State of Nirvana

By KURT ST. THOMAS  |  March 28, 2007

Why such a delay before Nevermind?
Novoselic: We went to Madison, Wisconsin, to make a record with Butch Vig in the spring of 1990. We laid down about six, seven songs — “Lithium,” “In Bloom,” “Polly,” “Dive,” “Stay Away.” Right after we finished recording, we went on this eight-week tour of the US starting in Madison. We got as far as New York, and everything was geared up to put out this second Nirvana record. Well, once we got off of that tour, that’s when we lost Chad, so there was uncertainty with that. We didn’t want to release it. If we wanted to do anything, we wanted to do it with a new drummer. Sub Pop was doing some wheeling and dealing. They were going to sign a licensing deal with a big label, and there were so many variables to consider that it wasn’t wise to put out a record at all. We toured the UK, we toured western Canada, and next thing you know, we were talking to labels ourselves.

What about Dave?
Cobain: Dave Grohl is the most well-adjusted boy I’ve ever met. Totally easy to get along with. Everyone loves him. He plays drums better than any drummer I’ve ever heard. He’s great.

Novoselic: Yeah, he’s great. He’s the backbone of the band.

When did Dave join the band?
Grohl: In 1990 we [Scream] were on tour, doing a tour of America, and we were halfway through the tour in Los Angeles —

Novoselic: Their tour made it as far as Los Angeles and their bass player flew the coop.

Grohl: We got stranded there, and there wasn’t really much to do. So I called up my friend Buzz Osbourne — we’ve known each other for a while. He’s actually the one that introduced [Kurt and Chris] to each other, and he ended up introducing me to the band. And he just said that they were looking for a drummer and that they had seen Scream play in San Francisco and thought that I was really good.

Novoselic: We were just blown away by the whole band, especially the drummer. The drummer was really good.

Grohl: The strangest thing about it was moving up to the Northwest with no money — nothing. I mean I still only have a bag of clothes and my drums. I bought a bed a couple months ago, so I have a room with this futon on the floor. But I don’t have anything, so I didn’t really have to move. Just moving up, leaving your best friends in the entire world. I mean, I didn’t know Chris or Kurt, and I ended up living on Kurt’s couch for eight months. I had every misconception that everyone else had. I thought Seattle was just flannel shirts and blurry Charles Peterson photos.

Cobain: I lived in his little crackerbox hell-hole of an apartment — and I’m quite a slob, as you can see. It was kind of hard for two people to live in this really small apartment with one bedroom and garbage all over the floor, a lot of corn-dog sticks laying around.

Grohl: In a month or two, we were out in the backyard shooting stuff with BB guns and breaking windows at the Lottery building across the street. It was fun. That apartment was really great.

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