Krist Novoselic Gets a Column

The bassist for Nirvana followed his career with the seminal grunge band by talking a long stroll down a political path. Now, he tells us, he's starting an online column with the Seattle Weekly.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

(Soundbite of song, "All Apologies" by Nirvana.)

ALISON STEWART, host:

For the readers of the Seattle Weekly, there's a new online columnist in town. His name is Krist Novoselic. Sounds familiar? Check your iPod. Have any Nirvana? Well, then you've enjoyed the fine bass work of Novoselic who followed up his music career with a long stroll down a political path which now includes his new gig as a blogger for the Seattle Weekly. And joining us from the Pacific Northwest is Krist Novoselic. Hey, Krist.

Mr. KRIST NOVOSELIC (Former Nirvana Bassist): Hi, Alison.

STEWART: Thank you so much for joining us on THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Well super. I'm glad to be here.

STEWART: So why do you want to get yourself all involved in this weekly gig where you have to write a column? That's almost like a real job.

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Aha, good question. You know, I thought about that before I accepted the offer. And there's that component of it - it's like, well, you know, I need to do it once every Tuesday so there's good discipline for me. And then, you know, I thought about what's going on in the world - with media, the radio, the television, the Internet, iPod - it's a real time of transition and it just seemed compelling. And also with like our era right now, I'm really tired of our era.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Just (unintelligible) what are you frustrated with?

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Well, it's just, first of all, there's just this polarization. And it seems like a lot of the political discussion is reactionary right or reactionary left or most people just don't care anymore. And so I see writing for the Weekly, as an opportunity to just try to be more positive and propose ideas and look at things in a different way.

STEWART: Do you think you're going to stay within the realm of politics or are we going to get a cooking column from you some week or…

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Well, no. My post today is on Flipper, right? I still do music and I'm playing with this band that was a big influence on myself and Nirvana, Flipper. We're these Bay Area avant-punkers in the early '80s. And I started playing with Flipper last year and one thing led to another and we're making a record and we've been playing some live shows and so I put up an MP3 of one of the shows we did - one of the songs we did.

STEWART: So it's interesting when they introduced you to the Seattle Weekly online audience, they put up a little resume for you and they mentioned Flipper but they also called you a political activist as well as your work with Nirvana. That political activism, you were just in Washington appearing at a conference - is it for VoteFair, FairVote?

Mr. NOVOSELIC: FairVote, yeah, the Claim Democracy Conference.

STEWART: How was that? What did you do?

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Well, it was basically a convergence of different individual - of individuals in different organizations talking about how to improve our democracy and about voting. You know, it's about participating and trying to address a lot of the barriers to getting involved because see the voting is the operating system. It's the engine that drives our democracy and it's hurting. There's a lot of issues and it's - I feel it's really antiquated in the United States and so we need to cross that bridge into the 21st century and make some changes.

STEWART: When you go - when you are involved in these various political activist forums or when you're talking to your editors at Seattle Weekly or maybe a desk assistant or something, do they ever get star struck because they suddenly realized I'm talking Mr. NOVOSELIC: You know I get that - there's that whole celebrity component and it could be an asset to the guy who was the bass player of Nirvana?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. NOVOSELIC: …depends on the situation. But one of the reasons why I do political work and I try not to be like partisan or go move beyond that, kind of that polarity is that if you start talking about essential issues, like democracy and how to make democracy better, local issues that affect all kinds of people, then you move past that partisanship and you start to see this humanity in folks and see that you have, you know, I have something in common with a conservative Republican, you know. And that's kind of neat when that happens (unintelligible) humanity, you know.

STEWART: This month also, aside from this - you had a lot going on this month -this DVD of Nirvana's performance at MTV Unplugged was just released. And I actually remember actually being there during the rehearsals. I was suddenly sort of was like, oh, my god. I remember. I was there.

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Oh, you were there. Right on.

STEWART: Yeah.

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Our paths crossed again.

STEWART: There you go. So when you watch this performance again, many years down the road, what surprised you when you watched it?

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Well, that's a good one - the surprise. It was just - it was more of just it's good to see everybody again. It's kind of like you have a dream of somebody and they passed away and then you see him in a dream. It's really good to see him, you know?

STEWART: Uh-hmm.

Mr. NOVOSELIC: It feels really good. So you know, it's good to see everybody again. It's a little emotional - you looking at that - because of the symbolism or what that performance has had. It's taken on a life of its own with the kind of a... It was - when Kurt Cobain died, it - that was like on heavy rotation in MTV then that the CD was released. It's kind of like in tandem with that event because that was a big, you know, there's the personal aspect of it for me and others. But also, it was a huge, like, public event - a kind of a - it was a moment in society.

STEWART: The last song on the DVD, "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," is really moving and is getting a lot of attention from critics. Let's take a listen.

(Soundbite of song, "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" by Nirvana)

Mr. COBAIN: (Singing) I would shiver the whole night through. My girl, my girl, don't lie to me. Tell me where did you sleep last night.

STEWART: So and - let's talk a little bit about your blogging future. Are you enjoying the blogging?

Mr. NOVOSELIC: So far so good. I like it. I like to write. I'm compelled to write. So that's another reason why I do it. Because it's not really a chore and I like working with language and the challenge of trying, you know, I've tried to write neat and concise and…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. NOVOSELIC: …you know, relate that thinking so…

STEWART: Well, you can read his work every Tuesday at the Seattle Weekly Online. Krist Novoselic, former Nirvana bassist, now a member of Flipper and blogger for the Seattle Weekly.

Hey, thanks for the time, Krist.

Mr. NOVOSELIC: Thanks, Alison.

(Soundbite of song, "Come As You Are" by Nirvana)

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.