Gene Stout
Krist Novoselic
Publisher Title Transcript
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Arena Sellouts Show Nirvana Is Still On Top Yes

Bassist Krist Novoselic doesn't spend a lot of time worrying about Nirvana's future.

"You never know what's going to happen," he said. "I never look that far ahead. I've never had goals or anything."

But who needs goals when you're strapped to a rock 'n' roll rocket ship like Nirvana?

The Seattle trio, which ends its fall U.S. tour with sold-out shows tonight and tomorrow night at the Seattle Center Arena, started a musical revolution with its blockbuster 1991 album, "Nevermind."

Nirvana - Novoselic, singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain and drummer Dave Grohl - helped breathe new life into the rotting carcass of mainstream rock. The band's success at turning grunge and youthful angst into pop-music gold sent shock waves through the recording industry.

Since the band's formation in 1987 in Aberdeen, Nirvana has achieved phenomenal success, with "Nevermind" selling 9 million copies worldwide.

"In Utero," the four-star follow-up to "Nevermind," is also selling briskly on the strength of songs such as "Heart-Shaped Box," "Scentless Apprentice," "Serve the Servants" and "All Apologies."

Concerns that Nirvana wouldn't be able to match the quality of "Nevermind" were quickly put to rest when the album appeared in September. Though it isn't the blockbuster that "Nevermind" was, "In Utero" entered The Billboard 200 album chart at No. 1. It currently sits at No. 19.

Yesterday, "In Utero" was nominated for a Grammy Award for best alternative-music album, along with "Star" by Belly, "Automatic for the People" by R.E.M., "Siamese Dream" by Smashing Pumpkins and "Zooropa" by U2.

"I'm pretty happy with how the album turned out," Novoselic said. "I didn't really have any preconceptions about how it would turn out. I don't think anybody in the band did... We just got together and Kurt came in with riffs and songs and we just started grinding them out."

Nirvana worked with producer Steve Albini, who later accused Nirvana's label, Geffen Records, of pressuring the band to make changes in the album.

Novoselic said news reports blew the matter out of proportion. Geffen was only concerned that Cobain's vocals were buried and the bass sound wasn't clear. The band agreed to remix a few of the songs.

"They wanted a story," Novoselic said of the press reports. "People were excited about the follow-up record, so any little murmur of trouble got amplified. It was pretty much a non-story. I thought it was pretty funny that Newsweek picked it up."

SINCE MID-OCTOBER, the band has toured nonstop. The tour included a Seattle taping of MTV's New Year's concert special featuring the Breeders, Cypress Hill, and Anthony Kiedis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Pearl Jam also was supposed to perform, but the band canceled when singer Eddie Vedder became ill.)

Novoselic is looking forward to a monthlong break before the band heads for Europe.

"We're kind of getting burned out," he said. "I think with all the touring behind us, we'll just relax a little bit."

The bassist plans to visit his property near the Columbia River in Southwest Washington (he also has a home in Seattle, where he lives with his wife Shelli). His New Year's resolution is to spend more time at home.

"I've partied enough for 10 lifetimes," he said.

Though he dismisses the importance of goals, Novoselic is looking forward to returning to the studio.

"The only plan I have right now is to come back from our European tour this winter and get everyone together and start rehearsing and start making some noise again," he said.

"It's been a year since we started recording 'In Utero.' It's time to get going again."

The group could have a new album completed this summer.

"Kurt and I and Dave have been talking like, 'Yeah, let's just put out a record real soon.' It just depends on how things go. If we're pretty prolific in the spring, it might happen. In the span of two weeks, we've gone nuts before. And then months have gone by and nothing's happened," Novoselic said.

Novoselic revealed that Nirvana will join the lineup for Lollapalooza '94, the fourth annual touring alternative-rock festival (dates haven't been announced). Band members are looking forward to the tour, a first for Nirvana.

"We were going to do an Australian/Japanese tour at the end of our European tour this spring, but we decided to blow that off so we could be fresh for Lollapalooza," he said.

Last year, Novoselic began spelling his first name "Krist," instead of the Americanized "Chris." Krist was the name Novoselic's Croatian-born parents gave him at birth.

NOVOSELIC WENT to Croatia in the former Yugoslavia last year and wrote about the trip in Spin magazine. The visit inspired him to help form the Balkan Women's Aid Fund, which helps victims of the civil war.

Novoselic has become deeply discouraged and fears the fighting will continue indefinitely.

"I've totally given up on the politics," he said. "I mainly concentrate on the humanitarian aspects of it. That's all I can do. If the leaders of the western world can't do anything about it, I sure the heck can't do anything about it. I don't know what kinds of dirty deals are going down. I'm sure the situation's rife with that. I just try to keep my hands clean of it."

Nirvana's Arena shows will feature songs from all of the group's albums, including the first, "Bleach," on Seattle's influential Sub Pop label. The band will also perform "The Man Who Sold the World" and "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam."

Last year, Nirvana hired ex-Germs guitarist Pat Smear to tour with the band for "In Utero." Smear has helped take some of the pressure off Cobain. It's possible Smear could become a permanent member.

"We haven't really worked with him on songwriting or anything, so it's hard to say at this point," Novoselic said.

© Gene Stout, 1994