LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE April 7, 1990 - Madison, WI, US

Interviewer(s)
CC
Dean
Tyler
Interviewee(s)
Kurt Cobain
Krist Novoselic
Chad Channing
Publisher Title Transcript
WORT Radio The Farm Report TBC
TBC TBC Yes

TBC

© WORT-FM, 1990

[Getting set. Banter. Chad on piano, Krist sings “I Ran”]

[Banter on medicinal marijuana]

CC: you're listening to WORT. We are here with members of Nirvana, playing in town last night at the Club Underground…
TYLER: What an awesome show it was too.
CC: …with fellow SubPop members Tad.
TYLER: The big guy.
CC: The big guy.

CC: So, how’s the band existing as a three-piece?
KRIST: We were always a 3-piece.
CC: Really?
KURT: Yeah.
KRIST: We were only a four piece for about 4 or 5 months, really.
CC: For the record?

KURT: No, Jason Everman did not play on the record.
CC: But his name was put on for sake of the work he put in?
KURT: To make him feel part of the family for five months.

CC: Was there any bad terms in the parting? I suppose there's always going to be a little.
KRIST: Who do you think you are, Rona Barrett?
KURT: The relationship ended in a brutal beating.
KRIST: It was ugly, man.
TYLER: Artistic differences.

[Banter on attacking Jason Everman, shaving his head]

CC: Before we go any further with this nonsensical interview…
[KURT or KRIST]: Nonsense?
CC: …let's cut to Nirvana.
[KURT or KRIST]: [sings guitar riff]

[Readjusting the mics]

[GUY OUTSIDE]: Are you all from the Washington State area or what?
KRIST: Yeah.
KURT: We're from the Bay area.
KRIST: We're from the Washington State area.
KURT: We live all around Pugent Sound.

CC: Let's ask the big question. How did Nirvana come to be?

KRIST: It was a long story. Kurt and I had a job tree-planting, and we got in a fight with these Mexicans.
KURT: We were hired by McDonalds to plant trees.
KRIST: Because they feel guilty, because cows exhale like Methane or something.
CC: So it’s been on McDonald’s conscience. You guys were hired to ease McDonald’s conscience.

KRIST: So we were digging through the dumpster, trying to find the bag where they throw the good food away. Because they only let it be in there for like 10 minutes, and they just throw it out. And we had massive Big Macs, McDLTs, everything, you know? We were feasting.
CC: You guys ate so much, you said, “Hey…
KRIST: “Let's start a band.”
CC: “Let's start a band.” That's classic.

KURT: We were listening to the Gyuto Monks a lot at the time.
KRIST: Mm-hmm. And we were making jewelry and stained glass, and we were grinding crystals.

CC: What ages were you at when you started playing?
KRIST: What was I? Remember in the 6th grade, Kurt…
KURT: That talent contest.
KRIST: … when you had that Muppet drum set, and I had an accordion. And we had a talent show. And we lost. We lost out to a lip-sync band.
KURT: They were lip-syncing to Kiss.

CC: And you were signed to SubPop soon after that?
KRIST: Yeah, soon after that.
KURT: Around ’77, ’78.
KRIST: Yeah.
KURT: Then we moved to Redondo Beach and hung out with members of Red Cross.
CC: And Henry?
KRIST: Henry Rollins.
KURT: Went to the Church, lived there for a while.

[Banter about Guyoto Monks, new age music]

[Banter on New Kids on the Block]

CC: Nirvana’s been recording at Smart Studios. I heard that you weren’t doing…
KRIST: We've been recording at Get Smart Studios. We walk down this big hall, and these doors open up behind us, [sound effect], and this music plays, [sings]. We walk down a phone booth, and fall down it. No, the door slams and it hits us in the nose.

CC: How’s it been recording with Butch Vig?
KRIST: Wonderful. Exciting. Fabulous.
CC: Why did you choose Butch instead of Jack Endino?
KRIST: Jack was out of town.
CHAD: B is way before J in the alphabet.
KURT: We could only get along with somebody for so long.
KRIST: No, it’s just Jack was out of town, trying to make Blue Cheer sound better.

[Banter on Blue Cheer, Jack Endino]

KRIST: We don't live in Seattle, we don't know what's going on.
KURT: We don't know anything. In fact, every time we go to other people’s houses, we say, “Oh, is this a new SubPop single? Let me listen to it.”

[WORT DJs talk about how to introduce a song]

TYLER: So, you guys finished your record? It's in the can, it’s ready to go?
KRIST: No, we're still working on it. We've got some stuff to do.
TYLER: That means you get to spend another week in the Paris of the Midwest, huh? you're still hanging around town to finish it up?
KURT: We're going to be back in town next week some time.

