Kurt Cobain Re-Edited 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' Music Video (Video)
Nirvana's music video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" could have looked completely different.
"I like the video overall, but it wasn't what I pictured in my mind," Kurt Cobain told MTV News in an interview on Dec. 13, 1993. "When I come up with an idea with a video, I want it to be translated exactly how I see it in my mind … and it just wasn't that way."
The Nirvana frontman wasn't happy with how the final version of "Teen Spirit" looked, so he decided at the last minute to go in and re-edit it himself.
Cobain explained that the band, which left Seattle-based indie record label Sub Pop to Geffen/DGC, didn't allow itself ample time to prepare themselves for the music video shoot.
"We didn't prepare ourselves enough to have as much control as we wanted to," he said.
Cobain noted that "Teen Spirit," directed by Sam Bayer, wasn't what he had originally visualized in his mind or when he was drafting the music video, instead that "it looked like a Time-Life commercial to me, with that backdrop, it just looked … too contemporary," adding that it seemed like a commercial "where people are sitting there trying to sell aspirin or something."
He added, "Even after Sam had edited it … and sent it to me and I didn't like it, and I flew down at the last minute to L.A. and edited it myself. I threw in a few extra things which pretty much saved it."
Cobain said that "a lot" of Bayer's footage (he described it as "good") wasn't used in the final product.
"If a lot of that hadn't been used, it would have been a really bad video," Cobain said. "There wasn't really a lot of that, and most of the stuff that was used looked contrived. There was no spontaneity in it. So I threw all the spontaneous parts in."
Cobain died in 1994.
Watch Cobain's 1993 interview below: