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Nirvana Touring Guitarist Pat Smear Reminisces About Band’s Final Year

Pat Smear
Mike Lawrie, Getty Images

As the Sept. 24 release date of the 20th anniversary reissue of Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’ approaches, touring guitarist Pat Smear is reflecting on that era. Smear joined the band in 1993.

The guitarist tells Rolling Stone how he came to join NIrvana. “It was an unexpected phone call from Kurt (Cobain), and I jumped at it,” Smear recalls. “I was a fan, like everyone else. I had actually read an interview with them not too long before he called me, where he said Nirvana was always meant to be four people. I thought, ‘Wow, I want that.’ And then it happened.”

Smear was then given an unmastered cassette version of ‘In Utero’ by Cobain. “I was blown away,” he says. “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. 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.’”

Smear’s first gig with Nirvana was on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ He was also a part of the band’s final tour in the fall of 1993. Cobain killed himself in April of 1994. Smear would go on to form a lasting musical friendship with Dave Grohl in the aftermath of Nirvana. He joined Foo Fighters in 1995, left in 1997, and came back in 2006.

Nirvana has returned to the forefront this year with the 20th anniversary reissue of ‘In Utero.’ In addition to a remastered version of the original album, the 70-song, three-disc 20th anniversary edition of ‘In Utero’ is jam-packed with extra material, such as 40 previously unreleased demos, B-sides and never-before-heard instrumentals. A remastered recording of a 1993 Seattle concert is also included along with a DVD of the MTV broadcast of the show and rehearsal footage.

Readers Poll: Favorite Nirvana - 'In Utero' Song

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