Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Nirvana’s cello player

There was a short period of time in the grunge era when a series of bands discovered that using a cello could add a real sense of gravitas to music. Some of the more famous grunge-and-cello songs came from Nirvana, most notably on the In Utero album with songs like “All Apologies” and “Dumb.”

Interesting, though, that we’ve never heard much about the person who played those cello parts. Her name was Kera Schaley. She was brought in by producer Steve Albini for a couple of days and was asked to come up with her parts on the spot. Kera recorded everything in three takes.

However, Albini didn’t like the results and fought with Kurt to have them removed from the songs. Kurt disagreed and the cello stayed.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: Nirvana’s cello player

  • Hah I remember this being a big part of Therapy?’s sound in that era.


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