Dave Grohl Set Fire to His Own Ass During Nirvana's 'In Utero' Session

Krist Novoselic lit a cigar off the drummer's burning butt

BY Alex HudsonPublished Oct 23, 2023

Nirvana are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their 1993 album In Utero with an expanded reissue, and the surviving members of the band have shared an incendiary anecdote from the studio: the time drummer Dave Grohl intentionally lit his own ass on fire.

Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic, along with producer Steve Albini, reminisced about the recording sessions during an appearance on the podcast Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend. Grohl noted that the band finished recording the drum tracks within a few days, leaving him with nothing to do in the small town of Cannon Falls, MN.

"These guys would play with lighter fluid," Novoselic said of how they spent their downtime, and Albini clarified that it was actually a cleaning solvent used to clean tape heads and other studio gear. "It's a very pure alcohol that burns off, so you can put it on your hand and set your hand on fire, like, 'Oh look, I'm the human torch,'" the producer said. "You get bored with setting regular things on fire and then you start setting other people on fire."

This led to Conan O'Brien asking what kinds of things they set on fire. "My ass. We did that one," Grohl quickly responded. "I think you [Novoselic] lit a cigar off of my ass while that was on fire." Apparently there's photographic evidence that this took place.

Conan asked the guys if they could smell anything cooking, to which Grohl responded, "Just our hot tracks." Ba-dum-tss.

The big In Utero box set is out October 27.

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