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When They Were Young: Nirvana

August 7th, 2014

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When you think about bands or artists who have truly changed music and popular culture, there are a few that instantly come to mind: Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Madonna. The impact these artists had on music, and really our world, is something that continues to be felt today.

Much wasn’t around when Elvis first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, or when Beatlemania first hit America in 1964, or when a nine-year old Michael Jackson had his first #1 hit in 1969. But Much was around in 1991, just before three relatively unknown guys from Seattle released their new album. An album that would change everything about the music industry, from a band who would become the leaders of a new musical movement, and a lead singer and songwriter who would become the voice of Generation X.

We’re talking about Nirvana and their now classic album, Nevermind.

Much and MusiquePlus (Much’s French language sister station) both had the opportunity to interview Nirvana just days before the release of Nevermind in September 1991. Looking back on these interviews over 20 years later, it’s easy to see how important and iconic they truly are. They captured Kurt, Dave and Krist at a time when they were still relative unknowns. Only a few days later, Smells Like Teen Spirit would premiere on Much and MTV, eventually going into heavy rotation. And three months later, in January 1992, Nevermind would become the #1 album in the U.S., dethroning the King of Pop himself Michael Jackson.

It’s clear in these interviews that Nirvana had no expectations or idea of how much their lives would change. As a viewer it’s rare to see these kind of interviews unedited and in their entirety, but now you do. Sit back and enjoy Nirvana before they became the Nirvana you know and remember; the Nirvana that changed music history.

Nirvana in Toronto, September 1991

Nirvana in Montreal, September 1991

As someone who grew up watching Much, one of the interviews that really stuck out in my memory was the Kurt Cobain interview from 1993. Erica Ehm travelled to Seattle to interview the band shortly before the release of In Utero, which would become Nirvana’s final studio album.

When I began working at Much, this is one of the first interviews I pulled from the library so that I could watch it in its entirety. It’s the last interview Much ever did with Kurt, filmed only six months before he died. It’s an incredible interview, one which in hindsight gives insight into who Kurt was and perhaps how he was feeling at that time. It can even be seen as a bit prophetic, especially when Kurt refers to In Utero as “the last chapter of grunge”.

By 1993, Cobain was arguably the biggest rock star in the world and there are points in this interview where you can really sense his struggle with fame. Maybe you’ve seen bits and pieces of this interview on Much throughout the years, but you’ve never seen it in full – until now.

Kurt Cobain in Seattle, September 1993 

In celebration of Much’s 30th Anniversary we’re going to be looking at amazing past footage, like these interviews, all month long. Keep up with the great anniversary content on Much.ca and by using the hashtag #ForeverYoung.

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