LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE September 21, 1991 - Montréal, QC, CA
- Marc Coiteux
- Kurt Cobain
- Krist Novoselic
- Dave Grohl
Interviewer: Since it's your first interview with us… Well, you got an album out to be released… Well, we cannot NOT talk about that first major label deal…
Dave: That's a double negative…
Dave: That's a double negative…
Interviewer: No, I mean cuz I ask it so many times to so many bands who have been on independent labels before then on major labels before that. It sounds… I'm always wondering if it's redundant at some point, but anyway…
Kurt: Do you like the B-52s?
Interviewer: Love that band.
Kurt: Do you like Blondie? Do you like Devo? Do you like The Cars?
Interviewer: Love them.
Kurt: Well? Okay…
Krist: Do you like the Plastic Ono Band 'Live in Toronto'?
Interviewer: That was okay… I didn't hear the live album though.
Krist: Yeah, that's how we got on the subject of the B-52s.
Kurt: All those bands are on major labels too. And The Ramones and The Clash and the Sex Pistols. Not to say that we're half as good as any of those bands but… Pretty much… There's our answer for the major label question.
Interviewer: Does it change anything?
Kurt: Hmmm… Yeah, it gives you more freedom because you have more money to waste.
Dave: I bought a kick drum pedal today which I never would have been able to do…
Interviewer: What do you say about bands like Mudhoney that come from Seattle but don't want to be on a major label?
Kurt: Well, fine. That's their prerogative, you know?
Dave: To each their own, you know?
Krist: It'd be a better place if we all subscribed to that philosophy, huh?
Kurt: Yeah, it would be.
Interviewer: Did it change anything from 'Bleach'? Doing that album was there a big change?
Krist: Yeah there was a change the way we went about it. It was a big Hollywood…
Dave: Well, there was 2 years, first of all…
Krist: Two years between records. Well, "change" you mean the way we recorded it? Or the way… Our material?
Krist: Oh yes. Two years, man…
Kurt: Yeah, we had two years of material to choose from.
Krist: You know, 'Bleach' was recorded in December of 1988 and now it's pushing December 1991 and so… now we even have 'Nevermind' behind us and we're blazing new and exciting frontiers.
Kurt: Like Sacagawea.
Interviewer: How do you say that?
Krist: She was Lewis & Clark's guide when they… You know… They were 2 explorers and they…
Kurt: She was a trailblazer.
Krist: They trailblazed. They went all the way and discovered the West and opened up the West… Sacagawea was their Indian guide.
Krist: Yeah, Sacagawea.
Interviewer: So, what about him?
Kurt: It was a her…
Krist: Well, we were blazing new frontiers and they were blazing new frontiers… We're the Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea of modern day rock 'n roll.
Dave: We were gonna name the album Sacagawea but… Do we know how to spell it?
Kurt: But "Wea", our distribution company, wouldn't go for it.
Interviewer: Why did you entitle the album 'Nevermind'?
Kurt: I don't know… so I can brush off the question- "forget it… Doesn't matter…"
Interviewer: Any specific things you want to talk about on that album? I listened to it just a couple of times since I had it a couple of days ago. I saw the video 'Smells of Teen Spirit'
Dave: 'Smells LIKE Teen Spirit.'
Interviewer: 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. Were there things that were more obvious in that album than others? Were there… Not statements… I hate talking about statements but especially that first… Sorry… That first song, that first statement, that first video?
Kurt: … What?
Krist: Statement is like… Every month I get a bank statement and I'm usually overdrawn.
Dave: So we're not into making statements.
Krist: I don't know, statements can be made anyway, anywhere, you know. There's a lot to be said for subtleties.
Interviewer: Uh, huh.
Krist: You know what I mean?
Kurt: There's a lot to be said for being cryptic also.
Kurt: Yeah. Mysterious. Because we just can't explain ourselves. We don't consciously think about our music so we can't explain it. Therefore, interviews are worthless. Let's go!
Interviewer: What do you think about interviews?
Krist: It's a pretty good magazine…
Kurt: Did you hear my reaction when he asked me if I wanted to do one?
