Things can be a bit cyclical over time. There’s no doubt that Nirvana’s Nevermind was a huge success upon its arrival and the rollout of its singles over the next year, but that led the band to try to distance themselves from that success when it became overwhelming. While speaking with Apple Music host Strombo, Nevermind producer Butch Vig says he understands why the group did so, and reveals that they’ve come back around to embracing it again.
Vig recalls (as heard in the player below), “At the time when they started to diss Nevermind, I understood that because you can’t really be a punk rocker and then sell 20 million records, so you have to sort of disown and walk away from it.”
He added, “I think that’s one of the reasons they wanted to work with Steve Albini and make a raw and simpler sounding record when they did In Utero. But when we finished Nevermind, before it came out, they loved it. I mean, Kurt called me several times saying, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe how great this record sounds.’ And then you have to disown it because that’s success. So I get that.”
But, as Vig reveals, time has offered a different perspective for the band’s living members. “About 20 years later hooking up with Dave [Grohl] and Krist Novoselic, they were like, ‘Man, Nevermind sounds so good, man. You nailed it on the head.’”
Vig adds of his initial impressions upon meeting the band, “When [Kurt] was on he was really focused. He was funny, witty and and ready to go … Krist has always been really amiable and kind of low key, easy going and what Dave also brought besides incredible drumming was he was goofy. And he brought a lot of little levity to the band. And quite frankly, they were having the time of their lives.“
Hear more of the chat with Butch Vig in the player below.