Kurt Cobain criticized Motley Crue when recording Nevermind, according to Danny Goldberg in a Whatever Nevermind interview.
The interviewer said, “On ‘Nevermind,’ Kurt would complain about the production eventually, he said it sounded like a Motley Crue record, which I don’t necessarily agree with.”
Goldberg responded, “I think that he had a balance of his relationship with the punk subculture, which had inspired him enormously in his teenage years. He recognized the outsiderness of it, the need for integrity, the emotions of that audience.
“And even though they were only a small percentage of the total audience of Nirvana, they were the original audience, and he always wanted to stay true to that part of himself.
“So after ‘Nevermind’ was incredibly successful, he would sometimes say shit like that in interviews to try to recognize the difference between the pure punk fans, and this mass rock audience that also liked Nirvana.
“But he completely controlled the sound of that record. It’s not like anyone imposed anything on him. He controlled how much echo or no echo was on the mic, he controlled the mixes, he controlled the mastering…
“He physically went to the mastering of the record, he had to approve of everything, he had the final say of anything, and he then wanted a remixer, he approved the remixes, he picked the guy. It was his record.
“But the success of it turned it into another thing. It was separate from the work of art, it became this mass cultural statement, and he emphasized with the punk fans who felt that the sheer success of it.
“It’s just weird when the people that used to kick your ass in high school are now part of your audience.
“He said some things like that about the production, but I really don’t think that he really believed there was anything wrong with the production of it. It was his record.
“He just understood the emotions of the punk audience in the wake of punk becoming this commercial medium and suddenly where do they go for their individual identity.
“And so that was part of the calculation of working with [producer Steve] Albini on the next record [1993’s ‘In Utero,’ Nirvana’s third and final album].
“It was also that he admired a lot of the records Albini had produced like The Breeders and P.J. Harvey, but he also knew the symbolism of Albini, and he knew that was slightly rawer sound.
“But the truth is, I think if you listen to ‘Nevermind’ and you listen to ‘In Utero,’ it’s the same artist, same singer, same musicians, same songwriting. It’s a pretty subtle sonic distinction.
“It’s real, and he did it on purpose, and ‘In Utero’ is my favorite record, even more than ‘Nevermind’ or ‘Unplugged,’ but it’s the same artist, and it’s the same one person, Kurt Cobain, in my opinion, who brought to life all of these records.
“Not that he didn’t have very important people helping him do it, but they do all say he was the guy.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.