Making Nirvana's "Nevermind"


In this Classic Albums documentary, we learn how Nirvana's Nevermind was made. It does get into the (now well-trodden) Nirvana backstory, which is fine, but the best gems here are interviews with producer Butch Vig. When we see Vig, he's either telling stories about the making of the album (which are interesting) or sitting behind the console, mixing tracks live (which is downright awesome). I thoroughly agree with the opinion of the View Source blog on this (emphasis added):

... The genius of the album is obvious, but the documentary illustrates the frailty of creativity: Move the knobs just a little and it’s a different song. I suggest scrubbing the timeline for Vig’s face. He eventually discusses the recording and mixing of many of the album’s tracks.

The first Vig appearance is at 1:25 (the portion about "Smells Like Teen Spirit" continues around 34:45), there's another around 7:00, and you can scrub around your own. My favorite part starts around 11:50, and gets into the mixing of "In Bloom." Listen for the isolated bass-and-drums part -- amazing. (As is the brief mention of doubling Dave Grohl's backing vocals. I never heard that before.)

Part 2 starts with a mixer session about "Drain You." Five guitars, dudes. Vig: "It just didn't sound big enough for me, so we just kept adding guitars. ... I don't know how I got Kurt to do all those guitars. ... I think was lying to Kurt." That's how you produce a hit record, folks.

Aside from Vig, I really enjoy hearing Dave Grohl talk about history. There's a particularly notable (f-bomb-laden) story around 9:30 in Part 2 regarding an unreliable Datsun. Been there.

Relevant: the two-disc remastered edition of Nevermind, which is controversial for being EVEN LOUDER (read: more compressed).

(Via the exciting new View Source.)