Hear Nirvana Trace ‘Nevermind’ Success in Unearthed ’90s Interviews
Old audio clips catch band before and after they conquered the world
Another day, another rare Nirvana treasure unearthed. The beloved band’s latter days were just reexamined via the “Super Deluxe” In Utero reissue, but British journalist James Sherry has dug deeper into the trio’s past. Sherry recently shared three separate interviews he did with Nirvana: one in 1990, a second in 1991, and a third in 1992. The clips were previously released on CD in 2004, but haven’t been available online unti now.
In a lengthy accompanying post, Sherry details his firsthand experiences with Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl. “I walked up the road to meet them and vividly remember Krist Novoselic’s lanky frame lumbering down the road towards me with Kurt and Dave shuffling behind him,” he writes, recalling his first sit-down with the band, back in the post-Bleach era of November 1990, right after Grohl joined the outfit. “Once we got back to the office and I had made the band a round of tea, we settled down to talk — well at least Krist and Dave did. Kurt, however, sat on the end of the sofa rolling an unlit cigarette I had given him between his fingers as he stared straight ahead. He had heavy eyeliner caked around his eyes and hunched himself on the end of the sofa, mumbling occasionally.”
Cobain was much friendlier the next time Nirvana met with Sherry, in the summer of 1991, right before the release of Nevermind. “Kurt was a different person to the one I first met in our previous interview,” Sherry reflects. “He was chatty, enthusiastic and excited to ‘maybe sell as many records as Sonic Youth’ with no clue as to the success that was about to engulf them on the record’s release.”
The third bit of audio captures a phone interview Sherry did with Novoselic in 1992, following the massive success of their second LP and a “Best New Band” distinction from Metal Hammer magazine, the publication Sherry worked for at the time. Understandably, the sound quality isn’t the cleanest, but, taken together, the whole hour-long trilogy helps humanize Nirvana, tracking their surreal trajectory from a sludgy Sub Pop band to SPIN cover stars that were anointed as rock’n’roll saviors.
Listen to the interviews below, and then revisit the tail-end of Nirvana’s tenure with SPIN’s 1993 In Utero cover story.