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20 Musicians Discuss Nirvana's Nevermind

September 22, 2011  |  8:45am
20 Musicians Discuss Nirvana's <i>Nevermind</i>
6. Gil Landry
Old Crow Medicine Show
Nirvana Tape Photo(2).jpg

What age did you first discover Nevermind?
Teenager.

How did Nevermind impact your life?
I was in high school just north of Seattle. I remember going over to a friend Mo’s house where he and Tim & Phil Hanseroth (of Brandi Carlile now) were having band practice and they played “Smells like Teen Spirit.” I thought they’d written it and was blown away, I’d never heard a song remotely like it. I got a copy of Nevermind dubbed on cassette the next day and wore it out, learned every song! I’d moved a lot as a kid and Seattle at that time felt like a bit of an unknown outpost to the rest of the country and this album seemed to bring it front and center.

There was so much undefinable, raw, creative music in and around the city at that time from what I can remember and could explore of it at that age. It was strange, and vibrant, and suddenly it had dirtbag royalty. The fringe moved into the center and I recall it’s massive success gave a kind of validity and respect to all the thrift store, stoner, flannel, “ave. rat” existences. A defining anthem of the time of sorts. I also remember an increase in kids with thumbs holed green cardigans. I’d owned Bleach and had been listening to Mudhoney, Tad, the Melvins, etc… but Nevermind was an album that spoke so loud and clear sonically with it’s devil may care intangible lyrics and brilliant dynamics. It refined yet raw power.

7. Christian Zucconi
Grouplove
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Photo: Josh Darr

What age did you first discover Nevermind?
I was 14 when I discovered Nevermind.

How did Nevermind impact your life?
The first time I heard Nirvana I remember being caught off guard by how much I related to their sound, and how exciting that was to experience. The pain in Kurt’s voice and the way they exploded into their choruses made my stomach drop. I was suddenly alive—so I taught myself the guitar by learning Nirvana songs and then started writing my own—screaming my head off in my bedroom. It felt so good to feel something so real for the first time in my life.

8. Tony Ruland
The Lonely Forest
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Photo: Chona Kasinger

What age did you first discover Nevermind?
I can still remember seeing the “smells like teen spirit” video for my first time in my grandmas basement on thanksgiving in ‘91. My cousins and I were immediately sucked in. We jumped off the coffee table threw pillows, etc… One of my fondest childhood memories.

How did Nevermind impact your life?
Nevermind was the first record that was not given to me by my parents. It truly felt like mine. For me Nirvana will always embody what is pure and innocent about music. Just doing it because it makes you feel better, minus all of the other bullshit. To this day Nirvana is still my favorite band. They’re the reason I bought a guitar.

9. Kevin Devine
Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band
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What age did you first discover Nevermind?
12, 7th grade, October 1991.

How did Nevermind impact your life?
I don’t think I would have gotten involved with the kind of music I play now, or potentially with wanting to start a band at all, if it wasn’t for that record. It was the skeleton key.

10. Ward Hayden
Girls Guns & Glory
WardHaydenNirvana.jpg

What age did you first discover Nevermind?
Eleven.

How did Nevermind impact your life?
I was obsessed with MTV at the time. Guns & Roses, and Motley Crue were my 2 favorite bands and I remember watching the Top 20 countdown and they featured “Smells like Teen Spirit” in the Buzz Bin.

Within a few months Nirvana was so popular they were teaching the “Come as You Are” guitar lick in my junior high school music class.

Since then I’ve owned at least 3 copies of Nevermind. Everytime I rediscover the album it’s shocking how many great songs are on there.

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