Kurt: I said "Fuck, no"… I said "Heck, no"
Krist: You were in Interview magazine right next to Shonen Knife and you know who was on the cover? Matt Dillon.
Interviewer: That's funny because I mean Cameron Crowe's doing a…
Krist: I look like Matt Dillon.
Interviewer: No, but I mean, It's funny you talk about… Cameron Crowe's doing a movie with Matt Dillon in Seattle and there are many musicians, Seattle musicians in that movie. Are you part of it at all?
Krist: No part whatsoever.
Kurt: Absolutely not.
Dave: We opted not to delve in the movie industry.
Krist: I saw Cotton Candy directed by Ron Howard it was about this rock 'n roll band and what was the evil rock 'n roll band name?
Kurt: I don't know, is that the one with Leif Garrett in it? "Leif" Garrett.
Krist: "Leif" Garrett. I've seen all these rock 'n roll movies and it's always, you know, the star, there's either Leif Garrett in it, or…
Kurt: There's never been a really good documentary on rock 'n roll bands.
Dave: Except for 'Spinal Tap' was the only rock movie worth watching .
Kurt: Except for 'Spinal Tap' oh and 'Don't Look Back' by Bob Dylan.
Dave: That's true.
Kurt: Have you seen that?
Kurt: Very, very good.
Krist: Oh it's a good movie, it's old, made in 1964.
Kurt: Makes a fool out of Donovan.
Dave: It's a "rock"-umentary.
Interviewer: So I mean, were you approached? Were you asked to be part of that movie at all?
Krist: They never ask us anything, you know what I mean?
Kurt: Oh, no, they did ask us.
Kurt: Yeah, they asked John.
Krist: Oh, he said "No".
Kurt: I said "no" before even asking you guys that's because I'm the leader of the band.
Krist: You blew my chance, man. I'm gonna roll into Hollywood, i'm gonna have a star on Hollywood boulevard and I'm gonna have a big house with a swimming pool and all these cars and I'm gonna get divorces and stuff…
Kurt: …Jethro on TV's 'Beverly Hillbillies'.
Interviewer: Tell me about that Seattle thing everybody's been talking about, I mean, there's been that Manchester scene, there's that Seattle scene now, I mean, is it any… is it relevant at all?
Kurt: Um, all scenes are relevant but they all eventually phase into nothing or you know, they go away after a while, you know…
Dave: Or they eventually become a parody of themselves.
Dave: They eventually become a parody of themselves.
Kurt: People put too much emphasis on scenes, I mean just because there happens to be a town with a few really good bands in it, I mean, big deal. It's happened all over the place… in Minneapolis, in L.A., in New York, all over the place. So, it's really no big deal. I don't understand this, like, community patriotism that everyone is boasting about in Seattle because, like, they're claiming they finally put Seattle on the map, you know? But, like, what map? Who cares.
Krist: Now the rents are going up.
Kurt: Yeah, everyone's moving to Seattle, I mean, we had Jimi Hendrix. Heck. What more do we want?
Krist: We went to his grave once and there was guitar picks and beer bottles all over it and we went to Bruce Lee's grave like 1:30 in the morning. It's really wild. It's like in the Chinese part of the cemetery.
Dave: There was a bunch of sticks and nunchucks laying all over the place.
Krist: We thought for sure there were these ninjas creeping behind these tombstones like "WHOA" but then again the state of mind we were in at the time, like "The ninja turtles!"
Interviewer: But do you feel that sense everybody's been talking about in Seattle? Do you feel that it helped you in any ways getting that recording contract? Or it has nothing to do with it?
Krist: Yeah, it helped us.
Kurt: Yeah, I suppose it did and we're grateful for it, I guess. I mean, we were never seeking out a major label contract in the first place. It just happened. I don't know if it would have happened if we weren't on Sub Pop or not but… um… I don't know. We got a lot of press in Europe because of the Sub Pop scene and it wasn't necessarily because Jon and Bruce were these mastermind guys, you know, getting a lot of interviews, like, using their talents to get interviews. I mean, they were in ways but also a lot of the journalists over in Europe happened to like the bands… sincerely like them so they wrote about them, you know? It wasn't as much of a hype as everyone thinks it was.
