Dave Grohl on Nirvana’s low expectations for ‘Nevermind’: “It seemed totally implausible that we would ever get close to that kind of success”

The classic album will celebrate its 30th anniversary in September

Dave Grohl has recalled how he and his Nirvana bandmates didn’t expect their album ‘Nevermind’ to become a roaring success following its release in September 1991.

Grohl was speaking in a new interview with Uncut as part of their look back at ‘Nevermind’, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in September.

Recalling how Nirvana underestimated the subsequently huge impact of ‘Nevermind’ ahead of its release, Grohl said he remembered getting feedback from friends who heard the album and would say: “Oh my God. You guys are going to be fucking huge!”

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“We would go, ‘What? What are you talking about?'” the drummer continued. “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.

“Everyone had these lofty opinions and I thought, ‘Well, it’s nice of you to say so, but there is no fucking way that is ever going to happen.’”

Nirvana
Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Kirst Novoselic of Nirvana in 1992 (Picture: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Grohl continued by saying that “you also have to remember what was popular [in music] at the time. It was Wilson Phillips, it was Mariah Carey and fucking Bon Jovi. It was not bands like us”.

“So it seemed totally implausible that we would ever even get close to that kind of success,” he added.

“But, you know, it all sounded great: the drum sound at [recording studio] Sound City, Butch Vig’s production. The band was tight and Kurt’s songs were fucking great. 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.”

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

Last week Grohl revealed that the surviving members of Nirvana still regularly meet up and jam together – which has led to some “really cool” recording sessions.

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