LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE March 7, 1991 - Victoria, BC, CA
- Garth Mullins
- Stephen D
- Kurt Cobain
- Krist Novoselic
- Dave Grohl
Garth and Stephen were just finishing off the last of their generic beer in the alley behind the Forge when three guys came sub-pop-boppin’ down the way.
Hey, are you guys Nirvana?
With looks of slight confusion, a shrug and a sniffle the reply came; “yeah, I guess so.”
S: We're from some cheesy alternative radio station-CFUV, and we're here to get in free.
G: And to do an interview.
S: Oh. Yeah.
So the introductions were made. Chris (bass), Kurdt (guitar and vocals) and Dave (drums), agreed to let G&S ask them what they anticipated as the same grovelling, butt-kissing questions that Nirvana has been prodded with since their first hint of success. But oh well.
Later the road manager invited Garth and Stephen to join Nirvana in the consumption of a lot of really expensive food paid for by the unknowing (yet generous) Geffen record label.
Now, with the road manager, the sound dude, and Chris (bass), Kurdt (guitar) and Dave (drums) (Nirvana, stupid!), Garth and Stephen proceeded to the neo-fascist Sticky Wicket where all were promptly rejected for not meeting the “Victorian” dress code (they had jeans on).
Yet after the huge gigantic road manager ‘conferred’ with the weasly whiny restaurant host they were seated in a back corner.
Dave: Here's the menu.
Kurdt: What's the most expensive thing?
Chris: Well…um…char grilled New Zealand lamb chops in a golden Provençale sauce…hmm…or baked spring salmon served with tiger prawns on a bed of spinach…or…wait…actually the Cajun style baked red snapper served hot 'n' spicy...with creole sauce...
Kurdt: Any king crab?
Chris: Or a blend of west-coast seafood in a puff pastry shell enhanced with a lemon /hollandaise breast of chicken served in a cheesy bun.
Garth: The whole thing sounds pretty cheesy to me.
Everybody ordered the most expensive thing they could think of.
G&S: So what's up with you guys and Sub Pop!
Kurdt: We cut our hair and they dumped us. Actually, we talked to them for the first time in four months last week. If they weren't such scammers they'd be cool.
G&S: What do you mean?
Chris: Scamming every fucking thing, everybody, just not taking care. They had all kinds of action that could have made them really something, but they just wanted to play big fish in a little pond.
S&G: Any other bands ditch Sub Pop recently?
Nirvana: …Fluid, L7…
Chris: Sub Pop actions are not deliberate, they just don't know what they're doing.
Kurdt: I couldn't run a business half as good as they did, or are.
Chris: They only wanted to take bands that they thought were cool and make a record for them…
Dave: …That's not so bad…
S&G: So who is the creative core?
(Everybody points at Kurdt).
S&G: And your motivation?
Kurdt: My inspiration to write is mostly to stay sane. Typical punk rock; nothing new, but nothing wrong with it. You've got to write about the truth. Most things piss me off. I can't help it.
S&G: What did you guys think about the war?
Chris: Ugh! Not while we're eating.
Kurdt: People are sheep.
(A chorus of “Baaas” ensues).
Chris: Bush did a really good job re-Americanizing everyone. Boy. We can be proud again. Now the US can do whatever, whenever, however to whoever it pleases.
Kurdt: The best thing about this tour is we haven't seen an American flag for days. What a relief.
Chris: I'm sick of it, those goddamned yellow ribbons everywhere…”Oh tie a yellow ribbon…’round yer neck…baaa.”
G&S: So what do ya think about a popular socialist revolution?
Chris: Oh yeah, absolutely, we've got to rip down this shit system before we do anything.
S&G: Any striking distinctions from city to city?
Dave: Yeah, different forms of THC.
S&G: How did the tour in England go?
Kurdt: Really good. The best tour we've ever been on. Eleven dates just past October with Tad. And we played our last show in England with Mudhoney and Tad.
S&G: Where do you see the impact of Bleach?
Kurdt: In England we got a lot of airplay. But I don't really know about the States and Canada. We're just figuring it out. We've been on a few tours in the States playing clubs about this size.
