LIVE NIRVANA SESSIONS HISTORY January 1, 1991 - Studio A, The Music Source, Seattle, WA, US View in Google Maps

    • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar)
    • Krist Novoselic (bass, guitar)
    • Dave Grohl (drums)
  • Craig Montgomery (producer, engineer)
  • Brian Nelson (engineer)
  • [O] Aneurysm
  • [O] Even In His Youth
  • [U] Oh, The Guilt instrumental
  • [O] All Apologies with scratch vocal Novoselic on acoustic guitar
  • [U] On A Plain with scratch vocal
  • [U] Radio Friendly Unit Shifter with scratch vocal
  • [U] Token Eastern Song with scratch vocal
  • Audio: 2-inch 24-track analog magnetic tape (session tape)
Source ID Quality Complete Runtime Lowest Gen Tracks Featured Notes
SBD #1 10.0 0:07:53 Official CD (Smells Like Teen Spirit)
  • Aneurysm
  • Even In His Youth
  • Mixed by Andy Wallace, 1991.
SBD #2 9.5 0:27:20 DAT(X)>FLAC
  • Aneurysm
  • Oh, The Guilt
  • Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
  • On A Plain
  • All Apologies
  • Even In His Youth
  • Token Eastern Song
  • Rough mixes by Craig Montgomery, 1991. This source suffers dropouts on Radio Friendly Unit Shifter, All Apologies and Even In His Youth.
SBD #3 9.5 0:04:25 Official AIFF/WAV, 96kHz/24bit (In Utero, Deluxe Edition)
  • All Apologies
  • Alternative rough mix by Craig Montgomery, 1991.

Following Dave Grohl's arrival in September 1990, the band practiced relentlessly and wrote dozens of new songs. The band were keen to record these new compositions, but Sub Pop were suffering severe cash flow problems at the time and were unable to finance such a project. (1)

Still under exclusive recording contract to Sub Pop, the band went ahead and recorded with their soundman at The Music Source, where they had previously recorded the Blew EP in 1989. Steve Fisk confirmed that the session was a wholly private endeavor: This was not for Sub Pop or anything. This was something NIRVANA was doing with Craig [Montgomery], their soundman, who was friends with this other guy, Brian [Nelson], that worked at the Music Source. (1) Through Montgomery's friendship with Nelson, NIRVANA were able to access the recording facility free of charge. (2)

All songs were recorded using a Euphonix CS-2 console, a Sony/MCI JH24 2" 24-track recorder and were mixed to ¼" on a MCI JH 110 2-track deck; (3) the tracking and the mixing all done during the course of a single day. They had some songs they wanted to throw down and I had been pestering them to let me record them for some time, Montgomery explained. (2) It was really raw. They would play the songs live and then Kurt would either put a vocal on it or he wouldn't. It was all first take. (2) Unsurprisingly, the results were a little scrappy, It didn't turn out very well. That place is good for making Nordstrom commercials, Cobain told Backlash's Dawn Anderson. And Kenny G, quipped Novoselic. We were gonna put out an EP, but that's not gonna happen. (4)

Despite any misgivings the band may have had, DGC purchased the 2" session tape for a fee of $600.00. (3) The two finished songs, Aneurysm and Even In His Youth, were remixed by Andy Wallace and used as B-sides on the Smells Like Teen Spirit single.

Two songs attempted at this session were re-recorded with Steve Albini at Pachyderm Recording Studio,  February 12–26, 1993. As Montgomery later observed: It's funny 'cause even though that [session] was before Nevermind, a lot of those songs ended up on In Utero. So when I heard In Utero it was like, Oh, that song?! We did that!! I guess between that time and the time they recorded Nevermind, Kurt wrote some more songs that he liked better; I think when the time came to record In Utero, he didn't have a lot of ideas and so went back to earlier material. (5)

  1. Gaar, Gillian G., 1997. Verse Chorus Verse: The Recording History Of Nirvana, Goldmine, [online] Available at:
  2. Borzillo, Carrie, 2000. Eyewitness Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle. Carlton Books.
  3. Nelson, Brian, 2007. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.
  4. Anderson, Dawn, 1991. Signin' On The Dotted Line And Other Tales Of Terror, Backlash, [online] Available at: /interviews/9102da/index.php.
  5. Montgomery, Craig, 2003. Personal communication with Alex Roberts.

© Alex Roberts. Last modified: August 31 2022