Is there anything still left to know about Nevermind?
That record changed my life. It’s pretty easy to sum that up in one sentence. I had no commercial expectations other than I knew the record was great and it was catchy. I called their manager a week before it hit No. 1 and said, “Any chance this is gonna hit No. 1?” And he said, “Not a chance—Michael Jackson is on the charts.”
Kurt famously dissed the production later as being “like a fucking Mötley Crüe record,” but was he just saying that or did he express admiration at the time?
Well, you hit the nail on the head. He had to disown it because of his punk rock roots, tried to keep some of that authenticity. When he finished that record, he loved it. They loved it, they wanted to be ambitious. Like I said, they rehearsed for months. They wanted to make a tight, great-sounding, really well-focused album. He would make these lists of things he would do when he was a millionaire and famous. So it was that conundrum of wanting it and not wanting it at the same time. What are you gonna say, “I’m so glad we sold 10 million copies?” He had to disown it; it was really all he could do. But I know at the time we made it that he loved it. And he would call me up at the time to bug me “You gotta work with Courtney, she needs you! You could make her into the star she needs to be!” I’d get these calls in the middle of the night where he’d put me on the phone with Courtney and she’d chat with me for awhile.
Dan Weiss chats with Butch Vig about Garbage (playing tonight!) and working on albums by alt-rock titans like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Green Day.
This interview is crucial #rememberthe90s reading.