The deluge of Nevermind anniversary items hit fever pitch about two months ago. But, finally, September 24th is nearly here--20 years to the day since the ageless Nirvana album debuted. And it's about time: we've been watching as the stack of tribute pieces gets piled ever higher. So, we sifted through a few of our favorite new articles, footage and repackaged anniversary material.
The items below are those just timed for release for the 20th anniversary, but if you're looking around for interesting Nirvana miscellanea that have been floating around forever online you can find The New York Times bewildered 1991 appraisal of Nevermind here, a smart guide to Kurt Cobain's journals here, a video of Nirvana's last concert here, and a many-years-later interview with the Nevermind cover kid here. On to the newer stuff:
- The Breezy Roundtable Interview — Wild times! Anything they can remember while talking over each other in a transcript! There are lots of other Q&A's featuring Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and producer Butch Vig reminiscing. Entertainment Weekly manages to have a little fun alongside the nostalgia. Sample line from Novoselic: "Remember when we’d take the stage and make a ruckus, and Kurt would just go 'Eaaaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhh!' into the microphone?"
- The Lengthy Weekend Essay About a Music Writer's Days with the Band - The Guardian's Lauren Spencer was once a young music writer for Spin who interviewed the band before he had any idea they'd be topping Michael Jackson on the Billboard charts. And he paid tribute to the band with an essay culling interviews and recollections from the past two decades. He recounts from a small Boston show in September of '91: "The notes screamed and bounced off the walls, sweat flew from onstage and off, all combined with incredible melodies while hundreds of kids shook the foundation of the building in their abandon."
- The Nostalgic 'I Am Now Old' Article - We get it: feeling old is part of nostalgia. Especially so for Mark Yarm who just finished his Oral History of Grunge book. And he still can't believe it's been that long since Nevermind officially dropped: "Indeed, it’s depressing to think that it's been a full two decades since I first played that DGC Records cassette sampler, which led off with Nirvana’s history-making single 'Smells Like Teen Spirit,' in the on-campus apartment I shared with five other dudes senior year of college."
- The Workmanlike 'What's in the Reissue' Explainer - Is the reissue worth actually buying? Rolling Stone unveiled all the nuts and bolts of the box set early this month. And Vig, for his part, did his band to hype the rough tape versions of "Come as You Are" and "Teen Spirit": "They sound superlow-fi and dirty and trashy, really primal."
- The Unexpected Series of Tributes to 'Something in the Way' - NPR's All Songs Considered decided on a nice way to commemorate a Nevermind song we appreciate. Artists Thou, Damien Jurado, David Bazan and Not a Year offered up their different interpretations of 'Something in the Way' for the series--and some of the artists offered their takes with cover versions of the song.
- The Complete 'What It Means Now' Retrospective - If you missed it, Spin magazine offered a 360-degree view of Nevermind in their extensive August issue devoted to the band. They conceded: "we tried to avoid that sort of queasy, pseudo-reverent exploitation, balancing the historical and personal with the playful and forward-thinking." If you just want the abbreviated version, it's here.
- The 'Indie Artists on Nirvana' Anniversary Listicle - If you're curious about when and where your favorite indie darling first heard Nevermind, Paste magazine has you covered with interviews with 20 musicians (From Girl Talk, The Black Lips, The Antlers, you get the idea).
- The Nirvana Slideshow of Images You Haven't Seen a Million Times - Drawing from Seattle's Experience Music Project exhibit, GQ magazine unveiled the gallery timed with their June issue. Rolling Stone unveiled images from the same collection even earlier in the year, but offered fewer of them.
- Charles Peterson's Captioned Grunge-era Photos - Billboard has a well-done gallery with captions of Peterson's iconic blurred early 90's photography. On working with Cobain, he mentioned: "I've never really seen a bad photo of Kurt. He liked photographers and photography. He would give you as much time as you wanted and he just had this face like a movie star or something. He's one of those people in person who are sort of like, a homeless person curled up under a rock [laughs]. But when you take his picture, he's just gorgeous."
- The Interactive Grunge Quiz To See If You Really Are 'That Old' - We we're surprised that The New York Times quiz on Nirvana-era trivia wasn't any bit harder than USA Today version.
- Round-up: The Best Covers You Might Not Have Heard Before - The A.V. Club compiled its list of slightly harder to discover Nirvana covers, and it includes a jazzy 2004 rendition of "Come as You Are" from singer Caetano Veloso: "Matched with the spooky percussion, Veloso’s vocal has a haunted, dangerous sound. Way to rework the song without neutering it (even with a horde of dancers in the background, as in this video)."
- A Sullen Kurt Cobain Says Why He Didn't Like the 'Teen Spirit' Video - The repurposed footage is part of a surprisingly comprehensive MTV anniversary package of clips from Nirvana's heyday.
- Newly Released Archival Footage Timed For the 20th Anniversary Reissue DVD - From a '91 Halloween Set at Seattle's Paramount Theater. Below is "Territorial Pissings."