Melody Maker, November 2 1991
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Do you provide an alternative to heavy metal?
"Oh, we 've been called an alternative band before,' Kurt sneers. "But we eat meat so I think we 're disqualifed: chili dogs, corn dogs, Jimmy Dean Sausage Breakfast."
"When I first joined this band, " Dave comments. ''I was living on Kurt's Couch and there was an AM/PM convenience store right down the street where you could get three corn dogs for 99 cents. I lived on them for a year."
"It kept him regular too," Kurt adds. "I knew when to avoid the bathroom, nine in the morning and 12 at night. He had to walk through my bedroom to get to the bathroom."
"Thats right," Chris agrees. "I actually took a shit in your backyard once, because I didn't want to stink up your whole house. It was really pleasant: warm and wet. Sweet!"
SO I ask Kurt if he thinks he's developing a rock star complex. It seems like an appropriate question.
"We talked about that," he replies evasively. "I can't remember what I said."
Yeah. You were saying sometimes you can't work out what the matter is.
"What did I say? Can you remember?" he asks pitifully, sounding like Courtney Love momentarily.
Its something to do with wanting to weed out certain elements of your audience. (If I wrote how many metal bands Nirvana have turned down as support slots, we'd be in litigation for a decade.)
"That's true," Kurt confirms. "The people who scream 'Naked Of Creed' throughout the entire show, even after we've played it, and who talk really loud during songs like 'Polly'. Like, last night, that exact type of people were the ones yelling, 'Sell out' after we played because we didn't do an encore, because we didn't sign autographs. But what could be more rock'n'roll than that?"
We also had a conversation a few days earlier, in that weird street in Philadelphia where every other building was a witchcraft store, where you said how little making music means to you anymore.
"That's partly true," Kurt replies. "That's because if we ever had any conscious goals, we've already gone past them. We now have guaranteed distribution, we've gone up to a pretty high level on the underground circuit and that's all we ever wanted.
"We're not going to be proud of the fact that there are a bunch of Guns N' Roses kids who are into our music. We don't feel comfortable progressing, playing larger venues."
You mentioned how people in Olympia ostracise you, for not being "pure" enough, now that you've signed to a major label. We spoke about the bullshit this industry gives up and you even ad an inspired rant against "rockers" like Hagar and Halen in the van between NYC and Pittsburgh when there was nothing else to do but scarf junk food and flip through copies-of "Sassy".
Hell, you even told me something of your past in Olympia or wherever it was you grew up, how you would get bored out your skull and go round and break into people's homes trash them, not steal anything, just trash them, graffiti the walls, break up the furniture, smash the adornments - anything for a thrill, the buzz. Sounded pure Jimmy Dean to me. You mentioned the buzz you get from the after-effects of your trouble-making, the exhilaration of being confronted by a truck-load of angry officials.
As I watch him fall asleep at a moment's notice, I wonder how can this cherub-faced misfit, this sulky boy be responsible for such brutal, poignantly touching music?
"I'm disgusted with having to deal with the commercial side of our band at the moment and as a reaction, I'm becoming more uptight and complain more. And it feels like I'm adapting a rock star attitude," Kurt says. "But I still feel guilty about it, because I'm bumming people's days."
So we're talking your classic white middleclass liberal guilt complex here, right?
"What?" Dave asks affronted. ''The only guilt that I have is that l'm bumming other people's fun,'' Kurt explains. "I'm not pleasant to be around in those situations and I'm concerned that my band-mates might be having a bad time."
WHY are you doing this right now?
What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Nevermind" are out now on DGC. Nirvana start their UK tour on November 4.
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