LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE October 24, 1990 - London, UK
- Keith Kahn Harris
- Julian Carrera
- Kurt Cobain
- Krist Novoselic
On their last visit to Britain, Nirvana blew a major part of the gig-going cognicenti - in London at any rates - away with a blistering performance at the Astoria, the venue where, eleven months earlier they had propped up the Sub Pop invasion bill (behind Tad and, yes, you guessed it, Mudhoney). Well, what with grunge gurus Mudhoney seemingly long gone, it would appear that the throne is open to either Tad or Nirvana, and in the case of the latter, they've made a damn fine bid with the fab single “Sliver”. It's the song just about all of us have in us, a tale of the helplessness of a youngster left to stay over at his grandparents while mom and paw go out. Not an indie/core “Another Day In Paradise” by any means, but a fair entrance into the warped sense of importance of this deranged bunch of successful American musicians. Kerosene, ably assisted by Keith forced entry backstage and demanded a summit with Nirvana's Kurdt Kobain (guitar/vocals) and Chris Novoselic (very tall bass player) before previously mentioned Astoria gig. Apologies for lack of any good original photos.
Kerosene: So what happened to the hair?
Kurdt: Well, it's gone…
Chris: We live near this big nuclear plant, and it's falling out.
Kurdt: I have cancer.
Kerosene: Is that a problem if you're in a band?
Kurdt: We know when the band will end… pretty soon.
Chris: He's taken it pretty well too. What a guy.
Kurdt: I have spinabifida also.
Chris: I'm a nark so I have to have short hair.
Chris: Narcotics detective. I bust teenyboppers taking pot.
Kurdt: I thought you were an informer…
Chris: That's a nark. Norbert the nark.
Kurdt: I thought you were just a narcoleptic (dictionaries out children).
Chris: Well, yeah…
Kurdt: We've all got these diseases; we collect them.
Kerosene: Does that come through in the music?
Just then, in rushed Anton, Nirvana's British press bloke, screaming hysterically about the queue going all round the block.
Kerosene: Things are going well then.
Chris: Obviously yeah. Well, we haven't played yet.
Kerosene: When you play places like here, does it bother you at all that they're not really friendly to fans, you know, they beat you up if you stage dive…
Chris: They do that here? Awww…
Kerosene: DRI played here - several people were hospitalized.
Chris: That's awful. I've got beat up before. We try to tell the guys to mellow out. Those guys are fuckin' bastards. No one's gonna change them.
Kurdt: The last time we played here I got in a big scuffle with all the security but I talked my way out of it.
Kerosene: Is it the same in the States?
Chris: It just depends.
Kerosene: How long are you on the road for each year?
Kurdt: Jeez, we've been on the road for a couple of years.
Kerosene: Do you ever get bored of touring?
Chris: You get bored on tour. I don't think you'll get bored of touring. Touring is always fun when you're going out and playing.
Kerosene: So, you're not bored of playing. It's the things inbetween.
Kurdt: Especially in the States. You can have a long drive.
Kerosene: When do you write your songs?
Kerosene: Talk us through “Sliver”…
Kurdt: That wasn't a personal experience of mine, it was just about a kid who was 3 and has to be away from his parents (even though they were his grandparents), just havin' a bad day. You know how kids can have a really bad day where they'll just keep falling down and getting in trouble and crying all day.
Kerosene: Lyrically, you seem far and away more conscientious than some of your peers…
Kurdt: They're becoming more important. For a while it was just whatever wording I could use that was going with what pronunciation I was singing at the time. It was just like “blaaagh, blaaagh” in a different language. I just threw in words.
“Sliver” would later be the bands encore; seeing as it has not long been released over here, I can't imagine that many people had heard it then. Still, it managed to warm the hearts and souls of the baying throng (ahem) and immediately, stagediving a gogo, the audience lapped it up as they should. It's a great song.
Kerosene: I noticed the beard. Too long on the road?
Kurdt: Just lazy. I've hardly ever shaved in my life. In fact since I reached puberty - I don't think I've fully reached puberty because right here (a chin dimple) I'm still bald. I just clip it, I've had this beard for the last five years. I don't want to shave every day. I shave my legs though. That's a different story.
Kerosene: Italian men shave their legs.
Chris: Do you like sh - no…
Kerosene: Locker room talk…
Chris: Yeah, I'll have to give up track.
As dressing room mates L7 get ready for their impending set (and excellent it was too) Kurdt and various members are swapping makeup tips.
Kerosene: So, you're turning into Kiss.
Chris: When I'm in my bedroom alone I wear this zebra striped g-string, and these feathers all over my body, and I dance in front of the mirror.
Kerosene: So, you have a really visually interesting stage costume?
Chris: Yeah, check it out later.
Kerosene: Is this something you'd like to incorporate into your act in time?
Chris: It just depends on what's going on you know, nothing is ever really planned - it just happens, one day grow a beard, shave it off, cut your hair, let it grow; Do you ever do that - just get sick of yourself so you have to do something?
Kurdt: I'm sick of my penis. I think I'll split it.
Kerosene: What about genital piercing?
Chris: I'd like to get a Prince Albert, but I haven't got the guts to do it. I'd only have to do it for my wife.
Kerosene: Do you tour with her?
Chris: I'd like to eventually.
Kerosene: Does it make things difficult?
Chris: Sure; I'm into lurve.
Kerosene: Is she into Nirvana?
Kurdt: No, she hates us. She is constantly trying to get us broken up.
Chris: She's like Yoko Ono. In the recording studio she sits right next to me. And there's all this animosity and everyone's quiet. And then on our next record she’s gonna sing “ni ni ni ni ni” back up vocals.
That sounds ominous. Still, what with David Geffen's megabucks behind them now, anything, as they say, is possible.
Kerosene: That gig here last December seemed difficult. Was it?
Chris: That was hell.
Kurdt: It was a pain in the arse.
Chris: But these things happen. Some shows are good, some shows are bad, some shows are ok, some shows are kinda alright…
Kerosene: And other shows?
Chris: Are excellent, hot, dynamite, dynamic, ripping…
And with that we called it a day (only because down the backstage Astoria passages I could hear the distant strains of L7), took some very poor photos (very very poor) and left. The improvement from last year's show was incredible, as they were on outstanding form. And with no security problems to tell of. It was a staggering evening. Oh and Chris, thanks for trying to set me and Keith up…
© Julian Carrera & Keith Kahn Harris, 1990