That Time Nirvana Prank Called Gene Simmons While Recording ‘In Utero’
Steve Albini, who famously produced Nirvana’s In Utero among dozens of classic underground albums, has shared a story of when he and the pivotal grunge band pulled a prank on KISS’ Gene Simmons.
Numerous prank phone calls were made during the In Utero sessions, including one to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder where Nirvana and Albini pretended to be longtime David Bowie producer Tony Visconti. Another involved tricking Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando with an impression of Madonna’s manager.
However, the most decadent prank call was made to Gene Simmons, who wanted Nirvana to be a part of a KISS tribute album. “They didn’t want to do it,” Albini tells the whatever, nevermind podcast (as heard below). “But they didn’t particularly want to talk to Gene Simmons so they had me call and pretend to be Kurt [Cobain]. That was pretty funny.”
“Basically I sort of bumbled through an excuse that would allow them to not do it without having to say they didn’t want to be on a KISS tribute record. They were very fun-loving people. I enjoyed that session, they were fun to hang around with.”
Listen to the full podcast below and check out Albini’s prank call story at roughly 55 minutes into the interview.
Nirvana and KISS were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Though KISS did not perform, the surviving members of Nirvana reunited for a performance for the first time in 20 years, being led by four female singers.