In just a few months Nirvana's seminal album Nevermind turns 30, and as the anniversary approaches Dave Grohl looked back on its release and how its success not only took the music industry by surprise, but the band, too.
During a recent interview with Uncut (via NME) the drummer recalled friends freaking out about the album before its release and telling he and his bandmates, “Oh my God. You guys are going to be f***ing huge!”
“We would go, ‘What? What are you talking about?'” he continued. “Donita [Sparks] from L7 came by and said we were going to be f***ing 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 f***ing huge. He thought ‘Lithium’ should be the first single."
While those people predicted the album's success, the band did not. “Everyone had these lofty opinions and I thought, ‘Well, it’s nice of you to say so, but there is no f***ng way that is ever going to happen,’” Grohl admitted.
Though it sounds like the trio was being hard on itself, Grohl also noted what acts were popular in 1991, when Nevermind dropped. “It was Wilson Phillips, it was Mariah Carey and f***ing Bon Jovi. It was not bands like us," he explained. “So it seemed totally implausible that we would ever even get close to that kind of success.”
“But, you know, it all sounded great: the drum sound at Sound City, Butch Vig’s production. The band was tight and Kurt’s songs were f**ing great," Grohl added. "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 f***ing powerful, melodic and beautiful that you’re proud of [it] – and we were definitely proud of it.”
Nevermind turns 30 on September 24, 2021.