Two decades later, Nirvana producer Butch Vig admits: I had no idea Dave Grohl could shred

As the Foo Fighters await word on whether they’ll claim any of the amazing six Grammys they’re up for on Sunday, frontman Dave Grohl and producer Butch Vig reminisced about their initial project together: Nirvana’s supernova hit Nevermind.

While Grohl sings and plays lead on Wasting Light, the Foo Fighters’ mega-nominated seventh album, he was tucked away at the drums as a member of Nirvana, singing only the occasional harmony behind the late Kurt Cobain.

“I’m pretty sure that was before my testicles dropped,” Grohl quipped, in a Q&A with the Hollywood Reporter.

Close listens to Nevermind, however, reveal a interlocking brilliance in the shared vocals with Cobain. You have to wonder if Vig sensed that Grohl could one day step into the lead singer’s spotlight.

“I didn’t really know,” said Vig, who returned for the first time since the days of Nirvana to produce the all-analog Wasting Light with Grohl. “I knew he had a great voice from day one because he sang a lot of the harmony vocals and his voice blended great with Kurt’s. A couple times in the studio, he picked up the guitar and would play, but I had no idea that he could shred on the guitar.”

Grohl had a theory about that, too: “Well, Kurt was a left-handed guitar player — so the only guitars sitting around were fuckin’ lefties. I played like I didn’t know how to play guitar.”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Foo Fighters and Butch Vig’s band Garbage. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

FOO FIGHTERS – WASTING LIGHT (2011): This is a big album. Foo Fighters blew up years ago, making themselves a household name, but for the first time it feels like maybe they’ve created something beyond themselves, something so surprisingly good that it should be almost a crime to dislike. Maybe that’s an overstatement, but this feels like reinvention of what the Foo Fighters are, and a triumphant one at that.

ONE TRACK MIND: GARBAGE, “WHO’S GONNA RIDE YOUR WILD HORSES?” (2011): All hail the long-awaited return of the ass-kicking rebel chick Shirley Manson and her scraggly band of alterno-rockers in Garbage. For a time, in the mid-1990s, her all-attitude vocals and sado inspired-outfits seemed to be everywhere. Then, poof — until now, as their version of “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses,” from U2’s Achtung Baby, heralded a return of Manson and Co. to the studio.

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