King of the Nirvana Producers

Posted: November 12, 2012 in People Near Nirvana

The other week we examined Nirvana’s drummers and their participation in the band’s career. This week we move on to Nirvana’s producers — who did the most work with Nirvana? Who contributed most to the music we know and love?

These aren’t quite the same questions of course. When we look at how many studio sessions the band engaged in the stats are as follows:

Jack Endino, as expected, was that daddy of Nirvana recording sessions shepherding them through their first demo, first single session, first album session, two one song sessions in 1990 and finally the first demo session for In Utero. Yet, does the same hold true in terms of the band’s productivity in those sessions?

Again, Jack wins while Butch Vig’s two sessions with the band in April 1990 and May-June 1991 see him into second place. Nirvana’s soundman Craig Montgomery ends up in third place having recorded a range of material on January 1, 1991 and the Rio de Janeiro demos for In Utero. Its unusual thinking of Craig as the third most productive Nirvana collaborator when it came to production duties but understandable given the priority given to the albums:

It’s now that we can see the plaudits as they have been traditionally awarded with Jack, Butch and Steve Albini occupying the top ranks. Between 1988 and 1994 the ‘finished product’ emerged, primarily, at the hands of these three men making them the names most associated with Nirvana’s work despite the wealth of material since issued much of which was created with the support of others. It’s the focus on end product in the public domain, not necessarily overall work, that has been a key influence on the respect awarded producers…But it doesn’t erase the fact that Jack Endino is the uber-producer of Nirvana.

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