1991 - Nevermind.
1993 - In Utero.
way more Helter Skelter.
September 24, 1991 - 2021: 30 years of: Nevermind.
Trendsetting, historic and generation-steering ...yet fully unexpected.
Never on the rocknroll-radar, Seattle is just another normal city on the US West-Coast. So far away from the Los Angeles limelights and Beverly Hills stardom, this then peace would rapidly turn the NoCal nobodies into the global epicenter of early-90s alternative-rock: the Grunge movement.
After the cool local impact of their 1989 Bleach debut-LP released on indie-label Sub Pop Records, the foursome, became a threesome and also welcomed aboard new drummer Dave Grohl. Signing with major-label Geffen Records, they hoped for better distribution and more exposure ...little did we all knew, within weeks the entire music-landscape would be turned inside-out ...from BON JOVI to MC Hammer to MEGADETH to Paula Abdul ...they all felt the grunge tidal-wave.
The intro-riff, the destruction, the chorused notes, the anthem:
"With the lights out it's less dangerous, here we are now, entertain us, I feel stupid and contagious, here we are now, entertain us ". The single-song that started it all and in a single 5:02sec, a new genre and a new sound was born. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the battle-cry of a generation, raw and loud, for a raw and loud crowd. The "God Save The Queen" of this new era.
Louder, this band is fully "In Bloom", exploding on all cylinders, moshing to a tee with "Stay Away" and exposing true punk-flair with the abrasive "Breed" and the decibel-decadent "Territorial Pissings". From lumberjack to actual heavy-rock, the warm melodies of "Drain You" and the dark moody "Lithium" are clear signs of musical growth.
More melancholy is set to high with the beautiful "Come As You Are", a now iconic mid-paced track that does not fit in the powerballad-format, yet exhibits all the pieces of the aforementioned. Total darkness is reached on the acoustic "Polly" and depressive-mood of the cello-supported "Something In The Way". A full rollercoaster of emotions.
Nevermind is more than a rock-record, it's a changing of the guards.
NIRVANA are more than a rock-band, they are poster-boys for a new generation.
Just like rocknroll was derailed by disco, punk and then newwave, the later was pushed out by hardrock and heavymetal and after a decade-long reign ...it was now time. Anti-leather, anti-spandex, anti-hairspray, anti-lead solos, anti-concept album, anti-Satan, anti-violence, anti-spotlight, anti-big stages, anti-limos, anti-babes, anti-mansions, anti-rockstars ...all soaked in total punk-attitude. Yet the anti-rockstars were now ...rockstars, dealing with massive media attention and worshipping at the altar. Very mindfucking for a tiny rock-trio that just wanted to keep being a tiny rock-trio. As displayed in this simple lyric-line: "Our little group has always been and always will until the end"
Instant icons for Generation X, NIRVANA in a simple three-chord-garage-band encapsulated all the boredom and disgust of 80s superflux and overhyped lifestyle and mindset. The medias rapidly hijacked the band and made them, along other freshly new Seattle powerhouses PEARL JAM, ALICE IN CHAINS and SOUNDGARDEN, scapegoats for the extinction of hardrock, heavymetal and other numerous generic 80s FM and MTV pop-acts. Deep down the boys didn't really care, but this industry is bigger then it's combined players, as they will either make you ...or break you.
Throughout the history of music, many cities have been blessed with a sound and a signature that matches it's bands and specific esthetics: Liverpool, Birmingham, London, New-York, Tampa, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles ...and now Seattle was part of the club-house.
Released to no expectation, in a sea of GUNS N' ROSES, METALLICA, OZZY OSBOURNE, SKID ROW and VAN HALEN, the people at Geffen Records were hoping for a respectable 500000x units to-be shifted. Currently RIAA-certified 10x Platinum, the Butch Vig produced Nevermind CD stands in the very, very, very, very selective club of the Diamond-Award: the 10 million+ US threshold ...a titanic grand total of more than 30 million+ units sold wordwide to date.
