Now Playing July 2016
On high rotation this week is...
Occasionally I get a chance to read in between the dad duties and my other job. It doesn’t happen often. Right now I’m reading a biography of Dave Grohl and its quite a good read. There's a good background of America’s West Coast punk scene circa 1980 and a good bit about his time in the band Scream which involved living in a van and touring Europe. Then there’s the bit where he joins Nirvana.
Bleach was getting some good reception but Kurt Cobain and Chris Novoselic were having some trouble with the drummer, Channing. After Channing left the band we were all fortunate enough that Buzz Osborne from The Melvins suggested Dave should try out. In the first two minutes they knew Dave had the job and he was playing gigs with them within the month.
Besides getting drunk and hanging out with the girls from Bikini Kill they managed to get a few new songs down. These got recorded at the infamous Sound City studios by producer Butch Vig and put into the album we know as Nevermind.
Smells Like Teen Spirit is the obvious song to talk about because the guys wanted it to sound big and they succeeded. They nailed the quiet-verse/loud-chorus technique and blew everyone away from the first ‘With the lights out’. This opening track led into a series of killer songs like In Bloom, Breed and Lithium (still my personal favourite from the album). There are some gentler songs on the album like Come As you Are and Polly, but these are gentler only in the sense that getting hit by a plank of wood is gentler than getting hit by an iron bar. Something in the Way is the album’s truly deep, melodic song and stands out even more because of its contrast to the album’s beginning. Butch commented later about how it almost killed Dave to play so slowly for this track.
Kurt was annoyed that the record sounded too clean when it was released but by most standards this is a raw, visceral album with great depth to its lyrics. Word was out even before the record was complete that Nirvana had produced something big. They quickly went from underground heroes to MTV superstars, and were playing stadium shows supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers by November that year (with a fledgling band called Pearl Jam opening the shows I might add).
Play audio for Breed.
As a diamond selling album, Nevermind has sold an estimated 30 million copies.