Monday, Jan. 14, 2013
Nirvana: The Recording Sessions (Soundcheck Books), by Rob Jovanovic
Used to be that antique jazz and blues recordings drew the obsessive attention of music buffs determined to track down recording session dates and determine who played which instrument. Rob Jovanovic brings a similar attention to detail to his close examination of Nirvana, the signal rock band from the 1990s. Since the evidence is thin for home recordings and demos made before their SubPop debut, Bleach (1989), Jovanovic painstakingly draws from newspaper interviews and eye witnesses, assembling a plausible chronicle dating from the first four-track recordings Kurt Cobain made in his aunt’s Seattle home (1982). Most interesting are the accounts of the Nevermind sessions (1991), much of it recalled by engineer-producer Butch Vig. But as Jovanovic shows, the influence of the Beatles via punk and Aerosmith was already surfacing before “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Unlike most exhaustingly informative fan authors, Jovanovic is a good writer and a perceptive critic.