Interviewer: But uh I mean since the album is going to be released in a few weeks are you doing that tour… I mean, are some parts of that tour without those people not knowing about the album or are you planning to go back in those cities, or… I mean, didn't you feel that it would have been a good thing to wait until the album was released?
Krist: Yeah, it took about a week or two too early.
Interviewer: You've been complaining about that?
Interviewer: But I mean how many gigs have you got on that tour?
Kurt: I don't know, I haven't even looked at the itinerary.
Dave: The album comes out on the 23rd.
Krist: The album comes out next Tuesday.
Dave: No, today's the 21st.
Kurt: Kids will be buying it the day… practically the day we play in every city, you know? Just barely becoming familiar with it. So, it would have been more wise to wait a little while, but…
Interviewer: Do you feel radios may help you? Do you feel like the music might fit that mainstream thing everybody's talking about?
Dave: I think that people sort of get sucked into the single that we have out now with the melody of the song and they don't realize it's so heavy because they're singing along to the song or whatever but if you listen to it in the succession of songs it's a lot heavier than most of the stuff that's on the radio. So.
Krist: There's other bands breaking into like commercial radio and stuff, you know? So. We're not… just kind of following in.
Kurt: The new wave gets thrown into the mainstream. They try it again.
Interviewer: Tell me about that "Teen Spirit" song since it's the first video, first single. I just watched the video, received it yesterday. I loved it but tell me if that… Did you have anything to do in collaborating it, doing it?
Kurt: Part of the whole idea… our ideas was to have a pep assembly scene that's gone bad, you know? That's gone bad.
Interviewer: Anything you've experienced before?
Kurt: No, it was just more or less like a fantasy of ours to… for that to happen in high school while we're sitting at a pep assembly bored off our skulls, you know? So after a while we resorted to skipping the pep assemblies. Not going to them at all. But… I don't know. It's just an idea. We wanted to use the youth… The youth theme.
Interviewer: I mean, how do you feel about youth since you talk about it in the song?
Kurt: Well Sonic Youth's a great band.
Interviewer: But what about 'Teen Spirit'?
Krist: I hate seeing all these, just, normal looking teenagers. They dress like their parents and they have the same values. It's kind of a shame.
Kurt: Our parents are in control of the entertainment industry and there's no generation gap anymore because the kids and the parents like the same music and it's really frightening to us. So maybe that's what we tried to incorporate into the video.
Interviewer: How do you feel that the parents of the kids listening to your music will react?
Kurt: Well, we haven't done any good. Have we?
Krist: No, I don't know.
Kurt: No, I don't think we've done a damn dent in the generation gap at all and I'm really ashamed of that. All we can do is just hang our heads in shame.
Krist: "Shame on you, Shane!"
Interviewer: Are you serious?
Kurt: Oh, that's a good movie.
Krist: That's Batman.
Kurt: That was a western movie.
Kurt: We're avoiding the question. What were you saying?
Dave: That movie was called "Shame."
Interviewer: I don't know. We were talking about 'Teen Spirits' but no I think I got material on that. Okay, well, what about that show tonight? Is it different from one night to another? Is it something like being on tour or would you just like to stick by the recording studios and do some more songs?
Kurt: Touring is wonderful.
Dave: You get to travel.
Kurt: Yeah. You get to eat on the road. You get to see in a van like this and be jostled for 8 hours a day.
Krist: You get free alcohol every night. Who could ask for more? It's a party every night.
Dave: No, we've had cauliflower like the last couple nights.
Krist: That's good. Cream cheese.
Dave: Yeah, or some sort of chive dip. It's been right on.
Krist: See, you gotta keep solid if you're crogging down those beers, you know? So it's good to eat a lot of veggies and cheese and stuff cuz…
Dave: And get that fiber diet going.
Krist: …My insides start to swell after a while and it's not very pleasant experience. Well, it's pleasant when I'm drunk.
Interviewer: Thank you guys…
Kurt: You're welcome.
© Marc Coiteux/Musique Plus, 1991