Iconic producer Butch Vig recently recalled Kurt Cobain’s reluctance to double his vocals on “Nevermind”, and how he only changed the late icon’s mind after bringing up John Lennon.
Butch Vig has also worked on Smashing Pumpkins’ 1991 debut “Gish” and its ’93 follow-up “Siamese Dream”, Sonic Youth’s “Dirty” and “Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star”, several Foo Fighters albums as well.
The list of Vig’s producing achievements also includes Nirvana’s 1991 breakthrough album “Nevermind”, and Vig proved to be the secret ingredient needed to transform Kurt Cobain & Co. from a cult underground to a mainstream sensation.
Vig told Beato in a new interview that it took some time for him and Kurt to find a common language in the studio. Recalling the late musician’s reluctance to rely on studio magic to make the band’s sound “big and lush”, the producer said (via Guitar):
“I kept saying we’re making a record – you know, this is not a live in the studio representation of what you do. We want this to sound widescreen, we want this to sound big and lush.”
“We want this to sound as good as anything else on the radio and he said, ‘Yeah, I get it.’ But he just didn’t want to do it.”
At that point, Vig had an idea about how to make Kurt to change his mind:
“Finally, when it came time to double the vocals on the first song, I said, ‘You should go double your vocals. John Lennon did it on everything.’ I knew he loved John Lennon, so he’s like, ‘Okay, Butch.'”
Butch Vig also argued that Kurt employed a similar vocal technique to to Paul McCartney’s exactly because he was such a big Beatles fan:
“Kurt was a huge Beatles fan, and I think some of his vocal melodies were McCartney-esque too because they just move around all over the place.”
“McCartney is an icon for doing that – he’s one of the best melodicists there’s ever been on bass and on guitar, and vocal.”