I mean, my band’s great – but when you augment it with Nirvana, that’s greater.
L7 with producer Butch Vig at Sound City, during the recording of Bricks Are Heavy, 1991. (Via the official L7 Facebook page) Here’s an outtake from my book, Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge, in which Vig discuss the events surrounding the making of the album:
BUTCH VIG (producer) L7 were amazing. The sessions at Sound City were pretty straightforward, and then we went to Smart [Studios] back in Madison for like a month to finish overdubs and mix, and they took over the town. We rented a house a couple blocks in the studio, and it turned into the biggest fuckin’ party palace in Madison. They knew every druggie, junkie, bookie, psycho killer, man on the street. Every sort of scoundrel that Madison had, they knew. It was a parade of weirdos coming and going from the studio. It was pretty wild. To this day I still run into people going, “Man, those girls from L7, they fuckin’ knew how to party!”
Every once in a while we talk about [performing Nirvana material]. For the Sound City gig here in London we were thinking about musicians that we could invite because Stevie Nicks and John Fogerty couldn’t make it. Someone came up with the idea of doing a Nirvana song with PJ Harvey. Kurt loved her and we love her and we thought, ‘Yeah, what would we do?’ I said: ‘God, what if we were to do ‘Milk It’ from ‘In Utero’ with Polly singing?’ We all looked at each other like, ‘Woah, that would be amazing…’ and then she couldn’t do it!
I can truly say out loud that ‘Gangnam Style’ is one of my favorite fucking songs of the past decade. Is it any better or worse than the latest Atoms for Peace album? Hmmm… paging Pitchfork! We need you to help us determine the value of a song! Who fucking cares?
There’s a reason why the Foo Fighters don’t blast out Nirvana songs every night: because we have a lot of respect for them. You know, that’s hallowed ground. We have to be careful. We have to tread lightly. We have talked about it before, but the opportunity hasn’t really come up, or it just hasn’t felt right. And we did have an idea for the London gig that maybe [Sound City Players] would do a Nirvana song, but it didn’t pan out. The person we wanted to do it with wasn’t available.