Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Hole and R.E.M. respond to recordings lost in 2008 Universal Studios fire

The masters of ‘Nevermind’, Novoselic, says, might be “gone forever”

Yesterday, The New York Times unveiled an investigation into the 2008 fire at Universal Studios Hollywood that destroyed thousands of musical recordings, many of them master tapes and unheard session material.

Now, affected artists including Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Hole and R.E.M. have responded to the revelations that their recordings — under the auspices of Universal Music Group—went up in the fire.

When asked on Twitter if Nirvana’s masters of ‘Nevermind’ were destroyed, Novoselic replied: “I think they are gone forever.”

On Tuesday (June 11), R.E.M. put out a statement on social media. “We are trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any,” it read. “We will detail further as and when.”

Though prog rock group Asia were not named in the NYT article, keyboard player Geoffrey Downes took to Twitter to note that the fire might be the reason why “nobody can find the original Asia album masters.”

Hundreds of artists lost their recordings in the blaze, and the story notes it is likely that many of them were, until the article’s publication, kept in the dark. One of those artists is Hole. A representative for the band told Pitchfork that the band was “not aware until this morning [June 11]” that their master recordings had been destroyed.

The NYT article quotes a Universal Music Group spokesperson who said the company “doesn’t publicly discuss our private conversations with artists and estates.”

Yesterday, UMG issued a statement to Variety claiming that the NYT piece contains “numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets.”

“While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident – while deeply unfortunate – never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation,” it read.