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Rock 'n Roll Roulette
Fast paced, rapid fire, and unedited
Driven by Music & Action,
Candid With Nirvana's
"It's always nice to be recognized for our efforts, don't get me wrong, but, I don't think any of us really put a lot of value into whether or not our song was #1 or #100." - Krist Novoselic
Wherever you are standing in the world right now, you will likely see it, the black t-shirt with a large, goofy yellow smiley face, X's for the eyes, and the wavy grin. The band name over the top of the head, NIRVANA. It's still symbolic and worldwide today. Why? Well, in Seattle in the late 80's, if you went to clubs like The Vogue or the Underground, you'd see a blonde-haired, wirey guy (Kurt Cobain) with black high tops on, a tee over his jersey, singing his gutts out. You'd also see a tall bass player (Krist Novoselic), adding cool harmonics, offering tight support and pulse. By 1991 you'd see a passionate Dave Grohl, hair and sweat flying, working his dimension of drum chops into their bold Rock sound. Nirvana's music was authentic, in-your-face intensity. Lyrics seeped of ridiculous status quo, "...and oh, I said a dirty word," or "With the lights out, it's less dangerous, here we are now, entertain us." or "And I swear, that I don't have a gun." People became crazed hearing the angst and passion in their songs. So much so, that in Dallas in 1991 before one of their gigs, the owner of the venue Trees, said to them that if they didn't bring a moat, then the band had better hire three security guards to keep their fans off of the stage. (1) Emotion, liberation, rebellion. People got out their black high top sneakers, and wore tees over their jerseys. A movement called Grunge had officially begun.
Nirvana's music had form and function dynamics that took you for a ride. Krist's bass line kept reminding fans to hang on, rest in what was just stated, then the song flung you right back into the angst of the Chorus. That was the appeal of their music. An experience, authentic without a filter, unashamed. Their sound overshadowed previous Hair Band Heavy Metal and became the pride of Generation X. Gen X now had a voice in Nirvana.
Along with Kurt, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl were key ingredients to the success of Nirvana in how well they blended and contributed to Cobain's songwriting. Dave Grohl has gone on to write classic Rock songs with Foo Fighters since that time. As for Krist, his ascending, haunting bass lines and choice for their songs, noted tunes like, "About A Girl," or on "All Apologies," helped to set the perfect mood for the lyrics. It has been 27 years since Kurt's death, and the songs remain timeless.
What has Krist been up to since the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994? Music, politics and action. Krist formed Sweet 75 and Eyes Adrift from 1995 - 2002. From 2006 to 2009, he played with Punk Rock band, Flipper. Since 2017, he's played bass and accordion for Giants in the Trees. From 2007- 2010 Krist wrote a column about music and politics for the Seattle Weekly website. He has served on the Board of the Electoral Reform organization, FairVote, formed JAMPAC (Joint Artists and Musicians Political Action Committee), and has helped to continue the freedoms in music, blocking music censorship. His first book, Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy! is a passionate account of his personal journey, and an argument for much-needed electoral reforms. Currently, he is the board chair of Zócalo Public Square, an Arizona State University Journalism online hub.
Krist has stayed close to Dave Grohl, and contributed bass and accordion to the song "I Should Have Known" on the Foo Fighters' studio album, Wasting Light. This year, Krist joined Dave Grohl to record a video of the cover song by the X's, called "Nausea." On vocals is Grohl's daughter Violet (a natural performer at age 15). Krist is on bass, Dave Lombardo on drums, and Greg Kurstin on organ. Their version has soulful organ padding, a Punk rebellion gritty feel, gritty, driven guitar, and the natural vocal blend of father-daughter on Chorus, of course, rocking. Seeing Krist glance over to Dave and Violet with excitement, is what Rock 'n Roll is all about. Being able to jump into the feel of it on a vibe continuum that never fades. Rock chemistry spilling out some more.
- Abbe Davis
By: Kreig Marks, 5/19/21
KM: Hi Krist. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine's Rock 'n Roll Roulette. Here are the rules. I'm gonna ask you about 12 to 15 questions, all off-the-cuff, nothing's prepared. You answer as you like, brief, long-winded or you can pass. Are you ready?
KN: Yeah man. This sounds pretty cool. First though, thanks for taking my call.
KM: You know, I almost didn't answer the call. I get so many calls every day, private numbers, unknown numbers, spam, you name it. But, for some reason I accepted this call and here you are.
KN: LOL. I know, this was totally unannounced and inappropriate of me. But, my publicist shared Tru Rock with me yesterday, and this new "Roulette" section, and I thought it was awesome. I don't do many interviews right now, but when I saw this and the structure of it, I thought it was very cool and I definitely wanted to be a part of it. And, it's brand new for you guys, so I get to brag about being in the top 3! Great idea you guys came up with. I'm gonna do my part to really promote it, too.
KM: I really appreciate that. The Roulette section was something that came to me out of nowhere and here it is, making some waves.
KN: That's a good nowhere for you guys. I'm digging it a lot.
KM: Thanks, Krist. Let's keep this going. Are you still on the West Coast?
KN: Yeah, still in Washington, loving farm living. Who would have thought? LOL Yet, I love it.
KM: Quiet life out there?
KN: Most of the time. I'm here with my wife and kids and lots of nature. It's peaceful and very spiritual, too.
KM: It's a bit different than California living, huh?
KN: Yeah. I was born a "city folk" in California, and now I'm out here in the country, growing my own food. It helps me keep a clear head.
KM: Gives you that Eagles kind of "Peaceful Easy Feeling?"
KN: Yeah! That's a good way to describe it. (Krist breaks into a pretty good acapella version of the Eagles song).
