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Billy Idol on Nirvana’s Nevermind: I Knew It Was the Next Big Thing as Soon as I Heard It

"Hearing Dave Grohl's drumming being so spot on, and Kurt Cobain’s scream just said it all"

Nirvana Nevermind (DGC Records), Billy Idol (photo by Steven Sebring)
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    Nirvana’s legendary album Nevermind turned 30 years old on September 24th, 2021. In celebration of the groundbreaking LP, we asked a number of prominent musicians to reflect on the album. Here, Billy Idol discusses first hearing Nevermind and the impact Nirvana had on rock music.

    Billy Idol knows a thing or two about “the next big thing,” having seen the UK punk scene explode inn the late ’70s and experiencing massive solo success in the early ’80s with hits like “Dancing With Myself,” “White Wedding,” and “Rebel Yell.”  Flash forward to the early ’90s, and the punk-rock icon was wondering when a new act would take the rock world by storm — until he heard Nirvana’s Nevermind.

    In speaking with Heavy Consequence, Idol recalled hearing the album for the first time. “I kinda went, “Ah, this is the next thing. I was always waiting through the ’80s, when’s the next thing gonna happen — the thing you can tell was a game-changing moment. … For me the hair bands weren’t the next thing. When I heard Nevermind, I went, ‘Ah!'”

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    He continued, “It was a great record, hearing Dave Grohl’s drumming being so spot on, and Kurt Cobain’s scream just said it all. And just great songs — the tunes, the melodies, the lyrics were fantastic. … And it wasn’t long after that before you’re hearing Pearl Jam and Soundgarden … That Seattle scene was very much like the punk-rock scene that had happened in CBGBs or The Roxy in London.”

    Watch Billy Idol discuss Nirvana’s Nevermind in the video above, and check out our full interview with the rock legend here. Pick up his new release, The Roadside EP, via his online store or digitally via Amazon.

    Trouble viewing the video above? Watch it on YouTube.

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