Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The squeaks in Nirvana’s Drain You

Chances are you’ve listened to Nirvana’s Nevermind album a million times. Track eight on the CD is called Drain You and for the most part is a straightforward Kurt Cobain song. But about 90 seconds into the song, there’s a breakdown of freakout guitar playing along with some mysterious squeaks. What’s happening there?

Kurt had some toys in the studio that day, including a rubber duck and a squeaky mouse. With the tape rolling, Kurt picked them up and started squeezing them. Some reverb, delay, and other processing were used to give them those weird sounds.

And all those weird machine-like sounds? That’s Kurt just goofing into the microphone.

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.

Alan Cross has 38529 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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