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Chad Channing

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Birth name
Chad Channing


Chad Channing

Years active


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January 31, 1967 (age 57) (

Drums, vocals, guitar, bass

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Similar People
Krist Novoselic, Jason Everman, Aaron Burckhard, Dave Foster, Dan Peters

Music group
Nirvana (1988 – 1990)

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Chad Channing (born January 31, 1967) is an American musician who is best known for being the drummer of the band Nirvana from 1988 until 1990, during which time they recorded and released their debut album Bleach. He currently sings and plays bass in the band Before Cars.


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Early life

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Channing was born on January 31, 1967, in Santa Rosa, California, to Wayne and Burnyce Channing. Wayne was a radio disc jockey and the family was constantly moving all over the country due to different jobs being offered to him. At 13 Chad shattered his femur in an accident during gym class. Over the years of rehabilitation and surgeries he discovered music, beginning with a bass guitar which his parents bought him. The bass filled Chad's time as he was unable to go to school. When he was out of his leg casts, his parents bought him a drum set to help build strength in his legs. Chad was a natural at the drums and began jamming with friends, including joining a band with future Nirvana guitarist Jason Everman called Stonecrow.

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Channing, while working as a sauté cook on Bainbridge Island, Washington, started the band Tick-Dolly-Row with Chris Karr, John Hurd and Ben Shepherd, also a Bainbridge Islander, who would later become the bassist for Soundgarden. Tick-Dolly-Row shared a bill with Nirvana, who at the time were going under the name Bliss. Not long after, a mutual friend introduced Channing to Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic who were searching for a drummer. The three got together several times for jam sessions before they started playing shows.

Nirvana career

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In June 1988, only a couple of months after Channing joined Nirvana, they recorded their first single, "Love Buzz", also marking their Sub Pop debut. Nirvana began the recording sessions for Bleach on Christmas Eve 1988, finishing up towards the end of January 1989. Jason Everman, a friend of the band, agreed to pay the money for recording costs. Everman had known Channing since fifth grade and the two had also played in bands together in high school.

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Bleach was released on June 15, 1989. Channing played drums on the entire album with the exception of "Floyd the Barber", "Paper Cuts", and "Downer" which featured drummer Dale Crover from an earlier recording session prior to Channing joining the band. In April 1990 Nirvana recorded eight songs at Smart Studios with producer Butch Vig that ended when Cobain blew his voice out. During the sessions, Cobain and Novoselic became disenchanted with Channing's drumming, and Channing expressed frustration at not being actively involved in songwriting. These creative and artistic differences culminated in Channing's departure, a mutual decision within the band. By the time Nirvana made their next attempt at recording, they had recruited Dave Grohl as their new drummer, who adopted many of the same drum parts to the songs Channing had been playing for the new songs. Although uncredited (until the Deluxe edition), the version of "Polly" used on Nevermind is the original version the band recorded with Channing on percussion, the only song carried over from the previous session.

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Due to mass popularity and longevity, the rehashing of older work by Nirvana continued, both during the band's existence and following their demise. The 1992 compilation, Incesticide, featured the tracks "Big Long Now", "Stain" and "Dive", which all credited Channing as drummer. Live versions of "Polly" and "Breed" that included Channing appeared on From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, a live album released in 1996. The 2004 With the Lights Out box set featured a DVD of a December 1988 Nirvana rehearsal, as well as seven songs scattered across the first two discs of the set, all with Channing on drums.

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Following the announcement of Nirvana's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December 2013, Channing said in an interview with the website that he perceived the recognition as a gift for his daughter. However, Channing was later informed of his omission by SMS, was not included in the April 2014 induction, as the accolade only applied to Cobain, Novoselic and Grohl. Channing did attend the ceremony, and was thanked by his replacement Dave Grohl for Channing's contributions to the band.

Post-Nirvana work

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After leaving Nirvana, Channing formed the Fire Ants who released the Stripped EP on Dekema Records in 1992, produced by Jack Endino, who had also produced Bleach. Members of the Fire Ants also included Brian Wood (vocals) and Kevin Wood (guitars), brothers of the late Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, and bassist Dan McDonald. Channing and McDonald collaborated yet again in 1998 with John Hurd and Erik Spicer, forming The Methodists who released the album Cookie.

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Most recently Chad stepped out from behind the drum set to front his new project Before Cars, who released the single "Old Chair" in 2006. They released their debut album Walk Back in 2008, again produced by Jack Endino. Channing supplies lead vocals and bass on all tracks, as well as some acoustic guitar.

With Tic Dolly Row

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  • Live demo (1987)
  • With Fire Ants

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  • Ant Acid 7" (1992)
  • Stripped EP (1992)
  • With The Methodists

    Chad Channing Stephen Tow Nirvanas Chad Channing Drives Before Cars

  • Cookie (1998)
  • With Before Cars

  • Old Chair EP (2006)
  • Walk Back (2008)
  • How We Run (2013)
  • References

    Chad Channing Wikipedia

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