Nirvana Members Discuss How Their ‘Reunion’ Performances Came To Be
Surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic recently gave Rollingstone.com the inside story on their ‘Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame‘ induction shows. Those sets saw the group perform with the likes of Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, Lorde, St. Vincent, J Mascis and more filling in for their departed frontman/guitarist, Kurt Cobain.
Grohl said of their initial rehearsals:
“The first time we played together, it was like seeing a ghost. The second time, it was a little more reserved. And the last time we played it was like that fucking Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze pottery wheel scene from Ghost. We usually got the song by the third take. It started to sound like Nirvana. Our road crew and some friends were in the room when we launched into ‘Scentless Apprentice‘ for the first time. There were jaws on the floor.
I hadn’t played in that band in 20 years. Hearing what it sounded like when we played ‘Scentless Apprentice‘ legitimized it for me. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be in a room full of Nirvana. That first day back really legitimized it. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s right! We sounded like this, and that’s why people paid attention. Oh, okay! It wasn’t just the book and the movie and the Behind The Music. It was the sound in a room, like this, that makes people go, ‘What the fuck?’ It was pretty fuckin’ great. We began with Krist, [guitarist] Pat [Smear] and I just getting our stuff together, and then Kim came by and then Joan.”
Interestingly, Novoselic revealed that he had forgotten most of his parts and had to pick up a tab book to get back up to snuff:
“I picked up a Nirvana tab book a week before to re-learn my parts, but we weren’t up to speed at first. But then it started to flow and it got better and better. Then it hit me and I got kind of somber. I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’m playing these songs again.'”
Grohl also revealed that having females front the band wasn’t the original plan. He said the band initially reached out to a “handful of A-list male rock stars”:
“That was a matter of finding people that we respected and that shared the Nirvana aesthetic, whether that’s musical or otherwise. Some of them were nervous. I think some of them were maybe apprehensive because of how heavy the whole thing is.”
When asked if the performance was a one-night only affair, Novoselic offered:
“That’s a good question. I mean, there’s Foo Fighters and Dave has some other projects going on. And I have some commitments. But you never say never now. We did it. I sure won’t say no. Maybe we can even do some new music one day.”
Grohl however wasn’t so sure, stating:
“We haven’t even talked about it. We looked at that evening as a night that may never happen again. That’s what made it so powerful and beautiful and meaningful. And it may never happen again, so we made the most of it. And it was fucking great.”