LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE October 3, 1991 - Chapel Hill, NC, US

Brian Rainville
Krist Novoselic
Publisher Title Transcript
The Olympian Nirvana sells out the Paramount Yes

Once it was commonplace that more than 200 rock music-starved people would stuff themselves into a five-person apartment at The Evergreen State College's K dorm just to hear Nirvana.

The building swayed and the sheet rock weakened underneath songs like "Scoff" and "Paper Cuts," but it was really tortured when the bassist Chris Novoselic began to play the first few notes of their cover hit "Love Buzz."

But that was two years ago, and since those punk rock golden days, the band, originally from Aberdeen, has changed.

No doubt some of those same people who crowded into the Evergreen dorm will be heading up to the band's sold-out concert at The Paramount Theater in Seattle Halloween night.

Since those early days, Novoselic and singer/guitarist Kurdt Kobain dumped their original record label Sub Pop, added drummer David Grohl, signed with the massive David Geffen Company and their concerts now cost money.

Olympians might worry about losing their exclusive musical avenue to Nirvana, but Novoselic thinks worrying is a waste of time.

"Sure we're still going to play parties. Those are the best shows. Drinking beer, having friends around, playing with all those bands, Hell-trout or whoever. As long as there's oxygen circulation, no problem-o," Novoselic said.

Still, a raucous punk-rock band garnering loads of exposure, a major label contract and consistently playing bigger and bigger places is almost unheard of in the corporate rock scene.

Though their popularity is growing, their "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video occasionally crops up on MTV, they still can give the fans their personal charm.

"It depends on the crowd, but last night (in Washington, D.C.) we played the same type of club we always play," Novoselic said. "It was so packed and sold out, it was like playing in a sauna."

Nirvana does not address a predictable political agenda, but Novoselic said he hopes their music can break kids from the bond of thoughtless, corporate heavy metal humdrum.

To Nirvana, music isn't a beer commercial, where models shake their bodies to muzak-ed songs from the '60s. Rock, punk rock especially, symbolizes rebellion and change, not necessarily sales.

But, exposure from MTV, mainstream radio stations and other sources helps them attract a broader range of people: mostly kids.

"It's kind of neat, maybe we can say something that will rub off on some kid. It's better than singing ‘Cherry Pie’ or ‘Party every night,’" he said.

Success hasn't changed their personal lives. They still wear the same clothes, drive the same cars and eat the same food as they always have.

They have yet to purchase Cadillacs, wear a single sequined glove, or play while wearing platform shoes and spitting fire.

"After we got however much it was that we did get (from their contract with DGC), 33 percent of it immediately went to taxes, 15 percent went to our manager, Sub Pop got their chunk…" Novoselic said. "We just set enough aside so we get some money every month.

"If you worked steady at Jack in the Box, 40 hours a week, you'd probably get the kind of money we get, but we don't have to work at Jack in the Box.

"What else am I going to do? I used to be a music freak carrying around a boom box wherever I went. I like the songs we play, and I like the people's reactions. I get off on them," he said. "Things are just happening right now. They've always got bigger and better.

"But if it was gone, I'd miss it. I'd probably find somebody else to do it with, but it wouldn't be the same."

© Brian Rainville, 1991