In the early ’90s, Aqua Net-fueled hair metal and disposable pop songs gripped the marketplace. Then came three shaggy dudes whose blistering mix of radio-ready hits and caustic deep cuts blew the dawning decade wide open.
Now, with the arrival of a deluxe box set celebrating 20 years of Nevermind, the full story of Nirvana’s seminal album can finally be told: During a roundtable with EW in Los Angeles, Dave Grohl, 42, Krist Novoselic, 46, and producer Butch Vig, 56, recall creating a soon-to-be classic with their late friend and collaborator Kurt Cobain—and all the booze, corn dogs, turtles, and transvestite karaoke singers that came along for the ride.
April 1990: Cobain, Novoselic, and then-drummer Chad Channing visit Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin, to record with producer Butch Vig.
We were going to tour with Tad, and we said, “Why don’t we go to Madison, Wisconsin,” because we were kicking around these songs. So we drove out there straight from Washington State to Wisconsin in two days.
They were with Sub Pop then, and they came out ostensibly to do a new album for Sub Pop. We tracked maybe seven songs in five days.
We had heard of Butch. He was doing a lot of Touch & Go bands. And Tad recorded there too, so they sent us good references.
it was a little tough because Kurt kept blowing his voice out. And during the middle of the recording, they did a show at a local club in Madison and he blew his voice out even worse. I think the last two days he couldn’t sing at all. I expected they were going to come back. I didn’t hear anything, and all of a sudden I started getting these calls from people saying, “Hey man, I love these Nirvana tracks.” They had gone home and dubbed a cassette I gave them, and they made a hundred copies and gave them out to their friends. They bootlegged themselves, essentially.
That was how Geffen got a copy. I think [Sonic Youth members and Geffen signees] Kim [Gordon] and Thurston [Moore] had a copy, and they gave it to [Geffen A&R executive] Gary Gersh
September 1990: Cobain and Novoselic fire Channing and replace him with former Scream drummer Dave Grohl. While working out the growing batch of new songs, the band signs with Geffen Records. READ FULL STORY