“Nevermind” remains to be ever controversial album of Nirvana, given the album art. The album producer Butch Vig recalled how his famous collaboration with the band began, going in-depth about some of the key moments and challenges from the recording process behind the band’s iconic sophomore LP.
Butch Vig talks about Dave Grohl
As Kurt Cobain & Co. settled for Vig as the producer of their sophomore record and major label debut, a cassette containing an early version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” arrived on Vig’s doorstep. Here is what Vig told Consequence in a new interview:
“A couple of days later a cassette showed up. So I put it in my cassette player in the car… It was Kurt, and he said ‘Hey, Butch, we’ve got a new drummer, his name is Dave Grohl. He’s the best drummer in the world.’
“And they kicked into ‘Teen Spirit’… and as soon as they kicked in, it was so distorted because they recorded on those boomboxes with the built-in microphones.”
The producer noted how the three-piece, now with Grohl behind the drum kit, was never one of those bands who lacked professionalism: Even so, that was enough to pique Vig’s interest, and Nirvana went over to his Smart Studios in Wisconsin to begin work on early versions of songs that ended up on “Nevermind”. He continued:
“They hadn’t written ‘Teen Spirit’. I knew that Kurt’s songwriting had progressed a lot because of the songs that we recorded for those ‘Smart’ sessions. ‘In Bloom’ was one of them, which is just a fantastic song and a great melody over a chord structure. ‘Stay Away’ was on there. I think it might have been called ‘Pay to Play'”
“I knew that he [Cobain] was trying to grow as a songwriter and it was during those early ‘Smart’ sessions… I discovered he was a huge Beatles fan, and as much as he admired John Lennon’s aesthetic, he really admired Paul McCartney’s melodic songwriting and his melodic sensibility. So I filed that away as a reference point that I would use later on when we recorded Nevermind.