TWENTY YEARS AGO Nirvana were holed up in New York City conducting interviews to promote their forthcoming new album, In Utero. The follow-up to 1991’s multi-million selling Nevermind, the album’s genesis was troubled, frontman Kurt Cobain struggling to cope with the pressures exerted by fame as well as the celebrity status accorded to him and his wife Courtney Love.
In a climate of intense paranoia and Cobain’s increased drug use, Nirvana recorded In Utero with producer Steve Albini and delivered an album that refuted the band’s newfound pop star status while reaffirming their punk roots.
Two decades on – as a new reissue of the album is readied for September release to coincide with the LP’s anniversary – surviving Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl has spoken to MOJO about the album’s emotional impact.
“All Apologies came over the PA. The audience started singing along, and I started crying”
“In Utero was the first time I’d made an album that reached into the dark side. I remember the conflict, and the uncertainty. I remember all those things when I hear Pennyroyal Tea,” he tells MOJO’s Keith Cameron in an exclusive interview that appears in the new issue of the magazine.
Grohl, now a hugely successful artist in his own right as leader of the Foo Fighters, also recalls the impact of Kurt Cobain’s death on April 5, 1994.
“After Kurt died, that summer, I went to see Lollapalooza in Detroit. Nobody ever recognised me back then, and I was sitting in this massive amphitheatre waiting for the next band to go on, in the middle of 30,000 people, and All Apologies came over the PA,” he remembers. “The entire audience started singing along, and I started crying because it wasn’t that long ago that we had lost Kurt and that album had such an emotional impact on me.”
The drummer also admits that these days he views the album with genuine regret.
“It’s still hard to listen to it. I can appreciate Steve Albini’s recording and the musicianship, but overall it kinda breaks my heart that was the last album we made, because I think there were more in us.”
Read the full interview with Dave Grohl in the new issue of MOJO on sale on Tuesday July 30.