Here’s What It Took to Appear In Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Video
By Marissa G. Muller
If you’ve ever wondered how the disaffected kids in the bleacher stands were chosen for Nirvana’s iconic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, take a look at this casting call.
Consequence of Sound has posted an image of the casting call for the video, which was shot in 1991.
The band was searching for 18-25 year olds in logo-less clothing who could “adapt a high-school persona, i.e. preppy, punk, nerd, jock…” for the video, which took inspiration from The Ramones’ musical comedy Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.
Little did they know they’d be subjected to having to hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on repeat for hours to make their boredom more realistic.
As the story goes, after 12 hours of shooting, the extras became so restless they trashed the set — reportedly with Kurt Cobain’s blessing, who had been clashing with director Samuel Bayer over his narrative-driven approach.
Cobain, who welcomed the chaos, told Michael Azerrad, the author of Nirvana’s definitive biography Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, “Once the kids came out dancing they just said ‘fuck you,’ because they were so tired of this shit throughout the day.”