Why Butch Vig Said Working With Kurt Cobain Was A ‘Pain in the Ass’

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Kurt Cobain always had a difficult relationship with Nirvana’s Nevermind. Despite setting the world on fire, Cobain thought the final mix was much too slick for the punk side of Nirvana’s sound.

Although the fallout may have come later, it wasn’t sunshine and roses in the studio either.

While the band had talked about having a blast recording at Sound City, producer Butch Big had his own set of issues.

When mixing the final product, Vig mentioned Cobain insisted on the tracks being heavier saying,

“I’d be balancing the drums and the guitars, then Kurt would come in and say, Turn all the treble off. I want it to sound more like Black Sabbath’. It was kind of a pain in the ass.”

While the band were playing in the studio, Vig also had trouble getting Cobain to do more vocal takes.

Speaking to Guitar World, Vig mentioned running a second tape machine to record everything Cobain sang saying,

“He really wanted to do everything on the first or second take. We’d do a couple takes and he’d say ‘That’s it. I’m not gonna do anymore.’ The tricky part was to figure out how to motivate him to give good performances. A lot of times, I’d be going for a first take, but he would think it was just a warmup.”

Despite some testy moments, Vig was adamant about not fooling around in the studio saying,

“When he got everything up, he’d call me in and we would nit pick stuff. We basically mixed a song a day. The whole record took about 9 or 10 days to properly mix.”

Even though Cobain had his issues with the final mix, Vig thinks his resentment came from Nirvana’s success saying,

“If it had only sold 50,000 copies, he probably wouldn’t have had any comments on whether it was too slick.”

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