LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE January 27, 1994 - Seattle, WA, US

Interviewer(s)
Rafa Cervera
Interviewee(s)
Krist Novoselic
Publisher Title Transcript
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© Rafa Cervera, 1994

Rafa Cervera: Excuse me?

Krist Novoselic: What's the day?

RC: The day?

KN: Uh huh.

RC: Here?

KN: No, the date.

RC: The date?

KN: Uh huh.

RC: Um, the 27th.

KN: OK, thank you. OK, go ahead.

RC: So, are you coming to Spain to play?

KN: Yeah.

RC: Are you excited about coming back to Spain?

KN: Um, yeah, we are. I love Spain.

RC: Yeah. Do you remember your last concert here?

KN: Oh, Yeah. I remember we played in Valencia and Madrid and Bilbao.

RC: Uh huh.

KN: We had a good time.

RC: Yeah. I think that I told you before… because we talked in the Summer by phone, because of the interview with In Utero. And we met in Valencia when you were playing, but I'm afraid you don't remember my face [laughs] or my name, because it was in the bull ring…

KN: OK. I bet if I saw you, I'd remember.

RC: Uh huh. Maybe we can meet now, in Madrid.

KN: Yeah, sure.

RC: OK, so the first question - It seems the last album, In Utero, has made some clear statements about Nirvana, it's attitude and it's nature. How does the band feel right now?

KN: Everybody feels pretty good. We just got off a two month tour of the United States, where we were playing good shows every night and generally having a good time.

RC: But do you feel that the pressure on the band has disappeared?

KN: Um… yeah, I think the pressure was just the pressure that we all created, 'cause we were pretty new to the whole rock star thing. So, now that we've come to grips with everything, I don't think any of us really feel any pressure.

RC: So you feel more comfortable with popularity and…?

KN: Yeah, very much.

RC: … and dealing with the major label and MTV and all that?

KN: Uh huh, sure.

RC: And what would you say the Nirvana, the band, has learned over these two or three years, since Nevermind and the success of Smells Like Teen Spirit to this current day?

KN: What have we learned?

RC: Yeah, what is your conclusion, or your…?

KN: Never trust the media…

RC: [laughs]

KN: … don't give a damn about what anybody else thinks and have as good a time as possible.

RC: But it seems you have some things against the way some things go in the business… for example, you don't like making videos and…

KN: I wouldn't say that, that we don't like making videos. it's just a lot of work doing videos, you know?

RC: But I think that you didn't want a video for Heart-Shaped Box?

KN: Oh, no, we wanted a video. Have you seen the video for that?

RC: Yeah, yeah, I know it, but I heard a story that you were against it and that you made it at the very last minute.

KN: No, no, that's all wrong. I don't know who told you that.

RC: But I think that you neither wanted a video for Rape Me.

KN: We're gonna make a video right now, we're working on making a video.

RC: Uh huh. So, you like making videos?

KN: Um, it's not that we like it, it's just that… you know, it's just something that you've got to do.

RC: But… [laughs]

KN: it's just, like… It can be a satisfying experience.

RC: But do you see videos as some, I don't know, rich thing for pop music

KN: All it is is a promotional device, basically. All it is is an advertisement…

RC: Uh huh.

KN: … to sell records. that's the only reason why labels make videos. They don't want to spend- why would they spend money on videos unless you could sell them, you know what I mean? If you could help sell something… it's all a financial thing, a total political thing between MTV and the labels.

RC: Uh huh.

KN: it's just like between a magazine- a music magazine, a band and a label, how it's reciprocal. You know, you do an interview, people will read it and think about your band and maybe buy your record. A video's the same thing.

RC: Yeah. And how do you feel about all these, I will call it “obligations” - making videos, making interviews - do you feel comfortable with that, or would you prefer just making the records, playing every night and just forgetting about the rest?

KN: You can't think that way, but you should be responsible. You know, videos can be a cool thing.

RC: Which videos do you like? Which bands videos?

KN: Um, you know, I don't watch a lot of MTV, to tell you the truth. Um, what videos do I like? I like the James video.

RC: Uh huh.

KN: The James video. A lot of videos are just shit, you know? Fast editing. they're just advertisements, you know? I don't know, Madonna videos… who else's videos do I like? I know a lot of 'em I don't like, I'll tell you that much!

RC: I think you made an Unplugged for MTV?

KN: Uh huh.

RC: How was it?

KN: That was a fun time. That was good.

RC: Is it true you made a lot of Meat Puppets covers?

KN: Yeah, we did three Meat Puppets covers. They weren't really covers because they were with the Meat Puppets, so it was participatory.

RC: I thought that you were in a very tense relationship with MTV after that Awards party where you tried to play Rape Me…

KN: Oh, that was a down-point in our relationship. But since then we've changed things around. Now things are good. I'm sure they had their reasons why they didn't want us to play Rape Me. But times are changing, you know? Maybe MTV really wants to be more socially aware. It sure seemed like it.

RC: Uh huh. And it seems it ain't easy when a band sells nine million records and then tries to go on making things in its own way… how do you go through all this?

KN: Um, it was really different… that was like two or three years ago, I'm not even sure how long ago that was… you just take it one day at a time, just get older, you just kinda mature. that's about it, really. Just roll with the punches.

RC: Uh huh. And what was the worst moment in the life of the band?

KN: The worst moment?

RC: Yeah.

KN: Um, probably… Oh, boy! What can I… I just have to think back… just coming up with a new song, coming up with Heart-Shaped Box… you know, just the band working together…

RC: Tell me about you American tour. I read that you were touring with friends like Sonic Youth, Breeders, Mudhoney, TAD, The Screaming Trees.

