Skip to content

Dave Grohl Recalls Nirvana’s Low Expectations for Nevermind

(Credit: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images)

As Nevermind approaches its 30th anniversary, Dave Grohl looks back to when the now-iconic LP came out, admitting that Nirvana had fairly low expectations for the album’s success. They certainly didn’t expect it to become one of the most seminal albums in rock and roll history.

In an interview with Uncut, friends, family, and fellow musicians told Nirvana’s members that Nevermind was going to be “fucking huge,” Grohl tells Uncut. “Donita [Sparks] from L7 came by and said we were going to be fucking huge. My old friend Barrett Jones, who I had grown up with in Virginia, who was a musician and a producer himself, heard ‘Lithium’ and said we were going to be fucking huge. He thought ‘Lithium’ should be the first single.”

Attempting a balance of appreciation and denial, Grohl thought, “‘Well, it’s nice of you to say so, but there is no fucking way that is ever going to happen.'”

In 1991, Nevermind took the music industry and listeners by surprise. “It was Wilson Phillips, it was Mariah Carey and fucking Bon Jovi. It was not bands like us,” said Grohl, explaining why he thought Nirvana didn’t have much of a shot at stardom.

It would be unbiased to agree that Nevermind deserves every ounce of praise it receives. Grohl, Kurt Cobain, and Kirst Novoselic were dynamic, exhibiting the type of chemistry one hopes to see in every rock band. “The band was tight and Kurt’s songs were fucking great,” Grohl recalls.

“We would do one or two takes and maybe do an overdub here and there, Kurt would go in and do the vocal and it was crystal clear and so fucking powerful, melodic and beautiful that you’re proud of [it] – and we were definitely proud of it.”

The new issue of Uncut is out on June 17 and can be pre-ordered here.