Nevermind at 30: How the Nirvana album rocked the world

When Nirvana released Nevermind in September 1991 (on major label Geffen, following the band’s emergence on Seattle indie SubPop), the album’s explosive success followed a European tour and was a shock to the mainstream system (the Chairman of Geffen, Ed Rosenblatt described it as “one of those discs ‘get out of the way and dodge'”). Back on the Seattle DIY scene, the mood was less festive: “My memory of Nevermind is that it looked like betrayal,” Keshavarz says. “People were protective because Nirvana was representative of a community and so many ideas. Looking back, I have great sympathy for the band, because I think they rightfully made some great music that touched the people’s hearts. In fact, I remember visiting Iran shortly after Nevermind came out and smuggled some tapes to play to friends and relatives; you would see their faces, like, “What? -what it is ? Pretty cool… can I get a copy? “

“But in Seattle at the time, people were very upset; it was this DIY ethic that believed you couldn’t achieve release through a major label. We knew the rents and prices of tickets were going to go up, and we were really protective of our spaces Kurt would come to the Old Fire House a lot and stay calm in a corner; he was a gentle soul, and everyone loved him – yet sometimes he wasn’t. not welcome, depending on who was playing, because the anger was building up were high.That must have been hurtful.

Global reverbs

Nevermind is said to have sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the biggest albums in music history. It also arguably forged a sort of globalized youth culture, fueled by the growing reach of MTV (which had its videos, including Smells Like Teen Spirit, on high rotation). Brazilian cultural studies academic Moyses Pinto, now a professor at the Lutheran University of Porto Alegre, was struck by Nevermind’s initial exit at the age of 11. ” he says.

Neto points out that Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) inspired many rebellious musicians, including pysch-rockers Os Mutantes (one of Cobain’s favorite bands). The end of the dictatorship extended the range of rock, punk and post-punk sounds in Brazil, although Neto describes a “time lag” between international influences, before the Nevermind era: “We had punks in Brazil , but almost a decade after their heyday in the UK and US – and there was 80s pop culture and mainstream arena groups, ”says Neto. “But the impact of Nirvana and MTV made it synchronized; a new youth – including me – started hearing the same music and wearing the same styles; there was a cultural homogeneity probably never seen before. The culture. Grunge became mainstream very quickly; everyone who had been ‘cool’ suddenly became ugly and over the top, and Kurt was the symbol of transgression. “

Another Porto Alegre child in ’91, Rogerio Maia Garcia, was intrigued by Nevermind’s vinyl artwork “Swimming Baby” (the album arguably heralded an era of visual iconography, as well as influence. musical), just before the music captivated him: “We were all listening to rock and metal, but Nevermind sounded totally different – like ‘normal kids’ playing at home: raw and very loud,” Garcia explains. . “It certainly opened our ears to the grunge scene; after Nevermind, bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam became well known in Brazil, and many children began to learn to play; in the early 90s in Porto Alegre, live music was losing dance music, but suddenly there were concerts by local bands every night. “He adds that established Brazilian bands such as Titas have also incorporated influence, working with Seattle producer Jack Endino for their own album Titanomaquia (1993).

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