[Piano playing, singing]

[Chad leads banter on favorite colors, cheese]

TYLER: Do you guys have a name for your new record, or a tentative name?
KRIST: Nope.
CHAD: Not yet.
TYLER: Okay. I think you probably did some songs from it last night.
KRIST: Yes.
CHAD: [laughs] Krist. [does a voice] “Yes, well--“

TYLER: There was one I remember, it was like “Dive in the Pain” or something like that?
KURT: “Dive in Me.” It's not about stage diving, either.
TYLER: You did kind of a dive, though, during it.
CHAD: It's about that commercial with the girl--
KRIST: He lost all his change, too.
KURT: Oh, I did lose all my change. I thought people were throwing it at me when I saw it on the floor.

[Banter on 1-900 numbers, chat lines, infomercials]

TYLER: So you guys are quite the culture vultures?
CHAD: “Culture Vultures.”
KRIST: “Culture Vultures,” that's a new one to me.
CHAD: I think that's the name of our new album.

[Banter on late night television, buying TV shows on VHS, Gilligan’s Island; compilation album infomercials; Slim Whitman, Barry Manilow]

CC: Do you guys listen to your fellow label-mates at all?
KURT: Fuck no. I hate that grunge shit.
CC: I was hatin’ even askin’ that question.
TYLER: You get the records free probably, huh?
KRIST: No, we have to buy our own records.
KURT: We aren't even interested in it.

TYLER: Who are some influences of your band, who are some of your major influences? Who’s your main, you know--
CHAD: The Nuge.
TYLER: Ted Nugent?
KURT: The Nuge now, he’s in Damn Yankees. That's our influence.
CHAD: Ted Nugent and that guy from Stix.
KURT: And Tommy Shaw from Stix.

[Banter on bands]

TYLER: That's funny you should say Ted Nugent. I got kind of the impression, I mean, when I first heard the Nirvana album, I thought it had kind of a ‘70s feel to it.
KURT: No, really, I can’t stand Ted Nugent. Unless I'm really drunk. I'm in the white trash mood and I’ve got a bottle of Jack Daniels in my hand.

CC: What does Tad eat?
KURT: Hot dogs.
TYLER: Anything else or just..?
KURT: Just wieners, not even in a bun.
TYLER: Does he use ketchup?
KURT: No. Just plain hot dogs.

[Banter on hot dogs, Hormel union-breakers, Oscar Meyer factory]

TYLER: Do y’all have anything else to say about your record that's going to come out in September, I think, is it?
CHAD: Hopefully.
KURT: If you like Faith No More, don't buy our record.
TYLER: What if you don't like Faith No More?
CHAD: You’ll have a chance of liking us.
KRIST: We’ll give anybody a chance.
CHAD: We’ll give everybody a chance, there you go.

[On WORT playing what they like, not paid off]

CC: I enjoyed how you guys played “Been a Son” and “Stain” right back-to-back last night. Is that a real kind of marketing scam with the whole EP thing?

KRIST: We've had everything analyzed, we've done the demographics to find out what our target audience is, and we know what works for this town. Figures don't lie.
TYLER: Then you arrange your set accordingly?
KRIST: It's a computer print-out does it for us. It just takes in different ratios. Are these hard rock people? Are they more glammy?
KURT: Are they Faith no More fans?
TYLER: Or if you listen to Tad, mostly faggots.
KRIST: Mostly fags and stuff.

[Banter on lice, psoriasis, dermatology]

[Banter on hats with/without brims]

[Banter on a blues show at the Crystal Corner, Kurt’s cheap camera]

KRIST: We went on a trip to China last summer, and we did a video on the Great Wall in rickshaws. It was an expensive video.
CC: For what song?
KURT: Krist took off his shirt and writhed around.
CHAD: He fell off the wall.
CC: I thought that was the name of the song. I was like, “God, you guys are getting a little--“

KRIST: We did it for “Negative Creep.”
DEAN: Oh yeah? Cool.
KRIST: Oh, we were Tiananmen Square too.
CC: Is it getting any play?
KURT: No, we've never bothered sending it out.
CHAD: There was just one little thing, I just didn't like the way my hair was during the whole thing. I ditched it.

KRIST: We did record some videos live in this TV studio with a Chroma Key or something like that. There’s like a blue screen in back of you. It was like an old-time video, you know how they had in the olden days?

[Everyone talks at once]

CC: So, the band making headlines right now is Sound Garden.
KRIST: Sound who?
CHAD: [Raspberry]

[Banter, Tyler complains about Sound Garden]

KRIST: But see, just that whole major label trip, it sucks.
COLEEN: That's what I was kind of touching on.
TYLER: They were so cliché.
KRIST: The business man.

COLEEN: Are you guys like Mudhoney, completely satisfied just staying on SubPop?
KRIST: Oh, yeah.
KURT: I’d rather break up. Well, we're jealous.
CC: you're jealous because Jason’s pretty?
KURT: Because we're bad musicians. I want us to play speed-metal, prog-rock jazz.

[Banter on marketing]

KRIST: All these bands, they sign to a major label, and they get advanced a bunch of money, and then their record doesn't sell so good, or something turns out weird.
DEAN: Then the major label gets pissed off, and then that's the end of that.
CHAD: Well, the major label’s got to do what we want to do or they’ve got to take a hike.

