Cobain may have been wearing the "corporate magazines still suck" t-shirt on the front of Rolling Stone as a testament to how against the man he was, but he still showed up for the interview and photoshoot. A more transparent gesture would be to turn down Rolling Stone. It seems there was a separation between the rebellious and careless image of the band, and what the band did to cooperate with the mainstream to find success.
Mancow recently appeared on Alex Jones' radio show claiming that he interviewed Kurt Cobain and that his persona and careless attitude was a front just to sell records.
Mancow's quote was "...The image was created. I've also interviewed Kurt Cobain and 'oh he was an artist, he was tortured and all this stuff' - uh uh. It was all by design. It was an act. It was an act. He wanted to sell records - he created that image to sell records, that image of not caring."
Bleach, their first album, is completely raw. They did not use a click track, there are very few overdubs, the guitar tone is consistent, and there are no double tracked vocals like on the later albums. This all contributes to a more live sounding, rawer, and more grunge sound. They worked with some no name producer who recorded the band without worrying about making them sound pretty or marketable. On Nevermind Butch Vig pushed Kurt to do stuff like double track the vocals, even though Kurt did not want really want to. Agreeing to what seem like little changes like this contributed to a much more poppy, watered down, and less interesting and less true grunge sound.
When you sign a major contract, a 'machine' as they call it comes in floods the media with your music; that is, suddenly, you are on MTV, major radio stations, you are on award functions, etc. And college radio stops playing you because you are not underground anymore. Yeah that's selling out. This band 'went' to Geffen records and negotiated a record deal. They wanted to be on the majors. It depends on how you look at it! If signing to a major label and becoming a common house hold name is 'selling out' then they totally did. Cobain wanted to be 'the biggest rock band' and he's quoted as saying 'he just wanted to be a commercial' musician. I think he wanted it so bad that he knew he had to go before it went away thus sealing his stature forever frozen in time.
Popular music eventually are sellouts. They're nothing special. Especially when these band member themselves agreed. They've lost their feel compared when they're still themselves. If you're truly looking for a band that's really good, go dig those underground places. Finding a really good one isn't easy, but eventually once you found you'll get hooked. And they're actually many good bands that are never sellouts, when they decided not to sign with any major label. Because they know what'll happen once they do so. And they want to protect their music and genre they respect very much. Yes.
They sold out right when they recorded nevermind and let the producer overlay the vocals and guitar, which took away the garage/grunge feel and gave it a more pop mix. It's been said that Kurt walked into the record company and said he wants Nirvana to be the biggest band in the world. His childhood friend from the Melvin's, Buzz, even said Kurt wanted to be famous at first. I don't think he realized how Nirvana would be marketed and people he used to be friends with kept calling him a sellout. Dude's still a legend and his songs are still incredible, but he technically sold out for a little whlie.
They were on a major record label but who cares they were awesome. The fact that Nirvana kept with their punk roots after making the jump to a major was what made them special. Could anyone imagine a popular band today releasing an album like In Utero after recording a massive pop album?
You can't be in the entertainment industry too long without facing challenges and temptations to do things the easy way for a quick buck. When Nirvana got to the point that they stopped making music for themselves and the fans, then they sold out. How many of the later Nirvana songs can you hear and you actually think "that's Nirvana?"
His first "Mainstream" hit is a song he loathed, smells like teen spirit. It came out only three years before his death so his music kept its message up to the very end which is something to be proud of. He was an enemy of the mainstream and hated his most mainstream hit.
I think there is confusion about what the word sellout means. A sellout is One who betrays a cause for personal advancement. What would Kurt's advancement be? I find it hard to believe that he would sell out for money. To get his music out, who knows maybe. I just feel in general people are entitled to their opinions, but none of it is ever going to be justified because Kurt is dead, and he's not coming back, we cant ask him does he think he sold out. Also in that kind of industry there is a lot of temptation. And after all we are human, So lets say he did sell-out. Who cares? Does that make their music any less great? I want to say I hate when people dislike bands when they get famous but at the same time I see where you guys are coming from. Maybe you don't want them to change who they are, or something like that. But my thing is its not like you know this person in real life. All we have is the impression that they are really nice people. But if you're a fan of just the music then its you're personal opinion on whether you think their music has gotten better/worse since they've signed. But if you just dislike them because they signed to a major record label then you weren't a fan from the start.
Nirvana was popular, and they wanted to get their music out to people, but ultimately, they weren't in it for the money or the fame, they were in it for the music, and they wanted people to know there was better music out there than what was in the Top 40.
The reason Nirvana moved to Geffen was because they had fans who'd walk up to them and say "I love your band, but I can't find your music". If, like Kurt, you lived in a town that doesn't have a record store that carries independent records, you wouldn't have been able to get to listen to your favorite band at home.
As for the production of Nevermind, some say Kurt made the record sound more poppy so it would be more popular, but I think it was more accidental than intentional. Kurt said "studios are a really, really deceiving environment. You don't know what it's going to sound like until you take it home and it's on a tape and you listen to it over and over again."
And for the record, that contract they had with Geffen gave Nirvana compete creative control. They could've had more money handed to them if they wanted to, but they went for creative freedom.
Nirvana wanted to go in a different direction musically. They were not trying to sell out, they just wanted to make an album that didn't sound like their first album. They simply wanted to change their sound, not 'sell out'. I think this whole selling out thing is pretty stupid anyways. I think a lot of people confuse changing the sound with selling out.
Nirvana wanted to go into a different direction musically. They wanted to make an album that did not sound like their first album. They simply wanted to change their sound, not 'sell out'. I think this whole selling out thing is pretty stupid anyways. I think a lot of people confuse changing the sound with selling out.
Most every musical group changes over their time together to some extent, and Nirvana was no different than many other bands. Their decision to venture into a diverse genre of musical interest, as opposed to their customary venue of “grunge” was no different than many of the instrumental excursions of musicians known as heavy metal, or hard rock. Nirvana simply had the talent to perform successfully in these alternative musical formats, and to say they sold out, simply shows a lack of musical knowledge, or appreciation for musical diversity.
For all of his problems and issues, Kurt Cobain was a man of integrity. One time, he said if you're a bigot and you hate women, to not buy his album. Even if you like him, he hates you. I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist. Kobain stood for something and stuck to it.
Nirvana is a rather popular band that many people know, if not love. If they make a decision it was probably well thought out and discussed for a while first. In the end, people need to do what is best for them, and their families. The fans are important, but not who you are living for.