Grohl: We’re gonna do something just to totally test the limits. For all the radio listeners or the MTV watchers, just like really test them and shove something totally aggro in their faces and see if they can handle that.
How about the album title, Nevermind?
Cobain: I really don’t know. There’s really no story behind it, I just kinda thought it had a nice ring to it. Just like the name of the band, too, there’s no amazing story behind that either. It just sort of sounded nice.
Novoselic: There’s various definitions, there’s the textbook, Buddhist definition: freedom from pain and suffering and the external world. The way I see it, Nirvana is just a name, a name for our band.
A lot of people say you’ve sold out by going to a major label. How do you feel about that?
Cobain: I really don’t know what the definition of selling out is anymore. I guess I really don’t care. We haven’t compromised — our record label lets us do anything we want. We think on the same level. There’s nothing we’ve done that could be considered a sellout at all. At least not in my eyes. A lot of people who are calling us sellouts are forgetting that the Ramones and the Sex Pistols were on major labels. So were the Clash. And all those bands were trying to become big stars. They didn’t even deny it. Crap, the Ramones had a movie out after them, to help support them.
Novoselic: I think if you make money and you start voting Republican because you’ll get tax breaks and they’re the party of the rich, I mean that’s sold out.
Let’s talk about the war, because I know that’s an important topic with you.
Cobain: We don’t like to think of ourselves as a political band, because you tend to become too anal and it becomes ridiculous if you shove it down people’s throats. We just ask people to be aware a little bit, and I think the songs kind of reflect that.
Novoselic: It’s just another issue, another topic. I mean, we could talk about racism, we could talk about feminism.
Cobain: There’s just so much corruption going on with the government. And the Reagan years have definitely set us back to where the average teenager feels kind of lost. There isn’t much hope.
Grohl: The way American’s money is budgeted by our government, it leaves nothing to the education system. Teachers are dealing with the future, teachers are dealing with kids growing up who are gonna take care of me, or you, someday. Just the education system in general in a lot of places is really screwed.
Novoselic: The ’60s had, like, Abby Hoffman or John Sinclair, Timothy Leary to a certain extent. And they were spokespeople, they were shaking things up. Nowadays there’s not really anybody.
Did you ever think the record would be this big?
Grohl: Nobody did, man. Nobody did. Like nobody.
Cobain: Absolutely not. No. Of course not. I’ll never get over the shock. And that’s kinda good.
Grohl: It was sort of a really organic thing. There wasn’t any massive hype.
Cobain: There was definitely no big million-dollar investment in promotion behind this record at all. It’s totally organic. It just happened.