DEAN: What happens is, the band gets on the label, compromises their sound, doesn't sell any records anyway as far as the record company’s concerned, and then turns around, dumps the band, and then the band’s shit out of luck completely, artistically and financially.

CHAD: Yeah, that's why they're basically known as tax write-offs, because then these bands end up owing them, the big labels, money and stuff. So it’s like all they have is these little bands they’ve blown off that they owe money to, so they get all this money coming in on the side that they can use for taxes, and they don't need to touch anything else.

DEAN: Well, yeah, that's correct. You know, Firetown’s almost a perfect example of that, right? They also expect that if the band hits, then the big time hits. Then they're happy.
CHAD: Yeah.
KURT: Major labels are loan companies.
KRIST: It's the devil, man. You can see the symbolism, if you look at every record company-- or every record label and album cover. You can just see the symbolism.

DEAN: I think the root of all evil in the music business is MTV. That has ruined music, 100%, I think.
CHAD: Empty TV.
DEAN: And it’s once again made it unaccessible to bands like Nirvana and SubPop and Tad. Well, Tad has the face I think would work on MTV.
KURT: They rejected a Tad video.
DEAN: Really? Those pricks. Those elitist fucks.

[Dean rants about MTV, they only play post-Stooges Iggy Pop]

KRIST: It's all calculated to be as safe as possible. Because most people don't really care about music, they don't.
DEAN: They just want some kind of smooth entertainment.
KRIST: And so they're just fed that stuff.
DEAN: And so like sheep they just--
KRIST: They eat it up
DEAN: … follow along.
KRIST: It's just to make money. They need listeners so they can here the commercials.

[Piano, singing, banter about Bambi]

[Reviews topics they’ve discussed: major labels, Bambi, cheese, lice]

[Tyler and Dean on Ed Gein]

[Tyler rambles about marijuana, War on Drugs]

KRIST: All drugs are good. It's just that these bonehead mainstream people are doing it, and they're just too dumb to handle it, and so they screw it up for everybody. Before it was like a counterculture thing.

[Chad discusses some girls in the hallway]

[Banter on marital status]

[Banter on Bobcat Goldthwait, Andrew Dice Clay, Godfrey]

[On Lifesavers flavors]

KRIST: (while eating Lifesaver) Welcome to the Krist Novaselic Show. I'm interview Chad, CC, and Ty. We're sitting around this table, we're rapping about some heavy stuff, stuff.

[On NWA]

[Reading bands off Rolling Stones covers]

TYLER: Do you guys get a chance to see a lot of bands while you're out running around?
NIRVANA: No.
KRIST: Opening bands that we think are boring. Most music is boring, face it. Come on. Look at it. Look at it, stark, naked.

KRIST: We played with Tad. We toured Europe with Tad.
TYLER: Really? I can’t think of anybody I’d rather go to Europe with than Tad.
KRIST: Really? He was great. That was the best part of our whole trip.
CC: Did Tad headline all the shows?
KRIST: We switched on and off each night.
KURT: Kind of took turns.
KRIST: We were in Berlin the day after the wall went down.

CC: How do you like what Tad’s done with Steve Albini?
KURT: It's great.
KRIST: Beautiful. It brings a tear to my eye and a lump in my throat.

[CC on Steve Albini being over-produced]

KRIST: Well, I really like what we're doing with Butch Vig. That guy’s a good producer, man. [Does a western accent] If you want to talk producers, why don't we talk about Butch Vig?
CC: Tell us about Butch Vig.

KRIST: This guy has a studio over here in Madison, and he’ll give you the righteous sounds to make you happening.
KURT: The righteous sounds of Firetown.
KRIST: [Does a radio voice] The Hot Sounds of the 90s are coming out of Madison Wisconsin, yessiree. Nirvana’s in the studio now, recording their follow-up record to Bleach. They're high on dope.

COLEEN: Was it early in the morning to late at night?
KRIST: No. It was like 1 or 2 in the afternoon until 1’o’clock at night. [Whispers] We started recording at Midnight until dawn.
CC: How many days did you spend in Smart?
KRIST: Oh, five days.

[Tyler and Kurt on Genesis, Wang Chung]

[Bass drum]

JEFF: Did you ever play basketball?
KRIST: “How tall are your parents?” “Are your brother and sister tall?” “I bet you have a hard time finding shoes.” “How’s the weather up there?”
CHAD: Krist played for the Boston Celtics for two years.
KRIST: I played for the national team of Yugoslavia. We toured Eastern Europe. We took USSR to the play-offs. It was in Prague.

[On Shocking Blue]

[Doing sarcastic IDs for “Nocturnal Emissions” on WORT]

KRIST: [Doing a voice] “We are from Nirvana, and you're listening WORT, the Nocturnal Emissions show.”

[Chad oinks, does an ID for the farm report]

© WORT-FM, 1990