Local Current Blog

Steve Albini selling microphones used by Nirvana at Minnesota’s Pachyderm Studio

The Pachyderm Studio control room, photographed in 2015 (Nate Ryan/MPR)

Producer Steve Albini is selling three microphones used by Nirvana during the 1993 recording sessions for In Utero at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.

One Electro-Voice PL20 and two Lomo 19A9s used to record Kurt Cobain’s vocals and Dave Grohl’s drums are going up for auction at Reverb.com next Thursday, Sept. 21 — the 24th anniversary of the album’s release. To announce the sale, Reverb released a video in which Albini explains at length how he was able to identify the specific microphones from his collection by referencing a photo that surfaced for the album’s 20th anniversary reissue. He says that both Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic gave their blessings for the sale to proceed.

Albini says he brought the mics with him for the session, and they’ve since remained in use at his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. Though Albini doesn’t specifically mention Pachyderm in the video, it’s clear from the photo that it was taken during the two-week Minnesota session: you can even see the February snow out the studio’s easily recognizable windows.

After falling into neglect for years, Pachyderm has recently been revived and is now the venue for sessions by current artists such as Hippo Campus, Haley, Dead Man Winter, and the Suburbs. Recently, Babes in Toyland’s Lori Barbero told Andrea Swensson about taking Cobain shopping at the Mall of America for In Utero cover shoot props while Nirvana were in the area recording the album.