As an employee of Metal Hammer magazine in the UK, James Sherry embodies the peculiarly diverse terrain of fandom that Nirvana staked out for themselves, even before they crossed over to massive mainstream success. James Hetfield of Metallica had expressed admiration for Nirvana way back when Bleach was their only release. Nirvana always thought of themselves as punk, but their music ended up being viewed as something of a supercharged variant of catchy power-punk that appealed to metal folks as well.
Here we have three separate Nirvana interviews conducted by Sherry; all together, they add up to nearly an hour. The interviews catch Nirvana at three very different stages of their career. In November of 1990 Nirvana was riding the modest success of Bleach; in the summer of 1991 they were ready to release Nevermind and they knew they had something special on their hands; by 1992 they had already become superstars and were dealing with that. By the time the last interview rolled around, Nirvana had been named Metal Hammer’s “Best New Band,” which was just really amusing. Among other things, they discuss their willingness to pursue an idea that had been floated in 1991 of touring with Guns N’ Roses.
These interviews have been available on CD since 2004, but this is the first time that they’ve been made available on the Internet.
Even before Nevermind people were clamoring for their autographs. According to Kurt:
At first we were floored by it, we couldn’t believe that people, punk rock—supposedly punk rock people wanted autographs. It seems like the underground has simply reversed itself. There’s still a lot of good, vital things going on in it, but the rock star part of it—I don’t necessarily think it can simply be thought of as, we’re rock stars and they want our autographs. It’s just that they appreciate our music so much that they wanted something extra—it’s an excuse to come up and talk to us, also. I’d rather just talk to somebody as give them an autograph. What usually when I do give autographs I just take a pen and put an X on their program. ...
It’s hard to even tell, it’s hard to tell the difference between punks and metal kids anymore at our shows, especially in the States, because it seems like there’s this new breed of people who just naturally like both of the styles, and a lot of them have, a lot of them dress like Mudhoney … and they just like rock and roll and they don’t even care to be classified anymore, so it’s like, it’s a mixture of the rock star and the punk rock thing at the same time, and it’s not as boring as the crossover thing.
If you’re a big Nirvana fan, you are going to want to hear these interviews, for sure!
November 1990 interview (26:24):
Summer 1991 interview (21:11):
1992 interview (10:47; Novoselic only):