In a recent interview with BBC 6 Music, former Nirvana producer Butch Vig spoke about the recording process of Nirvana’s legendary album, ‘Nevermind’, which was released in 1991.
Butch detailed the first time he heard Nirvana’s iconic anthem, Smells Like Teen Spirit, and he also talked about the arguments he had with Kurt Cobain over how they have to make something on the songs.
The Nirvana producer also mentioned the weird habit that Kurt Cobain used to do before the recording sessions, and this information has been revealed after 29 years of waiting. Here’s what he said about it:
“The first day, I remember we were getting ready to record and then Kurt just put his guitar down, he went and sat in the corner; and I said, ‘Are you OK? Do you need anything?’
And Krist pulled me aside and said, ‘It’s OK, he just gets in these funky moments here, we just got to leave him alone and he’ll come out of it.’ And sure enough, like, about an hour and a half later, Kurt just got up, picked up his guitar and said, ‘Let’s go’ – and we recorded.
I had to sort-of learn how to deal with that but, yeah, they were amazing. Krist just had a funny sense of humor and there was some tension in that session because Kurt was not particularly always happy with Chad’s drumming, and I could just see and feel that tension building.”
On Smells Like Teen Spirit, Butch told:
“The first time I heard ‘Teen Spirit’ was in rehearsal in North Hollywood, and I was absolutely floored. I walked in the room and they were setting their gear up, and that’s the first time I met Dave Grohl.
Dave didn’t have any mics on his drums, and both Chris and Kurt had these incredibly loud amplifiers and they had mics set on them as well, and yet Dave’s sound was just as powerful and just kind of floated and rose above the guitar and bass. And they played the song, and I remember pacing around going, ‘Oh my god, this is incredible.’ And they were done, they said, ‘What do you think?’
I was like, ‘Play it again.’ I was just trying to sort of get my head around what I would need to do. I didn’t have to do very much arrangement-wise with them on that song. As it turned out, they had been rehearsing every day for six months, and they were really tight and really focused, but I knew from that first day that ‘Teen Spirit’ was something special.”
On his collaboration and arguments with Kurt, he said:
“I think I was a good fit for them because I had a pop sensibility and I always encouraged that, you know, to make sure it was really focused, in their songs. But I had a punk background, and that’s what I think impressed the band more than anything – my punk pedigree.
And so, the Sub Pop demos are one thing, but when we went in to record ‘Nevermind,’ Kurt had written these incredibly hooky songs and I really wanted to make sure that the hooks were really focused, and they trusted me.
And sometimes Kurt wouldn’t want to do something; I usually could figure out a way to convince him to double-track his guitar or vocal or to redo something if I thought it could be better, and he did, so it was a good working relationship.”
You can watch the entire interview below. Click here to the source of the statement.