In many ways, Nirvana’s 1991 album, “Nevermind,” was the
quintessential record from this “underground” band, not only
crossing over to the mainstream airwaves and consciousness
of the listening public, but also selling an enormous number of
copies. It thrust bassist Krist Novoselic, drummer Dave Grohl,
and guitarist and frontman Kurt Cobain into the Rock limelight
in a way they never could have comprehended, at that time.
As everyone knows, Cobain took his own life in 1994, thus
ending Nirvana’s brief three-album career.
How “Nevermind” was recorded, and the reaction of various
people to this landmark album was the subject of the latest
DVD I watched from the Classic Albums series, released in 2004
on the Eagle Rock Entertainment label. Nirvana’s success exploded
with this second album. Their first album, “Bleach,” only hinted
at what was to come. One of the people interviewed on this
DVD mentioned that the writing was tighter for “Nevermind,”
and the songs had a more distinct melodic profile with better
“hooks” than the songs on “Bleach.” In addition, the raw
emotion conveyed by Cobain’s vocals was almost palpable
in its sincerity, and he became regarded as a sort of poster
boy for alienated youth everywhere. This was nothing if not
“honest” music making, and all three band members felt the
music was the main thing, as opposed to the money or success.
Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl was later famous with the
Foo Fighters, and he recalled that Nirvana’s songs were
meant to be as simple as possible. He also indicated that for
Kurt Cobain, the main creative force behind the band, the
music took precedence over the lyrics. Music producer Butch Vig
was seated at the mixing console for this DVD, and he reflected
on his role in bringing “Nevermind” to fruition, along with his
first encounter with Nirvana and the artistry of Kurt Cobain.
Other people interviewed included biographer Charles Cross,
Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke, various other A & R
people, a member of Sonic Youth, and even the baby who
was photographed swimming on the cover of the album.
As usual, the main film had a running time of 48 minutes, and
there were roughly 25 additional minutes of bonus features.
This is a very well-rounded portrait of a band who with this
album, earned and achieved their place in the annals of Rock history.