Chris speaks: Nirvana’s Novoselic

Originally published in the May 15, 1992 issue of my high school newspaper, The Capital High School “Outlook”.

On April 3 and May 1, 1992, I interviewed Chris Novoselic, bassist for the rock band Nirvana. Both interviews were for my television program, ”CYRUS… the t.v. show.” [episode 10 features the entirety of this interview]. The second interview occurred due to the poor sound quality of the first interview. Therefore, not wanting the questions and answers from the original to go to waste, I have decided to print some of them in this article. Here is a portion of my April 3 interview with Chris:

Cyrus Aman.Chris Novoselic.Krist Novosellic

Cyrus talks to Chris about life, the universe, and everything.

What nationality are you?

I’m not a nationalist; I do have an ethnic background. It’s Croatian, Southern European. I speak Croatian. I guess you could say I’m an American citizen, right? Technically. But we’re all on the same planet, and due to the miracle of modern communication, satellites, radio, television, makes the world a lot smaller. So the whole idea of nationality is kind of outdated. You have an ethnic background, but I’m an earthling.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Compton, California. I’m from straight out of Compton. My family moved from there, and I moved to San Pedro, California. There in Los Angeles – moved to Aberdeen, Washington in 1979. I freaked out on the move west, so they sent me to Croatia for a year. I lived there and I moved back to Aberdeen. Spent some wasteful years there. Decadent, teenage drug haze, and moved out when I was eighteen.

Do you have any funny childhood stories?

Oh, man. My brother was always a troublemaker. He’d always break his glasses and stuff like that. I got in trouble in the schoolyard once. “What’s your phone number so we can call your parents?” I just started rattling off these phone numbers. Like, who knows what the prefix was, not even any local prefix. “Hey, that’s only six numbers!” (Chris: “Uhhh….2!”).

Where did you go to school?

Well, I graduated from Aberdeen High School in 1984 and I never went to school after that. I always wanted to go to college but I never got around to it, I had all these jobs. Just starved and stayed in a band. I went through the school of hard knocks.

Still have your yearbooks?

Well, going back to teenage debauchery, and kind of a weird haze, whenever it was picture time I would skip. “Let those guys take their pictures. I won’t go. Alright! I’ve got a whole period off!” Smoke some cigarettes.

What bands did you listen to in high school?

Didn’t have access to a lot of music in Aberdeen, kind of isolated. Started off listening to older Scorpions: like Lovedrive, Animal Magnetism. Ozzy Osbourne: Blizzard of Oz. Just teenage cock rock. Beatles, Devo, B-52’s: prog rock. Still held on to bands like Zeppelin and Sabbath.

Give us a status on your personal life right now.

Oh, well, very happy. So much has happened to me in the past year, it’s like winning the lottery. Go buy a house, indulge in materialistic acquisitions. Still found out that all my friends are with me. My wife and I have been getting along really well, financial pressures are off us, because we were always poor. The end of the month it would always be stress time. Gotta keep the lights on, gotta pay the rent. I wasn’t working. I’d just bring home whatever I could from the band, and she was working, and there’s all this car insurance, take the cat to the vet, and now I’ve been alleviated of those financial burdens. It’s been said before, though, the only good thing about having money is that you don’t have to worry about it anymore. So I guess I’m pretty happy. If I don’t lose it all a tomorrow, hard to say. But, if I was the anti-materialist that I claim to be, I’d be happy living in a wood hut in the woods.

What can fans look for in your next album?

A lot more diversity, experimental. That’s about all I can say, but that’s a standard answer: “We’re going to try to be ‘experimental’.”

What were some former band names?

Pen-Cap-Chew, Bliss. We were called Ted & Fred for this one show, by this one person, cause he made the fliers for it. So I guess we were called Ted & Fred at one point Uhhhh… Oh, Skid Row.

(laughter)

Yeah, it never stuck.

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