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Butch Vig in Madison's Smart Studios.
|Birth name||Bryan David Vig|
|Also known as||Nevermind Man|
|Born||August 2, 1955|
|Origin||Viroqua, Wisconsin, United States|
Bryan David "Butch" Vig (born August 2, 1955), nicknamed the Nevermind Man, is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer, best known as the drummer and co-producer of the alternative rock band Garbage and the producer of diamond-selling album Nevermind by Nirvana.
A native of Wisconsin, Vig had been based in Madison for much of his career, from studying at the University of Wisconsin, to performing in local bands Spooner and Fire Town, and then to setting up his own recording studio, Smart Studios, with bandmate Steve Marker in the town. After becoming well known as a producer, he formed and played drums with Garbage, who sold 17 million records over a ten-year period. Vig returned to producing full-time once Garbage went on hiatus in 2005. The band reconvened in 2010 to record material for their fifth album.
Butch Vig was born Bryan David Vig to Dr. DeVerne and Betty Vig, a music teacher, in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Vig has two siblings, Chris and Lisa. Vig acquired the nickname Butch as a child, due to the severe crew cut his father gave him. Vig studied piano for six years. After seeing The Who perform on The Smothers Brothers, he swapped his piano for a $60 drum kit.
While a student at the University of Wisconsin, Vig met his eventual Garbage bandmate Steve Marker. Vig contributed several electronic music soundtrack pieces to low-budget films, including one song on Slumber Party Massacre, a Hollywood B-movie. This soundtrack work stirred Vig's interest in the manipulation of sound. Vig joined a number of garage pop bands, including Eclipse, and in 1978 formed Spooner with Duke Erikson, Dave Benton, Jeff Walker and Joel Tappero.
The following year, Vig helped Marker to build a home studio in Marker's basement. Marker and Vig also started a small label, Boat Records, to release records of both Spooner – which included their 1979 debut EP, "Cruel School" – and other bands they liked, which led to around twenty local acts. The self-producing was later described by Vig as "kind of a trial by fire".
In 1984, Vig and Marker founded Smart Studios in Madison, while still performing drums in Spooner at night and driving a taxi cab during the day. When Spooner lost momentum, Vig formed a band called First Person with Marker and Phil Davis and a side-project called Fire Town featuring Davis and Erikson. Fire Town quickly became Vig's priority, and after their first album were signed to Atlantic Records. Atlantic hired producer Michael Frondelli to work with Fire Town on their second album. While the sessions did not do well, and the resulting record sank, Vig learned a lot of production techniques from the process. Fire Town split, and Vig reformed Spooner for a final album before Vig's production work became a full-time career for him.
Vig's first high-profile production work was in 1991, when he produced albums by two bands, The Smashing Pumpkins' Gish and Nirvana's Nevermind. Vig incorporated overdubs and vocal doubletracking, whereas Nirvana's previous album, Bleach (produced by Jack Endino) had a more "lo-fi" sound. Kurt Cobain originally refused to double-track his vocals and guitars but Vig reportedly got him to comply by saying "John Lennon double-tracked". Cobain would later criticize Vig for the album's slickness, although this might be due to Andy Wallace's mixing of the album. Cobain said that "Butch Vig...recorded the album perfectly," in a 1993 MTV interview. Billy Corgan welcomed Vig's elaborate production on The Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream. This album met with positive commercial and critical reception, also breaking another indie band into the mainstream. Vig also produced two critically praised Sonic Youth albums, 1992's Dirty and 1994's Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.
In 2003, Vig worked with AFI to produce their first major label album with DreamWorks, Sing the Sorrow. Vig worked with Jimmy Eat World on their sixth album, Chase This Light, released in October 2007. He is also working on soundtracks for two new movies. His first production for an English band was 2008's All or Nothing by The Subways. He also worked with Against Me!, producing their two Sire Records releases, New Wave and White Crosses, as well as working with singer Laura Jane Grace on her solo EP, Heart Burns. Vig produced the eighth studio album by Green Day, 2009's 21st Century Breakdown, which won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. Recently, Vig has been partnered in duties by his engineer and mixer Billy Bush who also worked on Garbage's albums and live tours.
Vig composed and produced the soundtrack for the film The Other Side. In 2009 Vig recorded two new tracks for the long-awaited greatest hits release by the Foo Fighters, most notably the single "Wheels" and ultimately produced their April 2011 follow-up, Wasting Light. In 2010, Vig produced Muse's single, "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)," which was featured on the Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack.
Vig stated, "Part of the reason why I started Garbage was that by the time I'd done 'Nevermind,' I'd recorded – I swear to God – 1,000 bands that were just guitar-bass-drums. I was reading about all these other records that I was getting excited about – like Public Enemy using a sampler in the studio – and I just decided I wanted to do a bit of a U-turn." Afterwards, they hired Scottish singer Shirley Manson and began composing together.
Garbage released a string of singles in 1995–1996, including "Stupid Girl" and "Only Happy When It Rains". Their debut album, Garbage, was an unexpected smash, selling over 4 million copies and certified double platinum in the UK, United States and Australia. Garbage won the Breakthrough Artist award at the 1996 MTV Europe Music Awards. The band then spent two years working on follow-up album, Version 2.0, which topped the charts in the UK upon its 1998 release and the following year was nominated for two Grammy Awards, Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. Version 2.0 went on to match the sales of its predecessor. Garbage followed this up by performing and co-producing the theme song to the nineteenth James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.
Despite being named one of Rolling Stone's Top 10 Albums of The Year, Garbage's 2001 third album Beautiful Garbage failed to match the commercial success achieved by its predecessors. Garbage quietly disbanded in late 2003, but regrouped to complete fourth album Bleed Like Me in 2005, peaking at a career-high #4 in the U.S. The band cut short their concert tour in support of Bleed Like Me announcing an "indefinite hiatus", emphasizing that they had not broken up, but wished to pursue personal interests. In 2006, Vig returned to producing while Manson worked on a solo album (as yet unreleased). Garbage ended their hiatus in 2007, and released greatest hits retrospective Absolute Garbage. Worldwide, the band have sold over 17 million albums. The band got back together in 2010 and began recording their new album, Not Your Kind of People, which was released internationally on May 14, 2012. This was followed by Strange Little Birds, released on June 10, 2016.
Vig served as the record producer, or co-producer on the following records:
Butch Vig has remixed songs for the following artists: Against Me!, Ash, Beck, The Cult, Depeche Mode, EMF, Fun Lovin' Criminals, House of Pain, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Alanis Morissette, Nine Inch Nails, Michael Penn, M.O.P and U2, as well as his own band Garbage.
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