In the weeks leading up to the concert, my name was all over the radio station. I felt like a local celebrity, while trying to keep my composure at the same time. I would run in to people, I would wait for them to bring up the fact that they had heard my name on the radio, and then I would pretend it was no big deal. I was always told in the face of success, it’s better to be humble.

The night finally arrived and I had been given two front row tickets. My mother and my aunt claimed them. I made my way downtown to the Pacific Coliseum and when I arrived backstage they had a pass for me with my name on it, and showed me to my dressing room. The other girl arrived and we were talking about how much fun the show was going to be! An hour in to hanging out, fixing makeup that didn’t need to be fixed; we received a knock on the door. The band was stuck at the border and the show may be cancelled.  I began panicking! This wasn’t supposed to happen it was my night to shine! I demanded that we go over our routine. The show wasn’t cancelled yet!

Half an hour later we get another knock on the door and one of the roadies drags a trunk into our dressing room, telling us to get dressed. The show starts in half an hour. Excited that the show was back on we opened the trunk to take out our costumes; more like almost puked and passed out. The stench that came from this trunk was disgusting. I picked up the bra top and it was drenched in cold sweat from the girl who had worn it from the night before. Slowly we began to change out of our clothes and put on the Sweaty Betty costumes. As were just about dressed we heard this stirring noise coming from behind us, it was Weird Al standing there. Besides the fact that he was obviously weird, he was nice and polite. We exchanged a few pleasantries and just as fast, he was gone.

The show had started, the music was loud, and adrenaline was now beginning to pulse through my veins. There was a hard knock on our door. Another roadie had come to gather us for our shining moment on stage! As he was leading us to the stage, the music getting louder and louder, my adrenaline pulsing higher, I instantly felt this surge of energy I had never experienced before.

The ecstatic clapping and cheering from the thousands of fans was explosive and overwhelming! The roadie saw my face, had a chuckle, and pointed me towards the stairs of the stage. As we were standing there, the lights flashing, the bass going, drums kicking, Weird Al(being weird), the crowd cheering, I thought I was going to puke. I noticed the puke buckets that were strategically placed on either side of the stage, now understanding why they were there. All of a sudden I felt a hard shove on my back telling to me to, ‘GO!’ I had gotten lost in a panic ridden daydream. I am not sure what came over me but I when I got out there I went NUTS! We did our routine, which wasn’t very long and then the other dancer and I looked at each other having a telepathic conversation.

‘Oh my god! What should we do?’

‘I don’t know! Oh MY God!’


 My answer was a combination of shaking my head YES frantically while looking like I was in the Exorcist at the same time as I began to flail my body all over the stage. At that moment no one could doubt my commitment to my craft! I could see my mom and aunt cheering, so proud they were! I was having a fantastic time bouncing all over the stage, feeling the heat of the music!

At that moment in mid air, something compelled me to open my eyes. I did, as did the bass player! We both realized that I was a millisecond away from landing on his jugular! I had a Oh F**** look as did he, and again with a telepathic conversation I tried to torque my legs’ to try and change how I would land, he thankfully rolled out of the way of disaster! I have to give him all of the credit he saved his own life. I was an out of control mosher. The song finally came to a finish and our job was done. My sweat had now become one with all of the other girls sweat in the costume from their obviously hard but committed moshing from previous shows. I felt high, I felt like I should have been a rockstar!

The show was done, our job was done, and we put our drenched costumes back in to their home; the trunk. With a little pat saluting the costumes as they made their way to the next show; I met up with my mom and aunt. They were still disinfecting their faces from Weird Al spitting on them during the show. A perk to being in the front row, but hey, at least he didn’t pee on them!

Written By

Jessica Hinkson