Down to Four
A little recording update for you: we have two or three new songs that are in the works, two of which are really very close to being ready to be released. I will continue, as ever, to ask for your patience, but I hope that you end up loving them as much as we do.
#4 – Nevermind (Nirvana, 1991)
Once upon a time – the 1980s, to be specific – recorded music was highly polished, overproduced, and showed all of the marks of a tremendous amount of studio magic. And then something happened in the early 90s. Whether it was a resurgence of punk sensibility or just a simple awareness of the fact that music is supposed to sound like it’s being made by humans, energy came back and we blew out a lot of speaker cones.
Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins hit the airwaves at about the same time — one pure and punk, the other almost psychedelic. Kurt Cobain’s music was this weird mix between punk and the Beatles – very hard, very dark, but melodic and morbidly wry. It was shifting tones that played on the dynamic formula that Zeppelin had come up with a quarter century before, and it was straight-ahead riffs and rhythms that Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic pounded into the listeners heads.
Through the 80’s, I’d been suffering through listening to crap, thinking that rock was dead. The new music put out by both Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins spoke to me in 1992 and woke me up – songs like Smashing Pumpkins’ “I Am One” and then Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the earlier “Love Buzz”.
Both Nevermind and Smashing Pumpkins’ first two albums were produced by the incredible Butch Vig – no coincidence give the incredible sound on these records! (Also, Nevermind and Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes were both recorded at the legendary Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA. More on that later.) Nevermind cost only $65,000 to record over a 3 week period of time; the freshness and urgency show.
Whenever I get depressed, thinking about the overproduced, computer generated crap on the radio today, I remind myself it was in a very similar phase when I first heard Nevermind. And I have hope.