KN: No, we didn't tour with TAD or The Screaming Trees, but we toured with Meat Puppets and Mudhoney and we had a good time. All those bands… The Breeders… just kinda hang out and have a good time.

RC: Uh huh. And what about Pat Smear? Because you told me- the last time that we talked, you told me that he was about to go on tour with Nirvana.

KN: Yeah, yeah. Um, we got him to kind of thicken the sound out. We were gonna play a lot bigger places, so we thought an extra guitar player would make things gel better.

RC: But is he coming to Europe?

KN: Oh, sure.

RC: Yeah? So are you going to be- here in Madrid and Barcelona, are you going to be a four-piece band?

KN: Yes we are.

RC: Ah ha, great! And do you have any surprises for the show?

KN: I guess surprises are just surprises.

RC: [laughs] I mean some funny versions or…

KN: Um… you never know what happens at a show…

RC: [laughs]

KN: … that's for sure.

RC: And do you think that punk music still has any strength or influence today?

KN: Um, it just depends how you define “punk”, you know what I mean?

RC: How would you define “punk”?

KN: Punk should mean freedom from any kind of barrier, musical or social, political. Punk is individualism, punk is rebellion against the status quo. it's not necessarily a fashion, it's a state of mind.

RC: Uh huh. And do you think that punk still goes on in music and the youth?

KN: Yeah, in one way or another. it's just rock 'n' roll. Rock 'n' roll reinvents itself. There's always been punk rock. Any band that came up with something new and vital and different is punk rock.

RC: Do you consider Nirvana punk rock?

KN: Um… I just have so much respect for… I dunno, I just have too much humility to go ahead and say, “Yeah, we're a punk rock band!” See, we grew up listening to punk rock. I consider us a punk rock band but, I dunno, do punk rock bands sell millions of records, you know?

RC: Uh huh. And I think you're making a cover of David Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World…

KN: Right.

RC: For any special reason?

KN: Um, we just like the song. it's just fun to do it. it's a good song. We don't play very many covers…

RC: Uh huh. And what about Pearl Jam and all that stuff? Because it seems that you are like trying to… be not enemies or something like that… Are you friends with Pearl Jam? Are you competitive?

KN: it's a healthy rivalry. they're way bigger than we are, we're nobodies… They've sold way more records and they're on the radio a lot more than we are. So they won!

RC: [laughs] They won?!

KN: Yeah.

RC: What? [laughs]

KN: What did they win? They won the… the conflict, the feud.

RC: [laughs] The Kingdom Of Grunge, maybe!

KN: The Kingdom Of Grunge, the mantle!

RC: [laughs]

KN: They hold the mantle of grunge now. They can have it.

RC: [laughs] But, if it's true that you were trying to forget all this and…

KN: There wasn't anything to forget. There were just a few opinions expressed and then, of course, that was the story. You know, the press needs a story. There was a whopper of a story right there.

RC: Uh huh. And what about the news that said that at Saturday Night Live they were preparing a sketch…

KN: Oh, Eddie Vedder.

RC: Yeah.

KN: We felt… I dunno, it was kinda screwy, so we asked them not to do the sketch and they didn't.

RC: Oh, the did it.

KN: I guess they did it a week later, but they didn't do it on our show, so we were alright.

RC: And then you were due to play together on MTV's New Year's show, but they didn't play with you.

KN: Yeah, because Eddie was sick.

RC: Oh.

KN: We were even gonna play a show together, so there's no real feud or anything.

RC: [laughs] And what do you think of bands like Stone Temple Pilots or Blind Melon?

KN: Blind Melon? Oh… What do I think of those bands? Well, it's just… rock 'n' roll…

RC: [laughs]

KN: … that's rock 'n' roll for you… what can I say?

RC: [laughs]

KN: Rock 'n' roll has happened. There's a new crop of bands out there. My opinion is just my opinion. they're all great, I love 'em.

RC: [laughs]

KN: I wish 'em the best. Good luck.

RC: To Stone Temple Pilots and Blind Melon?

KN: Sure

RC: OK. And which bands would you recommend to our readers, because you know this paper is the greatest here in Spain and it has a lot of impact on young people. So, which bands would you like to recommend to our readers?

KN: I'd like to recommend Sebadoh…

RC: Why?

KN: Um, because they're great. I'd like to recommend The Breeders, because they're just a great band. I enjoy them, it's just a personal thing.

RC: Some more?

KN: It's just a personal thing. I just enjoy them, there's something about that band that I like. You know, what can I say? You asked me, so…

RC: Who?

KN: Oh, you asked me who I'd recommend…

RC: Ask who?

KN: Oh, I'm sorry.

RC: No, I would like you to tell me some other bands that you would like to recommend.

KN: Sebadoh, The Breeders.

RC: Yeah.

KN: Meat Puppets, Mudhoney.

RC: Beat Happening?

KN: Oh, Beat Happening, sure!

RC: Bikini Kill?

KN: Um, I don't know too much about Bikini Kill, to tell you the truth.

RC: Are you still working, Krist, to help people in the old Yugoslavia?

KN: Yeah, I'm doing some work over there.

RC: Do you have any plans like that concert in San Francisco?

KN: No, I don't think a concert is gonna do any good.

RC: No, why?

KN: Because what's it gonna do?

RC: Well, raising some money to help…

KN: That's about it, raise money, but that's just a bandaid on the problem, you know what I mean?

RC: Yeah.

KN: It's, like, people there are… Until Western governments do something - they're the ones who actually have the power to do anything - no-one's gonna do anything. It might make ourselves feel good and make those people feel good for a few days, but… until there's a concrete end and a solution to what's going on, you know…

© Rafa Cervera, 1994