S&G: With the tour over in Vancouver tomorrow… what next?
Chris: We're going to Madison, Wisconsin in a few weeks to start recording. And then starting a tour with Jane's Addiction.
G&S: Keeping the distinctive sludge-pop sound!
Kurdt: Definitely…sure…it's not going to be concretely that way. We always mix it up. I'm sure after the next record we'll weed out a lot of the die-hard grunge freaks — and that's all they like. If they can't appreciate our pop stuff then fuck 'em.
S&G: Love Buzz is a cover — right?
Kurdt: Yeah, by a Sixties band called Shocking Blue. They wrote that Bananarama “Venus” song. Shocking Blue's first album rules. I love it.
S&G: Do you like the pop stuff better?
Kurdt: Well…not right now. I did a few months ago but I go through phases, I mean…I was listening to R.E.M. There's a lot of good pop music. I've always liked it…bands like the Beatles, XTC, stuff like that. We won't completely lame-out and convert to that style…but I wish people would appreciate a diverse range of music.
S&G: How long have you been a band?
Kurdt: About three–four years.
S&G: And what line-up changes have occurred over time?
Kurdt: Jason Everman was in the band for about six months. We recorded the LP without him but at the time the record came out we decided to put his name on it 'cause he was in the band. THEN we went on tour with him and realized what kind of personality he was. Which was a heavy metal, rock 'n' roll kind of attitude, so we kicked him out.
Kurdt: It was kind of a shame we put his name on the record, now people think he's the guitar player. We just kicked Chad (Channing) out.
Kurdt: Musical problems. We just weren't clicking and it was getting really stagnant. We just felt we needed a heavier drummer and a technically better drummer. Then Dave (Grohl) came along, and you just couldn't ask for more…no way…he's the best. And he sings back up, which is good.
S&G: You guys even have a history with the Melvins.
Kurdt: We all lived in Aberdeen and we were friends for the last few years in high school. They were a band, we weren't. Just friends hangin' out so we saw a lot of Melvins' practices.
S&G: Did you jam with them?
Kurdt: Dale did the first demo with us…we couldn't find a drummer…so we practiced for a couple of days and then recorded. And within a week, Sub Pop was on our butts. Even a little while ago when we were on tour with Sonic Youth, Dale played drums for us cause we had just booted Chad.
S&G: Considering you appreciate a diverse range of music, you've probably been influenced by diversity.
Kurdt: All through grade school all I listened to was the Beatles, except for a few singles like, “Seasons in the Sun.” There were a few songs I got to hear. My aunt gave me a bunch of Beatles records and I listened to them all the time. Then I moved to my dad's and hung around with these older stoner guys…sorta like right out of the movie “Over the Edge.” Ever seen it? It's great! That's what these guys were like and they'd come over to our trailer and play Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. I was in the fourth grade at the time so I thought it was really neat. They mainly came over to use my house as a place to fuck their girlfriends and smoke dope but they really turned me on to some really neat music.
S&G: Whence came punk?
Kurdt: Ninth grade. I remember I sold my whole rock collection for twelve bucks to see D.O.A. I didn't like anything else but punk rock for a while. I never really got into hardcore when it came around. It didn't thrill me too much.
G&S: What else stands out now?
Kurdt: The Melvins are fantastic. There are a lot of bands I still listen to, old punk rock stuff. A lot of new bands I don't care for at all. I like the Pixies, R.E.M., the Vaselines…Shonen Knife. Basically a lot of shit we don't play.
G&S: Your hometown?
Kurdt: Aberdeen, Washington, a really small, secluded, redneck logger town. Around 50,000.
S&G: And now…?
Kurdt: I’ve been living in Olympia the last four years. It's really cool. Totally liberal college. There's an all-ages club. Really good scene with shows every Thursday. It's a kind of conservative, clean city, but the cops are Nazis.
S&G: Wow…Sounds like Victoria…clean city…liberal college…Nazi cops. Same shit, different city.
© Stephen D & Garth Mullins, 1991