KM: Ha. I have to comment about the new video you made with Dave, his daughter Violet, Dave Lombardo and Greg Kurstin. You guys nailed this cover from the X's.
KN: Man, that was so much fun. I was having a blast. I'm sure you can see from the video. At one point, I mouthed to Dave, "This is awesome!"
KM: Yeah, I saw that. You almost looked like a fan and proud uncle.
KN: Yeah man. It was like we stepped back in a time machine to the 1990's. It had that new, exciting feel to it, like we used to have back in the beginning of the days with Nirvana. And, seeing and hearing Violet on vocals. Man, that was something. I mean, I've known her since she was born and here she is, 15 years old and kicking it, and seeing her take on the vocals was really cool. She did a fantastic job. So proud of her. It was an all-around fun video to do, and with Greg's organ playing, it added so much to the song.
KM: You think you guys will do some more of this?
KN: You know, I'll never say never. It was a blast and if the opportunity is there, I'm there!
KM: When's the last time you got together with Dave and jammed?
KN: Not too long ago. Dave, Pat and I sometimes get together and jam, do a lot of the Nirvana songs. It's a great time but, you know, it's not the same without Kurt.
KM: Let's talk about Kurt for a minute. Everyone knows the legend, the icon, Kurt Cobain. Tell me about your friend Kurt.
KN: Kurt was great. He had a terrific personality. Was a very funny guy, very smart, sarcastic. He loved writing music and recording, but wasn't a huge fan of the live stuff and being in the limelight. He was an "introverted reluctant extrovert."
KM: Introverted extrovert. So, he liked to be to himself.
KN: Yeah. He had his circle but he wasn't a guy who lived and died by the rankings of where our songs were on the charts. I don't think any of us really did. It's always nice to be recognized for our efforts, don't get me wrong, but, I don't think any of us really put a lot of value into whether or not our song was #1 or #100. That was and is always important to the labels, which is understandable. They're in this to make a lot of money. We were in it to make music.
KM: I have to ask a question that I'm sure you've been asked a gazillion times but in my question, I have a theory attached to it.
KN: Umm...ok? LOL (I sense a little nervous laughter from Krist).
KM: Let's talk about the 1992 and the M...(before I can finish my thought, Krist joins in and finishes my sentence).
KN: TV video awards. Oh man.
KM: I know, it's probably like Billy Joel sitting at the piano singing "Piano Man" for the umpteenth time. He's smiling but inside he's cringing at the thought of singing that song again. But, here's my theory.
KN: LOL. Alright. Let's hear it.
KM: So, you guys are invited to do a song. You guys do "Lithium." You've got a few hours before the show. You get on the phone, call your bookie.
KN: My bookie?! LOL. Don't know if I've ever had a bookie, but OK. Go on.
KM: Thanks, I will. So, here's what you did. I know the truth.
KN: The truth? LOL. Obviously you saw what happened.
KM: Yeah. But, there's a whole story behind it that no one but the two of us know, until now.
KM: So, you've got a few hours before the show. You call your bookie and tell him to lay down 10 large on a bet.
KN: LOL. Oh fuck, I know where this is going. LOL.
KM: Man, let me finish. Stop interrupting.
KN: Sorry. Lol
KM: It's ok. So, the bet. You drop 10 large on this bet. You tell your bookie to place this bet. The bass player of Nirvana during the performance that night, is gonna knock himself out cold with his own bass by dropping it on his head!
KN: Oh fuck! LOL. That's hysterical! That's brilliant. Why the fuck didn't I think of that? LOL. Brilliant!
KM: Well, now you can break out this new story the next time you're asked about the bass beat down.
KN: Kreig, you've given life to this. I love it! Man, what kind of odds do you think I could have had?
KM: LOL. I'm thinking at least 1000 to 1.
KN: Damn. That would have been a lot of cash.
KM: Yep. 110k.
KN: Next time. I'm all in.
KM: Your thoughts on this. Kurt's death. How was he doing emotionally before the suicide?
KN: The suicide. Yeah. Well, he was actually doing pretty well. At least, that's what I thought.
KM: Was his death a surprise to you?
KN: Well, Kurt lived on the edge. He was haunted since the day he was born, I believe. He had a lot of close calls, the drugs. If he died, we (me, Dave, Pat), thought it would be from an O.D. Didn't think it would be a suicide by shotgun. I don't like talking about it. You know, it's like that movie where someone is going to die in a car accident. At the last moment, someone intervenes and saves him/her. But, their death is inevitable and throughout the movie, they're constantly cheating death and eventually, it catches up to that person, and the death will be in a different manner.
KM: Yep, I've seen the movie. The name escapes me but I get what you're saying. Let's finish this on a happier note.
KN: Cool, let's.
KM: The new video with you, Dave and Violet. Very cool. I know you guys don't like being asked if there would ever be some type of Nirvana "reunion" with another singer, possibly Dave doing the vocals. But, what about this little group you guys put together doing something like that? I think Violet could pull it off.
KN: Man, I don't know. Yeah, on paper it sounds cool and yeah, I think Violet could definitely pull it off. But, I don't know. You think anyone would even show up if we did it?
KM: Uh, I'm thinking, yeah. Krist, thanks for surprising me today. This was fucking cool. Loved speaking with you.
KN: You too, Kreig. Love this Roulette and Tru Rock is really a kick-ass publication.
KM: Thanks for everything, Krist. I look forward to more music. Take care and enjoy the farm life!
KN: Yeah man! Hey Kreig, thanks for answering!
KM: I'm very glad I did.
Kreig Marks, Founder/Publisher, TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine, and the creator or R&R Roulette.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.