Read Steve Albini's Letter to Nirvana Ahead of Producing 'In Utero'

by

Dave Grohl (Left) and Kurt Cobain (Right) performing at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • Dave Grohl (Left) and Kurt Cobain (Right) performing at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.



The first wave of '90s nostalgia landed before the decade was over. When Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain committed suicide April 5, 1994, he became an instant reminder of the decade's unfulfilled promise that immediately resonated with fans of the pioneering grunge rock band.

While Cobain's substance abuse problems—with heroin, specifically—as well as the band's high-profile acoustic performances laced Nirvana's legacy with a narcotic haze, it frequently alluded to its punk rock influences, especially when it came time for the band to record In Utero, which was produced in two weeks in February 1993 by rocker and journalist Steve Albini.

In a letter from Albini to the members of Nirvana, he expressed his admiration for the band and gave a pretty opinionated take on what he expected from its members:

"I think the very best thing you could do at this point is exactly what you are talking about doing: bang out a record in a couple of days, with high quality but minimal 'production' and no interference from the front office bulletheads. If that is what you want to do, I would love to be involved."

Albini was also vocal about what would push him away from the role of producer:

"If, instead, you might find yourselves in the position of being temporarily indulged by the record company, only to have them yank the chain at some point (hassling you to rework songs/sequences/production, calling-in hired guns to 'sweeten' your record, turning the whole thing over to some remix jockey, whatever...) then you're in for a bummer and I want no part of it."

You can read the whole four-page letter in all its glory here.