LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE August 22, 1991 - London, UK

Interviewer(s)
Crazy Chris
Interviewee(s)
Kurt Cobain
Krist Novoselic
Dave Grohl
Publisher Title Transcript
Rockview Interviews Nirvana Yes

Crazy Chris: By the sound of it tomorrow is gonna be like you're playing at home or something, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr…

Kurt: Yeah, all of our friends will be there, everyone we know practically.

Dave: It's weird, it's like all those bands are on one stage. Now they have 2 stages… I've never been to Reading before, so I don't know what it's like.

Crazy Chris: I don't know what it's like, 'cause it used to be run by the people who have the Marquee club, they used to have 2 stages, so when one band is onstage the other one is being set-up for the next one…

Kurt: Right, so it just turns around?

Crazy Chris: I dunno how…

Dave: I heard like 30,000 people fucking run [burps] like a herd of cows! I dunno if that's true?

Crazy Chris: It's possible. There used to be 2 stages with a sort of ramp area in-between for the guests.

Dave: Yeah, don't they get showered with, like, piss and bottles?

Kurt: Yeah right, like the VIP people, like industry people in these, like, plastic enclosures or something?

Crazy Chris: No, no it's just like an area in the middle…

Kurt: Oh, I see.

Crazy Chris: But it used to be funny 'cause the habit at Reading was to throw things at people, so they'd throw across over this guest area, so you'd be in-between… things falling short…

Kurt: Cool.

Dave: [laughs]

Kurt: That's hilarious.

Crazy Chris: Umm… what's the beer you wouldn't drink, in LA?

Kurt: The beer we drink??

Crazy Chris: I read a story in Kerrang! It said that you were playing at the Hollywood Palladium… and you wouldn't drink some kind of beer…

Kurt: Oh, we don't drink Budweiser.

Krist: It was Coors, was it Coors? We shouldn't drink Coors Beer?

Kurt: Coors is unpasteurized, we don't drink Coors very often, but Budweiser… it seems every time we get beer brought backstage it's Budweiser, I mean… the stuff tastes like piss… it's not even real piss with really good vitamins in it, it's just watered-down piss.

Dave: Yeah, it's really bad! I saw an Advertisement the other day that said, "Budweiser, the best reason in the world to drink beer!"

Kurt: Best reason in the world?

Dave: In fucking Ireland, ya know?!

Crazy Chris: Well ya know, one thing that pisses me off about Budweiser is that the ads in America, it's like the good working people, the good Americans drink that, it's like if you don't drink Budweiser you're an outcast or a weirdo.

Kurt: Yeah, the working class deserve Budweiser…

Crazy Chris: Yeah, it sucks… the way they portray this beer.

Kurt: Yeah, it just proves you could feed them… you could feed the general public anything, whether it's Vanilla Ice or pissy beer…

Crazy Chris: Well, it's funny you say that because I had that impression when I saw Mudhoney the other night. They played 10 days ago, and I… and they were… it was the second show they were playing at the Astoria… and they were VERY drunk.

Kurt: Uh huh.

Crazy Chris: So half way through the set, they just started breaking away… OK we had the drummer playing bass…

Dave: Wow!

Kurt: Cool, sounds like a big fun party, man!

Crazy Chris: Ya know he was going to the front, singing in the microphone and just goin' into the crowd and nearly got dragged in… at one point he was upside-down with his drum kit, I got a picture of him with his feet up, you can't see his head, ya know… and the singer was playing drums… umm ya know…

Kurt: Sounds like fun! Like a big party!

Dave: What did ya think it sucked or…?

Crazy Chris: I dunno!! It just gave me the impression that you can give the crowd anything and they just dig it… I mean people were going mad!!

Kurt: It seems like, umm…

Crazy Chris: If it's a joke, fine but… ya know, it went on for too long… half an hour, 40 minutes of that… being silly and playing off-key and…

Kurt: It's just I think they could get away with that because they played England so many times… and they don't really have… they don't have a real long list of songs, ya know? They only have a couple albums out, so, people have heard them play practically all their songs at least twice, ya know? So, I think that's a good idea, instead of just feeding them the same repetition every time, I think they just wanted to have a good party atmosphere, and just be one with the audience and just share something with them instead of… ya know, they just wanna break down those barriers of them being big rockstars, I think they do it really well.

Crazy Chris: So your saying you agree with what they do?

Kurt: Oh definitely! I love to do stuff like that, the most fun times I've ever had playing shows are in parties… ya know… parties in our hometown… in front of 30 people, drunk, writhing around on top of each other, playing nothing but noise, just for a good time!

Crazy Chris: Well, you could afford to do that as well, you've been to England a few times… I mean, you can't do that at Reading, that might not go down too well.

Dave: Maybe we should?

Kurt: Well… you never know, we do it every once in a while, so… if we feel like it tomorrow, it depends on how drunk we are.

Crazy Chris: [laughs] Yeah, you tend to trash things a bit…

Kurt: Yeah, we used to trash things a lot more then we do now.

Crazy Chris: Why more than now? 'cause you don't drink as much?