On tour they destroyed everything, including themselves, literally Kamikaze-style, again with total punk-attitude. Everybody wanted to be part of it, this new breed of aggressive rock and everybody changed and adapted, from fans to fashion to bands to labels to the entire modus-operandi of the music-business, everybody. Grunge plowed away almost instantly all of the 80s-heroes aside to the curb.
Their third and last record, the anti-commercial über-abrasive masterpiece In Utero CD, shall arrive upon 1993, with a very different mindset, in a different culture but with sky-high industry expectations.
"Hi Axl, hi Axl, where's Axl ? ...hi Axl ! hi Axl ! HI AXL !!!"
Smells Like Teen Spirit = video
In Bloom = video
Come As You Are = video
Lithium = video
Nevermind = full CD
Interview MusiquePlus in 1991
Live in-store in 1991
Live at Foufounes Electriques in 1991
Somewhat live at Top Of The Pops
Live destroying a UK TV-show in 1991
Live destroying the MTV Awards in 1992
September 21, 1993 - 2023: 30 years of: In Utero.
1993: the epitome of a style, a scene, a movement, a generation !
More than just garage-bands, the sounds of Seattle changed the face of rocknroll. NIRVANA's 1991 Nevermind CD remains untouched with it's 10mil+ US sold ...but the real gestation came in utero. It would've been far too easy to make another Nevermind: simple dirty songs, generic verse-chorus-verse pattern, all polished for MTV's youth ...it would've gone multi-Platinum in no time ...but the trio had other very defined ideas.
"Teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old." - Kurt
Real and raw, we now "Serve The Servants" ...a heavy cut that cuts deep, personally. Pushing the VU-meter into the red, the destructive "Scentless Apprentice" crushes the competition ...and eardrums a mile around. Local actress / icon gets a salute as "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle", while the controversial / semi-banned "Rape Me" is another self-examining piece reflecting the media's relation on Cobain's marriage.
Still trashing with corrosive-rock, both "Very Ape" and "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" dwells in the band's dark bleached past and the hyperactive burst of "Tourette's" might be the most hateful 1:35sec outta the NoCal region. The anti-single single for "Heart-Shaped Box" is a morbid trek into dropped-D melodies, featuring the twisted black pop-art Anton Corbijn directed MTV-video with a dire Santa / Jesus analogy. The CD-closer, the acoustic-guitar cello-supported turning into apocalypse "All Apologies" is another musical facet from this multi-faceted band.
Mannequins and dead fetuses.
The mad boys went off and released one of the most un-commercial CD ever on a major-label, with dirty under-produced tracks, acid-toned guitars, signal-noise, guitar feedbacks, harsh abrasive vocals ...all coated with punk attitude and DIY-vibe. The chaos within reeks of angst and deep introversive lyrics and overdriven guitars from Kurt Cobain, loud rhythmic bass from Krist Novoselic and ear-splitting drum acrobatics from Dave Grohl. This rough-mix paints In Utero as a tormented voyage inside the hearts and minds of three enraged isolated young adults.
Deemed unreleasable by their very record-label, In Utero is a major "Fuck you we're gonna do this our way" to the very same industry that pushed them above and beyond. Steve Albini produced, initial feedbacks from key-industry people including heads at Geffen Records, warranted an REM's Scott Litt partial remix. In so many ways, this release is a commercial-suicide, as none of the tracks have radio-appeal ...yet an RIAA-certified 5x Platinum plateau was reached, since 5mil+ copies did find a US home.
The last NIRVANA
...as Kurt Cobain would prematurely leave this Earth in April 1994. Worldwide shock and sadness, this event also closed the lid on Seattle's rock-domination. The end of an era and as rocknroll would prove time and time again, other rebel-bands would soon create a new love buzz, namely: GREEN DAY, KORN ...and a troubled young man name Marilyn.
Ain't no mere radio-friendly unit-shifter: In Utero is the conclusive voice of Generation X !
RIP Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)
Heart-Shaped Box = video
In Utero = full CD
Real people at the release date.
MTV interview in 1993
Live & Loud in 1993
The Beavis And Butt-Head Experience
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