This is the first installment of Nevermind Miami, a tribute to the generation-defining album Nirvana released 20 years ago, on September 24, 1991. To commemorate the occasion, we have asked local musicians to cover each of the 13 songs on the original release. We will be posting the covers throughout September in no particular order.
First up is Baby B Strings with “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. To learn more about the group, visit babybstrings.com and check out our brief interview with violinist Belinda Ho from early August. Music writer and Roofless Records chief Matt Preira contributed the companion article.
It was the summer of 1997 when the opening riff of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” brightly burst out of the bombed-out speakers of my Sony boombox. The station was the now-defunct 94.9 Zeta, South Florida’s FM rock outlet for over 19 years before it was reformatted in 2005 as a Reggaeton station and then, ultimately, Spanish Top 40.
I was 11 and was listening in as part of my beginner’s education as a late-blooming “head banger”. You can bet rock and roll in north residential Miami Beach at the end of the ’90s came out looking funny. My mother only indulged big pants to a point but approved of my allowance money going toward Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind cassettes. Those Casey Kasem-friendly alt tapes built a bridge to Metallica CDs which, in turn, led to Zeta, which had a whole program devoted to the heaviest band I had ever heard.