Nevermind Turns 20

Posted September 28, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in News

Happy Birthday to Nevermind

Today a pivotal moment in rock history happened: Nirvana debuted their crowned masterpiece Nevermind twenty years ago.

The second album from Nirvana, released on September 24, 1991, has been getting its fair share of love and exposure redux in multiple magazine pubs like Rolling Stone, Spin and Billboard. And it deserves so. Its grand achievements include bringing alt-rock into the mainstream, selling over 10 million copies and turning band leader and sole songwriter Kurt Cobain into a super rock god with the power of sensational tracks like “Come As You Are,” “Lithium,” “In Bloom” and the No. 6 pop hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” By January 1992, it had replaced Michael Jackson‘s album Dangerous at number one on the Billboard charts.

Today Dave Grohl, leader of alt-rock band Foo Fighters and former drummer for Nirvana, along with producer Butch Vig and Krist Novoselic reflected on the golden, pivotal moment with Jon Stewart during a SiriusXM 2-hour interview.

“The whole slacker generation totally didn’t apply to us musically,” Grohl said, while explaining in detail the 16-day recording process of the album.

Nevermind producer Butch Vig discussed the hard work that went into the album and that records nowadays “fix” the problems on record almost instantly. That wasn’t the case with Nirvana at all, particularly on Nevermind.

“On Nevermind, it’s really about the performances,” he said. “They were so focused when they came in.”

On a Classics Albums documentary of Nevermind, Vig explained the process behind one of the more milder moments on the disc, “Something In The Way.” The album closer is so subdued and gloomy, leaving Cobain singing to a cathartic whisper.

Novoselic recalls how zoned in Cobain was to the making of the album: “Kurt’s intensity was captured through the music.”

During the interview, Grohl even muttered out the group’s rise to fame and the cost they had to pay for it. “(It went from) people you would expect to see at a Nirvana show to … people that just looked normal,” Grohl said. He added that with fame came an overwhelming sense of responsibility.

Still, the group reflects on the obvious brokeness of Cobain’s death.

“I wish Kurt was here,” Novoselic said somberly. “It’s a big hole.”

Visit the official website of SPIN magazine to read full coverage on the album and to download the free Tribute album from thirteen indie rock acts.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine

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