LiveNIRVANA.com > Sessions History > Studio Sessions > 25–26 October, 1992 - Word Of Mouth Productions, Seattle, WA, US

LIVE NIRVANA SESSIONS HISTORY:
25–26 October, 1992 - Word Of Mouth Productions, Seattle, WA, US View in Google Maps

Artist

  • NIRVANA
    • Cobain, Kurt (vocals, guitar)
    • Grohl, Dave (drums)
    • Novoselic, Krist (bass)

Crew

  • Ek, Phil (assistant)
  • Endino, Jack (producer, engineer)

Set

  • [X] Dumb (instrumental)
  • [X] Dumb (instrumental)
  • [O] Dumb (instrumental)
  • [O] Jam
  • [X] Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (instrumental)
  • [X] Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (instrumental)
  • [O] tourette's (instrumental)
  • [X] Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (instrumental)
  • [X] Pennyroyal Tea (instrumental)
  • [O] Pennyroyal Tea (instrumental)
  • [X] Rape Me (instrumental)
  • [O] Rape Me
  • [O] Radio Friendly Unit Shifter (instrumental)

Format

  • Audio: ½-inch 8-track analog magnetic tape (session tape)

Best available sources

Source Quality Complete Runtime Lowest Gen Tracks Featured Notes
SBD #1a 10.0 No 0:03:01 Official CD (With The Lights Out) • Rape Me (take 2) Mixed by Jack Endino, 2004.
SBD #1b 10.0 No 0:05:31 Official DVD (With The Lights Out) • Jam Mixed by Jack Endino, 2004. This Jam serves as background audio to the DVD's main index menu.
SBD #2 10.0 No 0:16:37 Official AIFF/WAV, 48kHz/24bit (In Utero, Deluxe Edition) • Dumb (take 3)
• Pennyroyal Tea (take 2)
• Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
• tourette's
• Jam
Mixed by Jack Endino, 2012.

Notes

Keen to move away from the glossy production of their previous album and get back-to-basics, NIRVANA returned to the familiar surrounds of Word Of Mouth Productions, formally known as Reciprocal Recording. Producer, Jack Endino, found the atmosphere markedly different to that enjoyed on previous occasions, however: It was very tense, he explains. There was something dark in the air. It was dysfunctional in some way. People were not communicating with each other. Kurt was sort of in a different reality from everybody else. It made me very uneasy. Everybody seemed to be very on edge. It just wasn't the same band it had been. (1)

The sessions began badly, with Cobain failing to arrive on the first day, He didn't show up at all the whole first day—didn't show, didn't call, just no Kurt. (2) Cobain's negligence came as a shock to Endino, For him to book studio time and then not show up was completely unlike anything he'd done in the old days. (2)

Cobain's attention was then diverted on the second day when Courtney Love called by the studio with baby Frances, It was a little distracting! admits Endino. Courtney came down to the studio with Frances and immediately everything was centred on the baby. Frances was only two weeks old or something. But I have to say that they were both very cute with the baby. You just had to grin and bear it. It's a baby and they're new parents so you have to let them do their thing. (2)

The band recorded basic tracks for six songs—Dumb, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle, tourette's, Pennyroyal Tea, Rape Me, and Radio Friendly Unit Shifter—Rape Me was the only song to which a vocal was added. (3)

Cobain delivered his vocal to Rape Me with baby Frances bawling in the background, She was sitting on his lap, and then they held her up to the mic while Kurt was singing. (2) Endino admits to finding the result somewhat unsettling, as a piece of art, he's singing in this very cracked, too-many-cigarettes voice Rape Me and then there's a baby crying. It does creep me out. I think he wanted to disturb people with that juxtaposition. (2)

Endino expresses greater fondness for an improvised jam also recorded at the sessions, It's awesome! he enthuses. It's like four minutes of just guitar attack. And there's none of that stuff on any of their records; you never get to hear them just jamming like that. (3)

Aware that the band were preparing to record another album, but unhappy at how strained these sessions had been, Endino had mixed feelings about working with Nirvana again. Doing those demos was sufficiently uncomfortable that I couldn't imagine doing an album with them, he explains. I thought, you know, whoever does the follow-up for Nevermind is going to get roasted. (1)

During the sessions, all they did was talk about Albini, Endino continues. Kurt was like, What do you think, do you think we should have Albini do the record? And what am I going to say? No. You should have me do the record. I just kept my mouth shut. It was obvious the record company was going to want Nevermind Version 2, and the band was very obviously not going to make that. I mean, they said to everyone who would listen they wanted to make a really aggressive punk rock album. So whoever ended up being the producer was going to be between a rock and a hard place; he's either going to have to be a total asshole with band, in which case they would totally hate him, or he does what the band wants and has the total weight of the record company coming down on his head. And probably the only person in the world who could withstand that was Albini; he can actually do what he wants and stand up to the record company and say no. I'm afraid I would have just chickened out on it. I frankly was sort of like well, if they ask me to do it I will do it, but if they don't ask me I won't complain. (3)

Endino's troubles were further compounded when the police called by the studio, acting on a noise complaint—Grohl was playing his drums too loud. His drumming was so loud, it was going right through the walls of the building, Endino recalls. It was only the second noise complaint we'd ever had! It was kind of embarrassing. But they were almost done at that point. (1) Endino tried to assuage the officers with a bit of name-dropping, I said, You know, I got NIRVANA in there, they're this huge band. But this cop said, I don't care who you got in there, you gotta turn it down. (3)

No one from the band returned to finish the demo, to do vocals, or to mix it. (1)

References

  1. Gaar, Gillian G., 1997. Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History Of Nirvana, Goldmine, [online] Available at: http://www.nirvanaclub.com/articles/02.14.97.html.
  2. Baker, Trevor, 2004. Milk It, Playlouder.com Nov. 15, 2004.
  3. Gaar, Gillian G., 2006. In Utero. Continuum 33 1/3.
© Alex Roberts. August 28, 2011