Hole, Questlove, and Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic Respond to Destruction of Recordings in Universal Studios Fire
Artists whose master recordings were destroyed in a 2008 warehouse fire at Universal Studios, as reported today in an explosive New York Times Magazine story that shows Universal Music covered up the extent of the fire’s damage, have started to comment on the news. Representatives for Hole told Pitchfork that the band was “not aware until this morning” that their recordings were destroyed, and The Roots drummer Questlove tweeted that the fire is responsible for the band not reissuing their second and third studio albums Do You Want More?!!!??! and Illadelph Halflife.
“For everyone asking why Do You Want More & Illdelph Halflife wont get reissue treatment,” Questlove wrote in a tweet linking to the Times’ report. “I been dying to find all the old reels and mix the 8 or 9 songs that never made DYWM. My plan for both DYWM & IH was to release all the songs and instrumental/acapella mixes on 45. They sent someone to check out the vault log and then it hit them.”
An internal UMG document issued in 2009 reportedly stated that an estimated 500,000 songs were lost in the fire. Artists whose single and album masters were destroyed include many of the biggest names in 20th- and 21st-century pop music, including Elton John, Nirvana, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles, Janet Jackson, Neil Diamond, Al Green, Tupac Shakur, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, Eminem, the Eagles, Aerosmith, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Police, Guns N Roses, Soundgarden, and many more. You can read the full story here.
UPDATE: Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has also weighed in on the fire, telling a fan on Twitter that he believes the masters for Nevermind are “gone forever.” Irving Azoff, the manager of Steely Dan, also issued the following statement: “We have been aware of ‘missing’ original Steely Dan tapes for a long time now. We’ve never been given a plausible explanation. Maybe they burned up in the big fire. In any case, it’s certainly a lost treasure.”