Nevermind the low expectations
On Thursday September 23 2021, the album that grabbed rock music by the throat and hurled it in a whole new direction will celebrate its 30th-anniversary. Dave Grohl has recalled how he and his Nirvana bandmates didn't expect their album 'Nevermind' to become the roaring success it did.
Recalling how Nirvana underestimated the subsequently huge impact of ‘Nevermind’ ahead of its release, Grohl said he remembered getting feedback from friends who heard the album and would say: “Oh my God. You guys are going to be fucking huge!”
“We would go, ‘What? What are you talking about?'” the drummer continued.
“Donita Sparks from L7 came by and said we were going to be fucking huge. My old friend Barrett Jones, who I had grown up with in Virginia, who was a musician and a producer himself, heard ‘Lithium’ and said we were going to be fucking huge. He thought ‘Lithium’ should be the first single.
“Everyone had these lofty opinions and I thought, ‘Well, it’s nice of you to say so, but there is no fucking way that is ever going to happen.’”
Grohl continued by saying that “you also have to remember what was popular at the time. It was Wilson Phillips, it was Mariah Carey and it was fucking Bon Jovi. It was not bands like us”.
“So it seemed totally implausible that we would ever even get close to that kind of success,” he added.
“But, you know, it all sounded great: the drum sound at the recording studion Sound City, Butch Vig’s production, the band was tight and Kurt’s songs were fucking great.
We would do one or two takes and maybe do an overdub here and there, Kurt would go in and do the vocal and it was crystal clear and so fucking powerful, melodic and beautiful that you’re so proud of it – and we were definitely proud of it.”
Nirvana’s iconic second album was the band’s first full effort with Grohl on drums, alongside bassist Krist Novoselic and late frontman Kurt Cobain. Grohl says he is yet to discuss plans for the 30-year milestone with Novoselic, and says fans shouldn’t be surprised if a separate celebration is already being planned elsewhere.
“Anniversaries are funny because they just keep on happening over and over, but no we haven’t discussed it,” he said.
“I’m sure there’s some conservation going on somewhere about how to celebrate Kurt’s music thirty years later. But I don’t know anything specific, I really don’t.”
Grohl also declared why he doesn’t get caught up in wondering what Kurt Cobain would’ve thought of Foo Fighters‘ music.
“No, I don’t – and I’ll tell you why!” he replied. “For 25 fucking years, that’s been something I’ve been judged by and from the get-go, you have to realise that it’s a dangerous place to be.
“You can’t create or judge anything by someone else’s standards.”