Most people don’t know this but Nirvana had more then 2 guitarist’s. Right before Pat Smear joined the band, a punk rocker named “Big” John Duncan was a member of Nirvana for a brief period. He only played with Nirvana in a few live shows just after the release of In Utero. Since alot of you do not know much about him, I thought that you might be a little bit interested in his background, so:

In early 1980 an ex-soldier named Wattie Buchan started a band called The Exploited. It featured Wattie on vocals and John Duncan on guitar. Later on John would get the nickname Big John, which is obviously referring to his rather large size. They later got a guy named Dru Stix on drums and Danny on bass. Together they released an Ep called Army Life, which reached 35th on the indie chart and became single of the week in Sounds magazine. The played alot of shows and Wattie would wear swastika’s on stage which gave people the impression that the band was fascist, which is false. Alot of there show’s turned into riots and were very violent. Barmy Army was there second Ep, and the bands followers then adapted the name The Barmy Army. Later on the band got more popular and released alot of Ep’s and even appeared on Top of the Pops, and had an Ep reach 10th in the charts. Around the time of 1982 their drummer was arrested for armed robbery and put in jail for 7 years. Danny replaced him, but was soon replaced by brother Willie. They signed for another Ep and album but their bassit quit the band and was replaced by a guy named Billy. Then John Duncan quit after the Ep and album were released. John was replaced by Carl, who was later replaced by Wayne.

I am not sure what John did after he left Exploited I heard he played in some lesser known punk bands. I am also not very sure how John met Kurt. It could have been in a club or at some show, or even through some friends. But they somehow met and in late 1993 Kurt asked John to be a member of Nirvana. He played some live shows with them but was then dropped and replaced by Pat Smear. Big John Duncan is still around and since short encounter with Nirvana has played in a bunch of lesser known punk bands.

Here is a more recent pic of Big John


Written by Mike L.