Many places will happily lay claim to being the birthplace of grunge—but one of the most legit contenders wasn’t anywhere near Seattle. Smart Studios was opened in 1982 in Madison, Wisconsin, by musician-producers Butch Vig and Steve Marker, and the studio’s early output via bowel-bludgeoning bands like Die Kreuzen, Killdozer, and Laughing Hyenas greatly influenced the sound (if not the earning potential) of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. Now a new documentary, The Smart Studios Story, will tell that tale—that is, if the film’s Kickstarter campaign is successful. Not only did Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins wind up recording at Smart themselves (Nirvana recorded “Polly” from Nevermind at Smart, as well as the demo that got them signed to a major label and the 1990 B-side “Dive” that later wound up on Incesticide; soon after, Smashing Pumpkins recorded its debut album Gish there), a slew of other great bands, large and small, did as well, up to and including the band Vig and Marker formed, Garbage.
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