If you're looking for a lengthy, incredibly interesting read, you must check out this incredible profile of one of the more fascinating stories in recent memory. The in depth story was done by screenwriter, director and musican Clay Tarver–a longtime friend of Everman's, whom he first met playing rock shows in the early 90's. The article takes us through Everman's volatile childhood, his stints and breakups with the two bands, joining the army, and his experience as an elite member of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
As an appetizer, we've curated some of the more intriguing snippets:
And that was only half of it. Jason Everman has the unique distinction of being the guy who was kicked out of Nirvana and Soundgarden, two rock bands that would sell roughly 100 million records combined. At 26, he wasn’t just Pete Best, the guy the Beatles left behind. He was Pete Best twice.
Then again, he wasn’t remotely. What Everman did afterward put him far outside the category of rock’n’roll footnote. He became an elite member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, one of those bearded guys riding around on horseback in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.
On initially gelling with Nirvana:
At first, Everman seemed to be the perfect fit. These were irreverent guys who had all set off bombs in their own way. Nirvana’s gloominess is such a part of the band’s mythology now, but Cobain was also wickedly funny. As Novoselic put it to me, “We were fun-loving dudes.” Onstage, Nirvana had entered a heavy phase, perfectly suited to Everman’s rock vibes. Jonathan Poneman, co-founder of Sub Pop Records, the label that signed Nirvana, told me that Cobain introduced Everman as his “surprise” before a sound check in San Francisco. Poneman loved the new guy.
On moving to Soundgarden:
Everman had always liked Nirvana, but he loved Soundgarden. Playing bass for them — on the verge of stardom as they were — was the most-coveted gig in Seattle — even one of Everman’s old friends, Ben Shepherd, auditioned. Soundgarden, meanwhile, had called Jason right away. “We knew things ended with Nirvana on less-than-ideal terms,” Kim Thayil, their guitarist, told me. “He didn’t fit with Nirvana? Big deal. That’s them. We’re Soundgarden. We’re a different animal.” In the first audition, he impressed them all. “Jason was the guy,” Soundgarden’s drummer, Matt Cameron, remembered. “Jason came prepared.” After the disaster with Nirvana, now Everman was playing bass for his favorite Seattle band. He couldn’t believe his luck. As he put it to me, “What were the chances of all that happening?”
After getting axed from both bands:
I don’t know how he got through the next year. Everman’s friend from home, Ben Shepherd, replaced him in Soundgarden. Their next album went double platinum. Of course, Nirvana — after replacing Jason’s friend Chad Channing on drums with Dave Grohl — became the biggest band in the world. That record he never got paid back for, “Bleach,” eventually sold 2.1 million copies. “Nevermind” sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide and changed the course of rock. Everman, meanwhile, was left behind with no idea what to do next.
For the first month, he just went fetal. “It was a huge blow,” he admitted to me quietly. “I had no warning. The only good thing about it was it made me leave the Pacific Northwest. I would never have done that otherwise.” He moved to New York and got a job working for a while in the Caroline Records warehouse, a long way from the tour bus.
On joining the special forces:
So in 1993, while living in a group house in San Francisco with the guys in Mindfunk, Everman slipped out to meet with recruiters; the Army offered a fast track to becoming a Ranger and perhaps eventually to the Special Forces. He told me he always had an interest in it. His stepfather was in the Navy; both grandfathers were ex-military. Most of the people he grew up with scoffed at that world, which was part of the appeal to him. Novoselic remembered something Everman said way back in the Olympia days. “He was just pondering. He asked me, ‘Do you ever think about what it’d be like to be in the military and go through that experience?’ And I was just like . . . no.”
Everman started waking up early while his bandmates slept in; he went biking, swimming, got in shape. One day, with zero warning, he resigned. He put all of his stuff in storage. He took a flight to New York and went to an Army recruiting office in Manhattan. A couple of weeks later he was on a flight to Georgia. “Was I nervous?” he asked. “I was a little nervous. But I knew.”
A lot more great stuff in the article, which you should go read.