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Foo Fighters Guitarist Pat Smear Reminisces About His Time With Nirvana

Pat Smear
Mike Lawrie, Getty Images

It’s almost been 20 years since Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain took his own life. Despite the band’s dissolution afterwards, fans still go nuts for the grunge band’s ageless music. This interest has led to an interview with Foo Fighters member, Nirvana touring guitarist and founding Germs member, Pat Smear, who spoke in depth about his time jamming with the group.

Smear’s first gig with Nirvana was on a September 1993 episode of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ where the seminal grunge act performed the songs ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and ‘Rape Me.’ “I remember the first day of rehearsal at the ‘SNL’ studio, they forgot me,” Smear tells Rolling Stone, laughing. “A couple hours later, someone called me and goes, ‘Oh, we’re used to having three guys, sorry!’”

Smear also recalls hearing Nirvana’s third studio album, ‘In Utero,’ before the classic disc was released. “I had heard all the rumors and controversy swirling about the ‘In Utero’ recordings – there was a lot of, ‘Oh, the record label hates it,’ it was going to ruin the band, that kind of stuff,” Smear reveals. “When I heard it, I was like, ‘What’s the big deal? I get it, it’s not as polished as ‘Nevermind,’ but it’s still full of great songs that everyone’s going to want to play on the radio.’”

Although ties within Nirvana were becoming estranged, Smear remembers his time with Nirvana has a mostly positive experience. “My Nirvana experience was much different than the other three guys,” he says. “For me, it was really new and exciting. I was just a guy from a punk rock band, thrown into this huge thing. There were dark periods, too. But there wasn’t a dark cloud over the whole thing.”

Foo Fighters are currently working on new music for their eighth studio album. “[I've got] a crazy idea of what I want to do with the next record and how we record it,” frontman Dave Grohl told Billboard in March. “It’s not conventional. It won’t be a conventional record.”

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