Kurt: Well, it's just getting kinda boring. It started to be kinda contrived or repetitious, everyone was expecting it all the time, so… it's time to tone down now, umm just for now, who knows what we'll do next year, we might have… we might shoot ourselves out of cannons, walk on tight ropes, light ourselves on fire, put our heads in lions' mouths…

Crazy Chris: You don't wanna call yourselves a political band, but you seem to be a lot more aware and into serious stuff than a lot of other bands are.

Kurt: I don't think we are anymore aware of injustices than any other bands, ya know, I don't think we are anymore aware, but it's just that…

Crazy Chris: Well, you come across as…

Kurt: We're just a bit more pissed off, we're probably more pissed off about it so we speak our minds more often, then a lot of bands do. There aren't many bands… there aren't very many current bands who feel it's worth the trouble to speak politically at all. It just goes in cycles, I think a political consciousness is starting to come up again in underground music, it died out a few years ago 'cause hardcore became pretty exhausted, and so I think it's just reverting back to that same kinda energy, I feel a pretty good vibe from it. I notice there a few bands just starting to speak out a bit more, so I'm kinda excited about it.

Crazy Chris: Um… well you mean a few bands… are you talkin' about your kinda music, or are you talking about the Seattle scene?

Kurt: Umm… maybe just underground bands in general, not necessarily the Seattle scene, I mean, I think the Seattle scene especially are… [pauses a moment]… the Seattle scene is one of the first scenes who denied being political before a lot of other scenes did, I think. It was almost taboo…

Dave: The whole political thing almost seemed like… such a fad for a while.

Kurt: Yeah, everything turns into a fad.

Dave: First it was the social political, then it was the emotional political and then, ya know, bands just sorta fed off of these other bands' politics and grouped into certain categories, ya know there's Crass and there's Conflict, and bands like that…

Crazy Chris: Black Flag, as you were saying before…

Kurt: Yeah, they were…

Dave: Do you consider them a political band?

Kurt: More of an emotional political band, I think they dealt with one-on-one subjects instead of just an overall ideal.

Dave: Well, I mean in comparison to a band like the Dead Kennedys, ya know of that era, there's the Dead Kennedys, er…

Crazy Chris: I think it died out a lot quicker over here than it did in America.

Dave: Oh, I'm sure there's still a ton of it goin' on in America, ya know, smaller hardcore bands…

Crazy Chris: In England when… in Europe when punk just started going out, ya know there was bands like Exploited, GBH and stuff like that, but they never reached more than just their core fans, and that was it… They were not an influence, like Black Flag were an influence for you… I don't think GBH and Exploited were of interest to anybody.

Kurt: No, they were their own world.

Crazy Chris: They were just leftovers of something that was dying… and nothing else has come out that lately…

Kurt: Right and there's no chance for them to get much popular 'cause their music is set in such a little narrow world that it couldn't branch out to a larger audience.

Crazy Chris: Do you… I saw that you more-or-less recorded this album the same way you did the first one, do you think it was anyway… that the fact you're on Geffen clamped you down a little bit?

Kurt: No, the fact that we are on Geffen helped us take our time on the album more, we didn't record it in 6 days like we did on other album.

Crazy Chris: Financially as well?

Kurt: Yeah, that's the main reason that it gave us more freedom, 'cause we were able to take our time on it. It took about 3 weeks… so… it was nice, it was nice to be able to take your time and get it right.

Crazy Chris: Why, you think your first album was a bit too rushed?

Kurt: A bit… not really… I mean we're real happy with that album still, I think it's a fine example of what we were like back then.

Crazy Chris: I think the kind of rock that you do, punk rock or whatever you wanna call it, it's the kind that needs to be done real quick, energised as much as possible… go in, do it… otherwise you lose it, ya know? If you start thinking about it and fiddle with knobs and levels and add bits on top…

Kurt: Yeah that's true, I wouldn't wanna spend more than 3 weeks on an album, unless we had millions of overdubs, if we wanted to really experiment with all these weird sounds and stuff, throw 'em in. It's the main reason why most of the grunge bands sounded so good, 'cause it was done quick and raw.

Crazy Chris: I don't think that you need to do that much to it. I mean, have you… in that respect, do you think this album is better because you could try different things?

Kurt: I really don't know if its any better, its definitely… I mean, you could tell we took 3 weeks on it. There are a few different instruments, there's some overdubs in it… Mainly the songs are a lot different than the Bleach album, so they're just 2 different things, they were recorded 2 years apart from each other, so erm… I dunno.

Crazy Chris: What happened to the project of having it out as box-set of 7 singles, or something like that?

Kurt: I think that was probably a joke [laughs]

Crazy Chris: [laughs]

Kurt: Krist said that in an interview one time.

Krist: What's that?

Kurt: 7-inch singles… box-set of 7-inch singles, the album…

Crazy Chris: Umm… so do you think that the Sub Pop thing is exhausting itself a little bit?

Kurt: Yeah, pretty much. It's kind of a lull period right now because… the last few records that they put out, I personally don't really like them that much, so it doesn't seem as exciting to me right now. It doesn't mean it's not gonna pick up or they're not gonna put out some good bands in the future, it's just that right now it just kinda… a lull, no too exciting… Ummm.

