Behold, the casting call that ultimately changed music forever.
As you can see the casting call for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video is pretty specific, asking that extras be between 18 and 25 and “adapt a high-school persona, i.e., preppy, punk, nerd, jock…” The music video, filmed at Culver City, California’s GMT Studios, was directed by Samuel Bayer (who has also directed music videos for Justin Timberlake, Green Day and Marilyn Manson), and basically showed what happens when a school concert ends in chaos.
In Michael Azerrad’s Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain stated that he convinced Bayer to let the extras mosh, which is how the video’s final and iconic moments came to be. “Once the kids came out dancing they just said ‘f*ck you,’ because they were so tired of this sh*t throughout the day,” Cobain said.
But ultimately, the contributions of Bayer, Nirvana and, most importantly, the extras, led to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” being one of the biggest music videos of all time. It premiered on MTV’s 120 Minutes, on Sept. 29, 1991, and, well, nothing was the same. The video would lead to Nirvana winning the Best New Artist and Best Alternative Group awards at the 1992 MTV Music Video Awards, and redefine what a music video could be like. And to think that it only costs the guys somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000.
(Via History Of Sound)