Nirvana made Steve Albini prank call Eddie Vedder and Gene Simmons

Nirvana made Steve Albini prank call Eddie Vedder and Gene Simmons

Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic have revealed that Nirvana once made producer Steve Albini prank call Eddie Vedder and KISSGene Simmons.

READ MORE: Krist Novoselic on 30 years of ‘In Utero’ and using AI to restore Nirvana music

While appearing on the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast, the surviving members of the iconic grunge band and Albini shared that they would help pass the time while in the studio by prank-calling people.

This was during their time spent at the Pachyderm Recording Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. They recalled how there wasn’t very much to do.”This was in February, in the dead of winter, in the middle of fucking nowhere,” said Grohl. “So even just the walk from the house to the studio, which was what – 100 yards if that – you risk frostbite.” Both Novoselic and O’Brien joked that the studio was a “gulag …. with an indoor swimming pool.”

Albini recalled his prank-call to KISS bassist Gene Simmons over the period in which the band were recording ‘In Utero’. “I pretended to be Kurt [Cobain] calling Gene Simmons. Gene Simmons had called their management because there was a KISS tribute album being put together, and Nirvana – the biggest band in the world – were friends with the Melvins, and Melvins did a KISS cover, and he assumed that Nirvana would want to do a KISS cover. Gene Simmons can not fathom that anyone on earth is not a massive KISS fan,” Albini said.

The producer shared how Cobain was actually sitting next to him, while Albini was doing an impression of Cobain himself.

“So the word comes down that Gene Simmons is desperate to get Nirvana on this album and Kurt is like, I don’t want to talk to fucking Gene Simmons, and I said, I’ll do it!,” continued Albini.

He adds: “So I called him back, and I pretended to be Kurt, and I parried the whole thing away by saying that I wasn’t making all the decisions because I had a reliability problem. And Kurt is sitting right next to me, listening to me doing an impression of him. [In Kurt Cobain voice] ‘Do you know The Wipers? I really love The Wipers’. And Gene Simmons comes back with, ‘I don’t know The Wipers. I know the Melvins. I love the Melvins!’”

The group also recalled a time where they called Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder with Albini pretending to be legendary producer Tony Visconti. Albini recalled that he pretended to be Visconti and told Vedder that he had heard the Pearl Jam album and was anxious to get him in a studio outside of Pearl Jam “with a real band, guys who can really play.”

Recalling Vedder’s response, Albini said: “I genuinely don’t remember the banter, but I do remember I thought he handled it pretty deftly. I think he acquitted himself well, talking on the phone to Tony Visconti, record producer, who wanted to fire his band.”

Grohl added: “At one point [Vedder] says, ‘Where are you?’ and you say, ‘I’m in Manitoba.’ And you say, ‘Do you know where that is?,’ and there’s this long pause and he goes, ‘No….’”

Elsewhere, Albini Spoke to NME earlier this year about his time recording ‘In Utero’.

He told NME that working on the follow-up to the internationally successful ‘Nevermind’ was “fairly normal”, though he ensured that all knowledge of the sessions were kept secret.

“There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary about the sessions,” he said. “I mean, apart from them being extremely famous. I had to do everything I could to keep it under wraps to make sure that we didn’t get overrun by fans and the added nonsense. That was the only thing that was weird about it.”

Nirvana at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards – Rehearsals at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic) via getty

Novoselic also spoke to NME last month about the 30th anniversary of their seminal album as well as the potential of using AI to complete and restore old music.

After being asked if Nirvana ever consider using AI for unreleased Nirvana material, the bassist said: “That’s a good idea! I’m glad I spoke with you today, because that’s interesting. I’m going to bring that up with Dave and Pat! I can hardly wait to hear a new Beatles song. Come on, it’s The Beatles! I want to hear a new Beatles song! And if AI helps it, then absolutely – that’s the way it is today.”

In other Nirvana news, Grohl and Novoselic recently shared their memories of Nirvana’s rise into cultural prominence.

Grohl recounted the band’s sudden popularity following the release of their second studio album ‘Nevermind’ in 1991 in a teaser clip for the latest episode of the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast. “We were kids and so when you talk about the amount of time that’s gone by, to me it’s not even so much about the years,” he said.

“It’s about the experiences that just kind of led, one after another, going from three kids that were basically living or touring out of a van to then becoming a huge band,” Grohl explained, adding that he was around 21 at the time, while Novoselic was 25 and Kurt Cobain was 24.

The post Nirvana made Steve Albini prank call Eddie Vedder and Gene Simmons appeared first on NME.

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