Crazy Chris: Umm…

Crazy Chris: In a way you're trying to sort of get people to shake their apathy out of themselves and stuff like that?

Kurt: Well, it's not… it's not really like a planned decision we've made, we don't consider ourselves having a message.

Crazy Chris: Yeah, well when you write lyrics, do you think in that sense a little bit?

Kurt: I think in that sense on my own…

Crazy Chris: Or is it you just being really pissed off and you just think of yourselves?

Kurt: No no, I think of that sense on my own like when I'm not writing music, I'm sure it bleeds into our songs but I don't like to make it obvious that that's what is my main concern… it's definitely… the thing that pisses me off more than anything in the world is people not fighting against oppression and boredom, and complaining about it… they don't have the right to complain, so…

Crazy Chris: Like the fact you're gonna pay more taxes because of the Gulf War?

Kurt: Right.

Crazy Chris: Well, Europeans don't have to pay more taxes because of the Gulf War, we weren't really involved in it.

Kurt: Oh, really?

Crazy Chris: But I heard in America it's gonna be, more… someday they're gonna have to get the money out of somewhere, to pay for all they spent over there.

Krist: Just… here and there, they get their money.

Kurt: Yeah, they get it.

Krist: Now there's a new exit tax, 18 dollars to leave the United States.

Crazy Chris: Yeah, a bit here, a bit there, you don't know what to say about anything until they stick it up your ass.

Kurt: [laughs] Definitely, we're in the 33% tax bracket, 'cause of the deal that we signed… so, we paid up the ass in taxes as a band. I mean, 33%, that's quite a bit isn't it?

Krist: Phhh… that's more than a quarter [long pause] ya know, everyone is pretty drunk on acquiring a bunch of junk, drunk on junk, know what I mean?

Crazy Chris: Like?

Krist: Just… cars, 'n full Rolex watches, Simpsons videos… the Simpsons are cool though!

Crazy Chris: They're pretty funny.

Krist: Yeah, I think they kinda have a… they have a message.

Crazy Chris: Yeah, if you wanna see [inaudible], yeah.

Krist: But I wonder how many people get it, know what I mean?

Crazy Chris: I don't watch it.

Krist: Are they watching just cute little characters, and not seeing what's goin' on…

Kurt: Well, I think that the most embarrassing thing is that most of the people DO get it, but they don't give a fuck, they're laughing at themselves, they don't even realize they are being made fun of… well, they do understand it but they think "Ohhh that's not me, that's someone else" ya know "that's my neighbor".

Crazy Chris: Yeah but don't you think that like on a wider scale, is situation like, ya know the place you come from, the logging town or whatever, ya know everyone lives in their little world, and they don't give a fuck about… sorry?

Krist: It's even like that in the city.

Crazy Chris: Yeah… that's what I'm saying… even in a big place, if they live in a big place, they don't give a fuck about anybody else, they're in their little self contained world, as long as their little world is not touched by some event or another, they just don't care, as you say buy junk and…

Kurt: I think one of the main diseases… one of the most important diseases that we're against is gluttony, consumerism and that kinda stuff, I think that's one of the first problems that should be done away with.

Crazy Chris: Yeah but then you end up in the situation where music ends up in the same level.

Kurt: It does all the time.

Crazy Chris: You have bands that are signed just to be consumed.

Krist: Yeah, it's really bad.

Crazy Chris: Ya know, they sign 'em up and get a few singles out…

Krist: It's a product.

Kurt: Most of those bands want to be consumed. The people who deal in that kind of a… in those kinda situations are in their own little tribe anyhow, you can't even de-program those people and it's just too bad that that's the majority… ya know? [laughs]… I'd just as soon as leave those people alone and deal with young gullible 15 year old kids who haven't had the chance of being affected by it, those consumer bastards, those people… and I'm not thinking very clearly today…

Crazy Chris: Yeah, but then they end up people like Guns 'N Roses who start out as a reaction, as a "Fuck You" kinda band… but they end up being such assholes.

Krist: Because they are assholes.

Kurt: Yeah, they were assholes in the first place. I don't think there's anything special about that band other then they had tattoos, and that seemed rebellious, and they were alcoholics, and in order to make their alcoholism a substantial part of their band, they exploited it and said "We're Being Rebellious" ya know… and really just nothing but obnoxious idiots and so that was taken as like an image… like this teenage rebellious image… and it's a bunch of crap, it's not real at all.

Krist: I mean where are they comin' from? They're supposed to be a rebellion band but do they have any platform? Where are they comin' from? They just throw whisky bottles around.

Crazy Chris: I mean… are you considered rebellious as well, in a way or…?

Kurt: Well, I think we are more rebellious then Guns 'N Roses.

Crazy Chris: Well, don't you think that could be misinterpreted as well?

Kurt: Well, it probably will, but if anyone has a brain they'll realize that it's more sincere than Guns 'N Roses.

Crazy Chris: Yeah, as well as keep their head out of their ass.

Kurt: [laughs]

Crazy Chris: [laughs] 'Cause that's definitely where their head is!

© Chris Tetley, 1991