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Nirvana Nevermind DVDNirvana | Nevermind: Classic Album DVD
a radio bobo-k review

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On the 'Nevermind' DVD, journalist Craig Montgomery says the album took "the piss out of rock 'n roll and rocked way harder than anyone else," and boy was he right.

The 1991 release of Nirvana's Nevermind single-handedly changed the face of music, killing the market for most rock bands of the late 80s and creating a new genre of music: grunge. Now, almost 15 years later comes the DVD release 'Nevermind: Classic Album' - could it really be that long ago?

Musically the CD stands the test of time - as resonant now as it was in the early 90s. The DVD is often brilliant, featuring interviews with a number of the behind-the-scenes players who helped create the first seminal album of the 1990s. The two surviving members of Nirvana (Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, now of the Foo Fighters) are prominently featured. Also in the spotlight is Nevermind producer Butch Vig, who gives an incredible amount of insight into not only Cobain's thought process but the recording process and the role of the producer. This DVD could almost be a required viewing for anyone who wants to be a record producer, as Vig takes you through step-by-step and track-by-track into the mindset of the often unheralded contributions a record producer makes in the recording process.

Interviews with Sub Pop staff members (co-Founder Jonathan Poneman, publicist Nils Bernstein, and photographer Charles Peterson) who put out Nirvana's lesser known debut Bleach, staffers from Nevermind record label DGC (A&R executive Gary Gersh, publicist Susie Tennant, radio promotions person John Rosenfelder), Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, along with a number of journalists, create a full picture of what goes to making a hit record.

Nirvana's blend of punk/hardcore attitudes with Beatles-inspired harmonies made the band's sound unique. But what made Nevermind the classic album it became was Cobain's lyrics--his ability to capture the disconnect felt by an entire generation. Complete with high energy live shows that often ended with Novoselic and Cobain destroying their instruments on stage, not in the same theatrical way of bands before them, but with no regard for their own physical well being, Nirvana bulldozed their way over the music scene, paving the way for other Seattle bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots.

The understatement of the DVD comes from Dave Grohl who says, "We [the band] knew there was no way we could be the biggest band in the world. We just wanted to play." Grohl who joined the band after Bleach was released was the missing ingredient that made the band gel, but it was Vig's production that helped create the sound. The CD, which DGC initially thought would sell 50,000 copies, and potentially as many as 500,000, knocked Michael Jackson out of the Billboard #1 slot in January 1992 and created a new youth movement.

Watching the DVD was an eye-opening experience on many levels, but it is not without its faults. It barely addresses the darker side of Cobain, the drug use, antics, and eventual suicide. What it does do is give an incredible look behind the scenes of the creative process of one of the most important recordings of the 1990s.

Featured as "bonus tracks" are segments about the making of the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, Dave Grohl joining the band, the recording of "Drain You", recording the album in L.A., a live version of "Polly" (based on a true story of a woman who escapes her rapist by treating him kindly, thereby catching him off-guard, told from the perspective of the attacker), and a feature about the album artwork, including an interview with the now teenaged boy featured on the album cover.

Highly recommended for fans of the band, and especially for people who want to become record producers or to get a glimpse of the recording process.

The Emilyism©






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