Nirvana: The Recording Sessions – book review

Nirvana: The Recording Sessions by Rob Jovanovic
Nirvana: The Recording Sessions

When asked ‘Is there something you would like Nirvana to be remembered for?’ Kurt Cobain answered: “Writing good music, good songs. That’s all I could say, because that’s more important than anything else”.

The majority of books written about Nirvana concentrate in part or wholly on Kurt Cobain’s inner turmoil and his trouble with dealing with fame and fortune.  Some concentrate on the music but no other titles concentrate solely on the recording sessions.

From start to finish Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana lasted no more than 12 years, and in that time there were over 40 recording sessions. Starting with Cobain’s first noise-making his first documented recordings during a family Christmas vacation as a teenager singing and playing guitar, bass and using a suitcase for a drum to his final recording session along with fellow band members Dave Grohl & Krist Novoselic as Nirvana, one of biggest names in rock music in January 1994.

Each session, each track and version is well documented where available. A discography is also included to assist some of the harder-to-find recordings as well as details of all the band’s video recordings.

Nirvana: The Recording Sessions also includes information on every recording studio, a paragraph on every band member and session musician, plus a discography, list of videos & DVDs, list of Nirvana concerts and a selection of related non-Nirvana sessions.

Rob Jovanovic has painstakingly documented every recording session made between 1982 and 1994.  Each one is analyzed, from Kurt Cobain’s first bedroom four-track demos through to the “new” tracks including the With The Lights Out box set, Live At Reading, the 20th Anniversary Edition of Nevermind and the expanded Bleach.

In Nirvana – The Recording Sessions, the author draws on hours of interviews with those who worked on Nirvana’s sessions, including engineers, producers, guest musicians and other collaborators.

The hardback copy of this book was originally published in 2004 but was surprisingly not available in North America.  Published for the first time in paperback by Soundcheck Books based in London, the book is available in both the UK & North America.

This updated paperback edition underlines the fact that, aside from a cult of personality, Nirvana produced some great rock songs.

Nirvana: The Recording Sessions by Rob Jovanovic is published by Soundcheck Books priced £14.99.


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