Dave Grohl Recalls The Time Nirvana Was Writing ’Smells Like Teen Spirit’

Former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl, talked about the making process of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ record during a recent interview with NME.

‘Nevermind’ is the second studio record by Nirvana that was released back in 1991, and it is the first record that Dave Grohl played for the band. The record also peaked number one in weekly charts and number three in year-end charts on Billboard 200.

Furthermore, the album has become one of the best-selling albums of all time by selling out 30 million copies worldwide, thanks to popular songs such as ‘Smell Like Teen Spirit,’ ‘Come as You Are,’ and ‘Lithium.’ ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is also known as the song that made Nirvana popular worldwide. It was the leading single of ‘Nevermind,’ and it is such a popular song that people from other genres can easily know the song.

In a recent conversation with NME, Dave Grohl revealed that they didn’t actually expect ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ to become such a hit song and said that everybody focused on other tracks. In fact, Dave pointed out that ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’s lyrics were uncertain since Kurt Cobain had been singing with different lyrics and melodies in the rehearsals until they got into the studio to record it. As Grohl said, it was the time when they realized what a great song it was.

Dave Grohl talked about ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ in the interview:

I remember writing ‘Teen Spirit’ in our rehearsal space, and I liked the riff that Kurt came up with because it’s percussive. Those muted, stabbing strums in between the chords really leaned to the pattern of the drum riff.

To be honest, at that point, we were listening to a lot of Pixies – it was ‘Bossa Nova.’ And we were just having fun, really. We were just coming up with new song after new song every day.

Krist Novoselic, I believe, has boom box recordings of all of these – riff ideas that were never used, songs that were shaped into songs for ‘Nevermind’ (some of them). Of course, no one had any psychic foresight to imagine that the song would go on to do what it did. We just fuckin’ rocked it in a little rehearsal space that was like a barn.”

He continued:

I didn’t know what the lyrics were; Kurt’s melody pattern changed every other time we played it and it wasn’t really until we got into the studio to record it that I realized the power of the song.

And not just lyrically or musically, but the groove of the song – it was really powerful. I think everyone was more focused on songs like ‘In Bloom’ or ‘Lithium’ or ‘Breed’; nobody really paid too much attention to ‘Teen Spirit’ while we were recording it. We just thought it was another cool song for the record.”

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is now having over one billion viewers on YouTube, and people are still watching the clip. You can check out the song below.