Posts Tagged ‘nevermind’

Nirvana Pt. 2

October 2, 2008

Once Dave Grohl was put into place they could start recording Nevermind. They started in Butch Vig’s Smart Studio in Madison, WI. The set up was low budget and so was the sound. Once they got cleared by their new label (Geffen) to rent a recording Studio they went over to Sound City in Van Nuys to record it on a more professional level. The did, however, use one track from the Smart Studio sessions on the final version of Nevermind – Polly. Soon after recording was completed, they filmed a video for their new song “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

After filming they went on a tour of Europe and without the Internet in those days, they were oblivious to the kind of impact their song was making in the US. They were just happy touring. They were able to see album sales climb and they noticed that Smells Like Teen Spirit was in heavy rotation on the radio and on MTV. They came back to the States in October (after playing clubs in Europe) and they sold out Seattle’s Paramount Theater. They had arrived on the scene.

They hated the new fans that they attracted. The “Frat boys” that bullied kids like them were now listening to their music and buying their CDs. After a high demand for new music Nirvana released “Incesticide” which was a compiliation of B-Sides and other rare songs with limited release up to that point. In the liner notes, Kurt wrote a long diatribe about the fans that they did not want. They did not want racist or ignorant people buying their records.

By 1992, Nirvana was on top of the world. Nevermind had been Number one on the Billboard charts knocking off Michael Jackson and they were selling out arenas all over the country. When it came time to make their second record for Geffen, they were in the driver’s seat. They wanted to make a record with Fuzz Master Steve Albini who did most of his work for Touch and Go Records recording The Jesus Lizard.

They trekked up to Pachyderm Studios in Minnesota and recorded In Utero. The entire recording process lasted 2 weeks and Kurt laid the vocals down in one day. Early masters were very raw and Nirvana had them remixed by Scott Litt of REM fame. This caused a riff between Albini and Nirvana because while Nirvana claimed that the label balked at the tapes, Albini feel that Nirvana was the ones who did not like it. The album sold well and early concerts sold out. As the year went on crowds became slightly smaller.

Shows were not selling out until the day of the show andsome were not sellingout at all. Sales of In Utero started to decline. In an effort to pick up ticket and album sales, Nirvana agreed to an “Unplugged” concert for MTV. They wanted to take a different route than the previous concerts. Everyone played their hits like it was Madison Square Garden (paraphrasing Dave Grohl) and Nirvana wanted to do something different. They played mostly thier songs, but detoured a bit and played covers like “Man Who Sold the World”. They Introduced the world to the Meat Puppets when they covered “Plateau”, “Lake of Fire”, and “Oh, Me” (all of the Meat Puppets second record titled II). Kurt capped off the evening with a breathtaking version of Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”. Nirvana fever was reborn.

The return to success did not help Kurt at all though. His drug use was heavy and slipped into a coma in early 1994. They canceled a tour in Fbruary of 1994 due to Kurt’s laryngitis. Kurt checked himself into a rehab clinic in Los angeles. Sneaked out to get some cigarettes and never came back. His body was discovered in his Seattle homea few days later. He took his own life. He was 27.

Todd

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Nirvana Pt. 1

September 16, 2008

Let me start out and state, in my opinion, there would be no Nirvana without the Melvins. Would Kurt have started a band? Probably. However, the chances of that band being with Krist Novosellic, and Kurt getting to record a demo would be extremely low had it not been for the Melvins. Now then, let’s dice right in.

The year was 1985. Kurt Cobain was in high school without hardly any friends and was being shuffled around relatives for a place to stay. He had heard of the band called the Melvins and went to a practice of theirs (a common hangout place for music people). He saw a really tall guy (6’7″) that he recognized from school. This guy was Krist and he listened to punk rock and could play bass guitar.

Kurt really wanted to start a band with Krist, but Krist showed little interest. He went down to Reciprocal Recordings with Dale Crover (100% of the reason Endido gave this Kurt guy the time of day) and they recorded a demo called “Fecal Matter”. Kurt gave this tape to Krist and he was finally convinced. All they needed now was a drummer.

They had simple requirements – someone who was willing to practice 5 days a week. They found a Chad Channing. He had a goofy drum set, and he didn’t do everything exactly the way Kurt would’ve liked him to, but he was there 5 days a week. Now that they had all the pieces in place, they were ready to rock.

They performed at a few clubs under numerous names (Skid Row, Pen Cap Chew…etc) until they finally settled on a name – Nirvana. They felt pretty confident about their songs and started shopping themselves around to labels. They sent tapes to Touch & Go, K Records, and Sub Pop. Sub Pop was the only label to bite and signed Kurt. They went into the recording studio with Jack Endido.

They recorded their first single, “Love Buzz” and wanted the song “Blandest” to be the B-Side. However, Endido thought the title resembled the song and balked. Nirvana decided to go with “Big Cheese” instead. So the first installment of the Sub Pop Singles Club was Nirvana’s Love Buzz b/w Big Cheese. the 7 inch vinyl’s were hand numbered to 1000 and were quickly snatched up. Nirvana was pissed because they were at shows and people wanted their stuff, but they had nothing to give them. the ploy worked though because there was so much demand that when Bleachwas finally released, there was a lot of underground hype for it.

When Nirvana was recording Bleach, they had to come up with $606 dollars to pay Endido for the studio time. Well, being completely broke, Nirvana did not have that kind of money. Enter Jason Everman. They struck a deal with Everman. If he paid the money, he could join their band. They even gave him a guitar credit on Bleach despite not playing on it. After Bleach came out, they went on tour to promote it. They were living their dream. Kurt noted that the tour was great, but wouldhave been better if “Jason wasn’t such a prick”. Everman was kicked out of the band shortly after the Bleach tour.

After the Bleach tour, they had another problem. They grew increasingly frustrated with Chad Channing, so they wrote him a letter effectively kicking him out of the band. So now they had no drummer again. They played shows with Dan Peters, but h had to go back to Mudhoney. They played some shows with Dale Crover, but he had to go back to the Melvins. They let Aaron Bruckhard play with them, but he still wasn’t what they were looking for. Buzz, from the Melvins knew a guy.

DC Punk band, Scream, was touring LA and their band literally fell apart, and they broke up in Los Angeles. Kurt called their drummer, Dave Grohl, and told him to come to Seattle to be in their band. Grohl had nothing to lose so he went up to Seattle. He was everything Nirvana was looking for in a drummer, and now in 1990, 5 years after “Fecal Matter”, they were complete.

To be continued…

Todd


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