As the story goes, no one guessed that Nirvana’s Nevermind would become one of the defining rock records of the ’90s, let alone top the charts at number one.
Actually, scratch all that. Considering that Nevermind sold more than 30 million copies, it’s one of the top-selling albums of all time(that’s double-platinum 12 times over, aka a “diamond” selling record), which puts Nirvana up there in some pretty stratospheric company: Michael Jackson (Thriller), Pink Floyd (The Dark Side of the Moon), The Beatles (1). That’s not only a good indication that Courtney Love’s drug dealer is rich as shit, but it means that Nevermind has transcended the album and become something much more complicated– shared experience, a universal language, even a kind of philosophy on life (albeit a pretty angsty-teenager one that doesn’t look so great post-college).
But holy crap that’s a lot of heavy baggage to carry around. When was the last time you could listen to Nevermind or anything Nirvana recorded at all without feeling kind of weird about it?
In case you were living under a rock or underneath the bridge, Nirvana’s seminal album Nevermind turned 25 on Saturday, an event that was marked by everything from a cover night at Sunnyvale to a recreation of the album cover featuring its now 25-year-old baby. There’s not much left to say about the album that led pretty much every suburban kid to buy a guitar and smash his entire Columbia House cassette collection with it, but there’s plenty left to be said about Smart Studios, the Madison, Wisconsin facilities where an early version of the record was recorded. Luckily, a new documentary is coming along to fix that. The Smart Studios Story, directed by Wendy Schneider,will screen at St. Vitus on Nov. 13.
Back in May, when Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck was screening at IFC Center before its HBO release, director Brett Morgen revealed to Bedford + Bowery that an album of previously unreleased Cobain material was on the way. Now he tells Billboard a little more about it, saying that the as-yet untitled release, out in early November, will consist of everything “from thrash to ragtime and everything in between,” including audio montages and “a sketch comedy routine featuring Kurt voicing all of the characters.”
While you wait on tenterhooks for that, Morgen has a few more gifts for you. For one thing, he’ll be doing a q&a tomorrow, August 7, after a screening of Montage at IFC Center (that’s right: the film is back in theaters, and will be at IFC through August 13). Snag a ticket (still available) and ask him about the above outtake from the film, which he shared with Opie with Jim Norton today. In it, Cobain, in bed with a puke bucket, talks about his chronic stomach pain and jokes about heroin — “needles, needles, keep ’em coming!”
As if all of that isn’t enough for Cobain die-hards, a slew of recordings claiming to be Nirvana rarities surfaced online this week, including the demo that Cobain’s pre-Nirvana band Fecal Matter made in 1986 and alternate takes and demos from Nevermind and In Utero. Head over to Reddit to have a listen.