The Foo Fighters frontman spoke of his previous band’s third and final studio effort (released in 1993) for an updated version of his 2011 biography, This Is A Call: The Life And Times Of Dave Grohl.
A 10th anniversary edition of the book, which was written by Paul Brannigan, is due to arrive next month.
During a new extract first shared by Louder, Grohl explained: “[‘In Utero’] captured a moment in time for the band, and it’s definitely an accurate representation of the time, which was dark.
“It’s a fucking dark album. I don’t like listening to that record. It’s a weird one for me.”
Grohl continued: “I hear the songs on the radio every once in a while, and I like the sonic difference of hearing ‘All Apologies’ or ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ come on in the middle of a bunch of compressed, Pro Tool-ed modern rock radio music because it stands out.
“But lyrically and conceptually, it’s not something that I like to revisit too often. What I love the most about [it] is the sound of urgency, and the sound of the three of us in a room.”
Grohl went on to explain that ‘In Utero’ and its hugely successful predecessor, ‘Nevermind’ (1991), “are two totally different albums”.
“‘Nevermind’ was intentional, as much as any revisionists might say it was a contrived version of Nirvana, it wasn’t — we went down there to make that record, we rehearsed hours and hours and hours, day after day, to get to ‘Nevermind’,” he said.
“But ‘In Utero’ was so different. There was no labored process … [it] just came out, like a purge, and it was so pure.”
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According to Grohl, Nirvana’s final album was a response “to the success and sound of ‘Nevermind’.” He added: “We just pushed ourselves in the other direction, like, ‘Oh really, that’s what you like? Well, here’s what we’re going to fucking do now!’
“But it is a hard album for me to listen to from front to back. … It’s so real, and because it’s such an accurate representation of the band at the time, it brings back other memories; it kinda makes my skin crawl.”
NME’s original review of ‘In Utero‘, published in September 1993, concluded: “As a follow-up to one of the best records of the past 10 years it just isn’t quite there. Perhaps it was dumb to expect anything more.”
Meanwhile, the surviving members of Nirvana and the estate of Kurt Cobain have been sued by Spencer Elden, who as a baby appeared on the cover of ‘Nevermind’. He alleges “commercial child sexual exploitation of him from while he was a minor to the present day”.