State of Nirvana

By KURT ST. THOMAS  |  March 28, 2007

Novoselic: Whatever happened was surely out of our control. And I’m glad it’s happened. It’s nice to sell that many records.

Cobain: It’s not my fault. I never wanted the fame involved. That’s a totally different story. I think Paul Stanley said something like, “The only thing money gives you is relief from not having to worry about money.” The only thing I’d really like to do with it is invest in some bands that I like. I don’t want to start my own record label, ’cause God, I know I couldn’t do that. But I’d like to give some money to some labels that are putting out great music, help in that way. Probably gonna buy a house. Hopefully we can have a recording studio, too, a little eight-track recording studio, so we can make good demos. Those are pretty much the plans. I’m gonna get some new shoes.

You combine punk and pop elements in your songwriting.
Cobain: Almost anything that’s musical is pop music, as far as I’m concerned. As long as it’s good and it’s catchy, it’s pop. A lot of punk rock is pop. I think the only time punk rock strayed from pop was when hardcore came around, and there was some dirge-y stuff also, like the crossover metal thing.

Grohl: Maybe one percent of the people who listened to Nevermind, or who bought Nevermind, a small minority of the people who are listening to our record now, know about punk rock. A lot of people don’t know about punk rock. They think of punk rock and they think of that Quincy episode where the guy threw that brick off the building.

Cobain: I don’t really agree with the punk-rock ethos of, like, you have to starve to be a real artist. It’s bullshit. I really don’t have much sympathy for people who would buy the record — buy anyone’s record — just because it’s popular and they think that they should be hip and cool. Those kind of people I could do without.

How do you write songs?
It’s usually done on an acoustic guitar sitting around in my underwear picking out riffs, pieces of songs.

Grohl: Maybe Kurt will come in with a melody, a guitar riff, and show it to us.

Cobain: We go to practice, and then we play the song over and over and over again.

Grohl: We just jam, there’s no real formula.

Cobain: Chris and Dave have a big part in deciding how long a song should be and how many parts it should have. I don’t like to be thought of as the whole songwriter, but I do come up with the basis of it. I come up with the singing style during practice, and then I write the lyrics usually minutes before we record.

Grohl: I’m comfortable with what Kurt does, and I’m comfortable with what Chris does, and I think everybody is comfortable with what everybody else is doing, so we just sort of do it. And it happens.

Novoselic: Kurt and I were totally into the Vaselines. They were my favorite band, they’re still one of my favorite bands.

Cobain: Definitely our number-one favorite band.

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