Filed Under:

'Nevermind' At 20: Producer Butch Vig On Nirvana

Play associated audio

Twenty years ago, it was hard to imagine a grunge album unseating Michael Jackson for the No. 1 position at the top of the Billboard charts, but that's what happened when Nirvana's Nevermind came out in September 1991. Since then, it has sold more than 30 million copies — which is certainly not what the album's co-producer, Butch Vig, was expecting.

But Vig says he remembers that when he first met Nirvana, they were a band eager to work.

"They were psyched," Vig says. "As I started talking to them, they told me they were ready. They had been rehearsing every day for three months. There was definitely not a slacker ethic in that band. I mean, they wanted to make a great record. And Kurt [Cobain] was very ambitious, you know. When they walked into the studio, they were ready to go."

In the Morning Edition interview above with NPR's David Greene, Vig remembers his reaction to hearing the original boombox demos (now available on a reissued Nevermind box set), as well as Cobain's struggle with success. Vig also describes the immediate and lasting effect of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

"To me, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' reminds me a little bit of how Bob Dylan's songs affected people in the '60s," Vig says.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Aug. 3, 2015

You can hear female vocalists perform blues and bluegrass at two concerts this week.

WAMU 88.5

Farms, Coasts And Air Conditioning: What Climate Change Means For Virginia

Climate change presents obstacles for just about everywhere in the United States — but rising temperatures are expected to be felt keenly in a number of Virginia's important economic areas.

NPR

Obama To Detail Tougher Plan To Fight Climate Change

President Obama will unveil climate change regulations Monday, expected to set tougher limits on coal than previously proposed. NPR's Scott Horsley previews the announcement with host Rachel Martin.
NPR

An App Tells Painful Stories Of Slaves At Monticello's Mulberry Row

A new app uses geolocation to bring to life a lesser-known section of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia estate — Mulberry Row, which was the bustling enclave of skilled slaves who worked at Monticello.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.