This Is Bliss?
Alternative Press, January/February 1992
PAGE: 3 | back

He may be partly right. On first listen, Nirvana's A&R man at Geffen actually thought the songs on Nevermind weren't raw enough. But Geffen has also worked to ensure that, at press time, Nirvana's single was being played habitually on major radio stations across the country, that the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video was making regular appearances on MTV and that Nevermind shot up above Guns N' Roses on Billboards album chart. No wonder so many people love Nirvana.

Here's why that's a problem: For a band that espouses the hardline punk credo, being adored by people who not only don't believe in punk rock, but probably don't even realize the argument exists, is irritating.

"I'm becoming frustrated with having to deal with the kind of people who come up to me after the show and say, 'You guys fucking rock, dude,"' Cobain says. "I don't need that at all. Normally I just walk around in the audience after a show, but I've been sort of hiding out in the back room a lot in fear of having to hear people like that.

"I'm just having a hard time dealing with that right now, because I feel guilty for wanting to hide out in the dressing room," he continues. "I feel like a rock star. And I can almost understand why rock stars act the way they do."

As opposed to Cobain's quiet, sober personality, bassist Chris Novoselic comes across as sort of a wiseguy. "I'm the Jethro Bodean of the band," says 26-year-old Novoselic, whose short but unruly hair helps him play the part. "But we're all pretty moody."

>Although Novoselic can't comprehend why fans would want to ask for autographs, he still lets them do it. "I don't want to," he says, "but I don't want to offend them. Who am I to say no?"

The most recent addition to the band - drummer David Grohl - joined in 1990, and the 22-year-old's easygoing, amiable nature smooths out the stronger personalities in Nirvana. He also finds the social aspects of semi-celebrity disconcerting. "It's weird being recognized by people who like the band," he says. "They just stare at you and you feel like you're being violated or something. Nobody says anything to you, they just watch you."

Grohl is genuinely flattered that people like Nirvana, but he can't reconcile himself with what the fans expect of him. "When I got into punk rock, the attitude was, 'Kill all the rock stars,"' he says. "And autographs are something the whole punk thing was against. I try not to let it offend me because then I seem rude - and the last thing I want to do is be rude to anyone - so it's really hard to say no."

Isn't it possible that people ask for autographs because they're too shy to say anything else?

"I think that's one of the reasons, that they're just afraid of coming up and saying something really stupid," Grohl says. "But it's better than coming up with something to be autographed, because that's just as dumb."

Cobain plans to remedy the situation by having a rubber stamp made that presses out the word "autograph" on fans' memorabilia. "I never had the desire to get Evel Knievel's autograph," he laughs. "He was my idol. And I never thought of going up to Henry Rollins and asking for his autograph; I'd rather just talk to him."

But he wouldn't like to read an interview about Rollins, either. Cobain feels interviews are pointless, and he himself plans to rethink giving them - especially to magazines he characterizes as "glossy" and 'corporate." "I have no desire to find out what my favorite bands have to say," Cobain says. "Their music speaks to me, and that's all that matters."


< PAGE 4 >
Main Page | Interviews