LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE September ??, 1991 - London, UK
- Peter Grant
- Kurt Cobain
- Krist Novoselic
- Dave Grohl
|Riff Raff||Ignorance Ain't Bliss||Yes|
When I first got into this business, I thought 'Great, the media! I'll be talking to dead people and communicating with the other side. Only it wasn't quite like that. Mind you, I have met some dead (stupid) people. So anyway, the Editor recently come up to me and said, 'Hey divvy, do you want to interview NIRVANA? 'Fuckin' hell yeah! NIRVANA, that's Heaven ain't it? Anyone in particular you wont me to talk to? HENDRIX, JANIS?'
'Bollocks' was the reply, 'they're a group!' So one crap tube trip later, I arrived at the Bad Moon press office. I got a can of pop shoved in my hand, and we headed off down to a local park, which gave the two dogs from the office (seven legs between them) a chance to get some exercise. A slow reggae groove emanated from several of the local shops as we meandered down the street.
The nucleus of the NIRVANA is made up of Kurdt Kobain (vocals/guitar/songwriter) and Chris Novoselic (bass), later joined by Dave Grohl on drums - one of many in a long succession of drummers. They originate from a small logging town near Washington D.C. called Aberdeen, where by all accounts, sod all happens.
Their second album 'Nevermind' (the first for Geffen, as their debut 'Bleach', appeared on the Sub Pop label), is a chameleon on speed, it bites and it soothes, it screams and it talks. Probably one of the better albums I've heard this year An ascension from the underground Punk scene to what has been described as, 'one of the most beautiful bands on the planet' (believe me, that's on the press release, its none of my doing), has been swift, to say the least.
I took to questioning them about the basic Punk energy that they have brought up from their underground roots.
Kurdt: "There's never been a soul in the commercial market, except for when the SEX PISTOLS entered it. But there's still a lot of Punk Rock energy in a whole bunch of underground bands. The underground, as far as I'm concerned has always been the most important kind of music."
But don't you think Punk was just a victim of a fashion craze?
Kurdt: "Yeah definitely, it was fashion first, which is a great way to introduce a new style of music. A commercial easy way to do it. Every genre of music has to have a style. Most Punk rockers have toned down how they dress nowadays, but I don't think their attitudes have changed."
The title of the album 'Nevermind', is basically the way they see the attitude of young people today, in that they'd rather just pass something off, instead of dealing with it. Do you think that society is lacking fundamental intelligence these days?
Rubbing his face with his hand, Kurdt mulls the question over. "I don't know. Intelligence doesn't have anything to do with having common sense and having the right values. I mean the most uneducated idiot can still appreciate the right things.
"Obviously the majority of our society have the wrong values. Everyone complains about it all the time. I'm really not convinced that the general public have the capability of thinking for themselves.
"Even if it were a trend for everyone to appreciate art and to throw away most of the materialistic values, I still don't think they would be capable of contributing anything really. I just feel like there's a large majority of people who are just born without the ability to detect injustice."
So what about the subject of prejudice in society, do you think that it's got out of hand?
"It's basically ignorance," replies Chris, as I whizz round like a spectator at a tennis match, in time to capture his whispered tones on tape.
"I can't even think on that level at all," says Kurdt, taking up my question. "I've never understood it, it's like why would anyone want to be into Satan? It's about as ridiculous as something like that.
"I really don't have any words for it, I can't describe how anyone could think of someone as a lower life form than them because of the colour of their skin or where the fuck they come from. It's obvious we're all equally as intelligent, it just depends on your environment. How much education you've had, how many opportunities you've had."
Getting back to the Punk thing, basically that was probably the best thing to happen to music in a long time.
Kurdt: "Yeah, but there will never be another musical revolution, the only musical revolution that's going to happen is that people are going to finally appreciate all music."
Is it a case of everything that can be done has been done, and now technology has taken over?
Kurdt: "Well, there's 24 notes on a guitar, Rock N' Roll's been around for 30 years, you can only work within so many 414 timings and drum beats." Chris stretches and lets out a groan as the air is squeezed out of him.
Kurdt continues: "I think the whole technology up grade has had a lot to do with music in the past five years. I mean there's more sampling for instance. Now people are just using other people's songs."
"That's disgusting," utters Chris as Kurdt lets fly a gob.
"It's not that there's nothing left to do, it's just there's nobody left to do something different," adds Dave.
You know, I was watching this New Music show and there was some Rap guy slagging ZEPPELIN off for being uninventive, "ZEPPELIN was?" enquires Kurdt with a disgusted look on his face.
"He doesn't know what he's talking about." Chris' lank frame leans forward on the bench.
"I don't know." Dave shakes his head, a puzzled look on his face. "People say Rap music? It's not music, unless it's other people's music."
"It's just some guy…"
"Talkin'!" Dave snatches the word from Chris' mouth. "There's a lot of really great Rap bands and pretty much the only Rap bands that give a shit or mean a shit are the ones that have something to say."
Would you be offended by bands like NWA or… the name of the band escapes me...
"TOO LIE CREW?" asks Kurdt.
"I hate 90% of all Rap, I have to admit," Kurdt returns. "Only because they're overbearing sexist, and they're racist.
"The main thing that bothers me about Rap is that almost all of it is sexist; it has no respect for women at all and that pisses me off and I can't even consider it a vital form of music when it's used like that."
© Peter Grant, 1991