Archive for Thursday, March 24, 2005

DVD explores making of Nirvana album

March 24, 2005


There are lots of things synonymous with Seattle. Coffee. The Space Needle. The Fremont Troll. But those are mere travel magazine tips. For a generation, Seattle means Nirvana.

"Nirvana: Nevermind -- Classic Album DVD" (Eagle Rock Entertainment) explores the band, the Seattle music scene that would be dubbed "grunge" and the making of the band's classic album "Nevermind." Lead singer Kurt Cobain took his own life, leaving us with drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic and an assortment of others to talk candidly about the band and how it gained traction.

There are effective sit-down interviews with biographer Charles R. Cross and Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke describing Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, about a 110 miles from Seattle. It was an important influence on Cobain, Fricke explains, not because it had a burgeoning rock scene but precisely because it had none. Youth there were indeed disaffected and looking for a way out. Cobain's way out was through music and Seattle.

This is by no means a performance documentary, although there are clips and snippets from some early shows. The band's music is mixed nicely in the background during the interviews, and there are great black and white photos of a young Cobain tossing his hair about on stage as an adoring audience gets to know the band up close at some small shows.

Those who followed the band talk about how Nirvana borrowed drummers from The Melvins and Mudhoney before settling on Grohl, who was in San Francisco with a punk band called Scream when Seattle came knocking.

It didn't take long for things to gel, Novoselic says, and by the time DGC Records had wooed the band away from Sub Pop to record "Nevermind" on a $60,000 budget in Van Nuys, Nirvana was "a tight machine" chomping at the bit to get the job done.

The interviews are candid, introspective and not the least bit boisterous of the lofty status that has been heaped on Nirvana's legacy.

There's decent bonus footage with interviews about hiring Grohl and even a short bit with Spencer Elden, perhaps the most famous naked baby on the planet when he posed for the cover shot. He's all hip with his baseball cap cocked sideways now as he reflects on the famous photo.

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