- Roberto LoRusso
- Kurt Cobain
|CHRW Radio Western
|Dead City Beat
||My Embarrassing Interview With Kurt Cobain
© Roberto LoRusso, 1991
Robert LoRusso: Yeah. Well, um, what's happened is that we've been having a lot of complaints, because we're from a small area in Canada - just down the road, London, Ontario. I don't know if you drove by on your way up here, or you will when you go down to Detroit - we usually don't have a problem, but we had some complaints recently. I was playing Mr Bungle, Mike Patton's old band…
Kurt Cobain: Yeah, I heard a bit about that.
RLR: …and got a bit of shit from my station manager. Not too much. We usually don't have much of a problem with censorship, but there's been a real crackdown in the last little while.
KC: It's happening all over the place.
RLR: Yeah, it's really frustrating, it's just… I don't know what to do.
KC: Start a pirate radio station.
RLR: Well, that's ultimately what I'm gonna do. Because, that's what I'm in, right, in school. So, in the next couple of years, hopefully I'll learn how to build the sucker.
KC: There are all kinds of manuals and books on the subject.
RLR: Actually, I had- I could have gotten hold of this really low powered transmitter, I was thinking of souping it up, that would've been right on.
KC: Pretty punk rock… [inaudible]
RLR: Throw it in the back of the van, you know, right on. Okay, you must excuse this completely contrived interview, but, hey. Um, can I get you to do a station ID?
KC: Sure. You're listening to left-wing radio…
RLR: Radio Western.
KC: Radio Western. And this is Kurt from Nirvana.
RLR: Cool. Okay, first of all, first question - why did you decide to start your tour in Toronto?
KC: Um… I think we were planning on starting on the East Coast, so… I have no idea, ask my manager. I don't even pay attention to the itinerary, where we're going. I mean, I'm glad I'm here… I'm gonna put this in someone's drink… Um, I'm glad we're in Canada. I had no idea that we were even going to come to Canada, really. I mean, I expected to come sometime this year on tour, but I just don't pay attention to the itinerary and where we're going, because - well, I can't say that it's all the same, but - it's just more exciting that way, showing up in a town. I don't really like to pay attention to the politics or, you know, what's going on in the band, at all. Just be along for the ride.
RLR: You just want to distance yourself from all the administrative stuff and just play.
KC: Exactly. That's why we have a manager now, he sets things up for us. I mean, of course, he communicates with Krist and Krist will tell me basically what's going on. If there's anything that I don't like, I'll let them know. It's not like we don't care, we're not listening. They just set up whatever we want and we just go along…
RLR: You don't really care for doing much in the way of interviews, but that's just- is it because of overkill, or just that you're frustrated with it?
KC: I think it's both. It's just, um… I'm getting really bored with the same questions all the time. I mean, it's understandable. I also realize that most of the interviewers have to ask the standard questions, because we don't have much of an image and there's not much of a story behind our band. So what people can grasp, they'll base their interview off of that. But I'm getting really tired of the “independent going onto a major label” stuff. I mean, it's happened and there's nothing we can do about it, so there's no sense in analyzing it, you know?
RLR: So, do you feel that going to a major has sort of brought you a lot more ignorant interviewers- interviews?
KC: Not necessarily. I've realized that a lot of the people we've done interviews with this time around are the same people we've done interviews with before, the same magazines. We've hardly had any interviews in the States, but I've noticed that more in Europe, where usually they're friends of ours in the first place. It's almost like a little conspiracy, they're not gonna write shit about us, you know, they're not gonna put us down and make us sound like fools. So, it's good in that sense, but it's just getting boring, you know? I don't blame them for asking the same questions.
RLR: Well, are you getting a big push from your label, now that you're on a major?
KC: Yeah, they're really excited. They're sincerely excited and they like the music, they really do.
RLR: It's like three-quarters-of-a-million dollars, that's quite a big investment!
KC: Three-quarters-of-a-million dollars? No, we didn't get that much.
RLR: It wasn't that much? That's what I read, it might've been in M.E.A.T. magazine. How much was it that you got?
KC: 175 - 33% tax bracket, 15% to our lawyer, 10% to our manager, $70,000 to Sub Pop, left us with about $20,000 to buy equipment. I don't have a place to live at this moment.
RLR: Not in your contract? 'Cause John Kastner from The Doughboys, I know, for instance, his company pays for his rent. You're not getting that?
KC: We have what was left over from the advance in a bank account. We have an accountant and he gives us a little bit of money every month to live. We've been on tour and we've been recording for so long, that I haven't had the chance - I got evicted from my apartment about three months ago - every time we get back, we only have a few days at home, so I usually just go to my Mother's, so I haven't found a place to live yet.
RLR: So, you're still struggling, though?
KC: No, we're not struggling. I think we're- financially, we're well off. I mean, it's more money than I've ever had in my life. To be able to pay rent every month, it's great, you know? I can't ask for any more.
RLR: So, you're having fun then?
KC: Oh yeah, definitely. It's taken a lot of problems away, you know?
RLR: Question about the new album - why did you choose Butch Vig to help produce the new album, Nevermind?
KC: Because we attempted to record our album about a year-and-a-half ago in Madison and the demos turned out really well, so we decided to do it again.
RLR: You wanted that Wisconsin Sound?
KC: That Wisconsin Sound, yeah!
RLR: The Lumberjack Sound! Um, when you got signed to the new label, did you find any sort of internal pressure to tone your sound down? Or did they pretty much leave it up to you?
KC: There was no pressure at all, whatsoever. In fact, when we had our first mixes completed, our A&R man said they weren't raw enough! Pretty surprising, but it's true.
RLR: Were you apprehensive at all about signing to Geffen?
KC: Um, well, with Geffen specifically, no. I mean, we had confidence in them.
RLR: But MCA…
KC: A lot of the other labels we were talking to, yeah, I was really worried. Signing away seven years of your life is kind of a major decision.
KC: But with Geffen it was fine.
RLR: I read in M.E.A.T. Magazine - a Hamilton and Toronto-based magazine - that you're a big fan of rap, but dislike white rappers because, and this is a quote, “The white man has ripped off the black man for long enough.” Then how do you feel about Consolidated?
KC: Oh, I don't know! Hm, was I drunk at that time? I'm a fan of rap music, but most of it's so misogynistic that I can't even deal with it. I'm really not that much of a fan. I totally respect and love it, because it's one of the only original forms of music that's been introduced, but… The white man doing rap is just like watching a white man dance - we can't dance! We can't rap! You know, we may as well just leave it alone…
RLR: Excuse me, I'm Italian, I've got that gene in me, thank you very much.
KC: OK, great, you had your kneecaps removed at birth!
RLR: [laughs] Um, any major plans for the future? Another wonderfully vague question!
KC: Uh… [laughs]
RLR: Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle…
KC: Yeah, whatever! I don't know… televisions out the window, red snapper, fire extinguishers, sparklers, fireworks…
RLR: Screwdrivers, that sort of thing?
RLR: Cool. So, we have been talking to…
KC: Kurt from Nirvana.
RLR: And you're listening to Radio Western, 94.7 FM in beautiful downtown London, Ontario. I'm just gonna get you to do a promo for my show.
RLR: Say who you are and that you're listening to Idle Banter. That's the name of the show, Idle Banter.
KC: Idle Banter?
KC: Hi, this is Kurt from Nirvana and you're listening to Idle Banter.
RLR: On 97.4 Radio Western.
© Roberto LoRusso, 2018