LIVE NIRVANA INTERVIEW ARCHIVE October 30, 1991 - Vancouver, BC, CA

Stu Jeffries
Kurt Cobain
Krist Novoselic
Publisher Title Transcript
CBC Good Rockin' Tonite Yes
Top Forty Focus Nirvana: From Obscurity to No. 1 Yes

Kurt Cobain: …We're capable enough musicians where we can cover just about anything — we can play a Led Zeppelin song, or an AC/DC song, or a Patsy Cline song if we wanted…

Krist Novoselic: Mmmm hmmm [nodding]

KC: So, you know, that shows in our music, that's why it's so- so different.

© CBC, 1991

To share with you the bandwagon jumping teenage crowd, then pick up your CDs the next time they buy the latest offering from New Kids, Roxette, or Bryan Adams. One can already hear cries of “sellout!” Kurt Cobain appears not to worry about it. “People who are saying that sort of thing are people we never really wanted in our audience in the first place. They're just too fussy and picky. I mean, that's just the wrong attitude to have.” Novoselic adds, “What they're really saying is they were into us at one time cuz we were hip and cool, and now they're not into us anymore because we're a little successful? I mean, do they listen to music, or are they just into shoes and other fashion accessories? It's not like we come on TV shows wearing big floppy hats and sounding like Poison.”

Time to backtrack a wee bit. Let's get a little background. After all, Nirvana seemingly came out of nowhere and are now, as Cobain says, “a viable alternative.” “We got together four or five years ago to have some fun, yuk it up, you know, do some drinking,” says Cobain. “We were into punk rock, guys like Black Flag and Scratch Acid. We just played in this junky little house, just making a racket. Surprisingly, the neighbours never complained, probably cuz we had all these, like, statues stolen from cemeteries in our front yard. The neighbours must have thought we were, like, voodoo or something. Novoselic interjects, “We're the same now as we were back then. We're pretty much a bar band. I think we are capable enough musicians where we can cover just about anything; a Led Zeppelin song or an AC/DC song, a Patsy Cline song if we want. It shows in our music. Since the dawn of the rock era, we've all heard those dreaded four words on countless occasions: “THE NEXT BIG THING”. Think about it. How many next big things have you lived through? In my lifetime, there was pop rock, hard rock, soft rock, punk rock, disco, dance music (the latter two one and the same), heavy metal, rap, rap and heavy metal together, you name it, I, and many like me, have heard it. Or, so I thought. Enter (dare I say it?) “THE NEXT BIG THING”. It goes by the Unlikely handle of “Grunge rock”.

Grunge rock. Interesting name and one that (if one were to search Webster's) defies proper description. Suffice to say that it's a raw, tough, chewy, energy riddled form of music that's found its way to the top of Canadian charts in the form of a Seattle based band known simply as Nirvana. The top of the charts? Number 1? How in this day and age of disposable bands, drum machines, syrupy ballads and downright simplistic and predictable music could something like this happen? Were we ready for a change? Were we ripe for a takeover? Were we asleep when it happened? Are we prepared to handle it? Armed with these and a few other questions, I sat down with Kurt Cobain and Chris Novoselic of Nirvana and hoped for an answer to at least one or two of them (the questions, that is). I began with the obvious; how are they handling this new found success?

“It hasn't really hit us yet,” says Novoselic, “it hasn't had any kind of impact whatsoever, financially or emotionally.” Adds Cobain, “We really don't pay attention to it. Most of the hotels we stay at don't have MTV so we're not even aware of how much we're being played.”

Oh, come now! These guys have a #1 album. “NEVERMIND” has surpassed the wildest dreams (or nightmares, depending on who's looking at it) of even the most skeptical record label executive and radio programmer. Surely that must have an effect on, well, something??

“We've already achieved everything we want to,” says Cobain. “We've made a good record, we're proud of it, so that's all that really matters to us.” Whatever it is they are doing appears to be working and in the process they are paving the way for bands like Soundgarden and Swerve-driver to go where no “Grunge” has gone before. But hey! Isn't that what you'd expect from “THE NEXT BIG THING”?

© Stu Jeffries, 1992