This is the casting call flyer that Kurt Cobain and the rest of Nirvana personally handed out at The Roxy in Los Angeles the day before shooting the Aug. 17, 1991, video for their iconic 1990s classic, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The flyer worked so well that hundreds of Cobain fans were turned away at the door.
The band wanted 18-25 year olds (so not quite high-schoolers) to take on a “high school persona, ie., preppy, punk, nerd, jock … “
Cobain convinced the video’s director to allow the extras, who had been forced to sit on the bleachers and watch the shoot for hours, to join in on the video’s final mosh pit scene and destroy the soundstage. “The last 30 seconds of that video is those kids destroying the set and I just happened to have a roll of film in the camera,” then-first time director Samuel Bayer said.
Cobain told author Michael Azerrad that “Once the kids came out dancing they just said ‘fuck you,’ because they were so tired of this shit throughout the day.”
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”—shot in Culver City’s GMT Studios—cost between $30,000 and $50,000 to make and went on to win two MTV Video Music Awards. It’s known as the anthem for apathetic kids.
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