Nirvana Producer Says “90 Percent” Of ‘Nevermind’ Sound Was Dave Grohl’s Doing

Written by Sam Murphy on 5th August, 2016

Nirvana Producer Says “90 Percent” Of ‘Nevermind’ Sound Was Dave Grohl’s Doing

Butch Vig, the producer of Nirvana‘s Nevermind, has spoken out about the record on its 25th Anniversary year, noting that Kurt Cobain wasn’t the only one that made the record such a game-changer.

According to Vig he went to work with Nirvana before Nevermind on a record that was supposed to come out on Sub Pop. It was before drummer and Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl joined the band and it was never finished because Cobain lost his voice, he revealed speaking with Ultimate-Guitar.

“I mixed the songs they had finished and the band pressed up 100 cassette copies and gave them out to their friends. They ostensibly bootlegged themselves and then all of a sudden all the major labels started calling and they jumped ship and went to Geffen,” he said.

“They had a lot of big name producers they talked to and didn’t like any of ’em. They called me at the 11th hour to go out to LA, so I didn’t really have any preproduction time.”

He joined the band for the making of Nevermind which was recorded in only 16 days. Despite the quick recording he noted the band had, “practiced every day for six months”.

“We pretty much got every take on that record in one or two or maybe three takes,” Vig added.

Here’s the most interesting part though. Nirvana’s sound is so often attributed to the late Cobain but according to Vig, drummer Dave Grohl actually had the largest part in the record’s sound.

Speaking of a day of pre-production for the record in West Hollywood, Vig said he was “pacing around the room and going, ‘Oh, my god. This sounds fuckin’ amazing.’”

“Dave is an incredible musician. He really is. People always say, ‘How’d you get that sound on Nevermind?’ and 90 percent of it is Dave Grohl… it’s just how Dave plays and he’s just so, so powerful.”

Grohl obviously has gone on to front one of the most successful rock bands in the world so there’s no question that Grohl’s overall influence on music has been large but it’s interesting to get a glimpse into his contribution to Nirvana.

Watch: Nirvana – Lithium


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