The Rocket. October 1991
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"We were doing an ID for this Japanese TV station and Kurdt goes, 'You're watching Space Shower TV,' and I go 'You're watching golden shower TV,'and they didn't catch it at all. They just said 'thank you, thank you,"' says Chris. And at a Los Angeles in-store appearance the band played at - well, sort of played at, since Novoselic was too drunk and someone from the audience was hired to be him - Geffen A&R bigwig Gary Gersh wanted to express his awe. After telling Kobain how amazing he thought they were, Kobain says, "That's nothing, watch this," and threw up.
Maybe the Alka Seltzer guy would feel better knowing that Bruce Pavitt, co-owner of Nirvana's former independent label Sub Pop, didn't fare any better, then or now. After Nirvana was recently kicked out of their own record release party at Rebar and took the festivities elsewhere, and just after Pavitt threw up in a sink and was sitting woozily on a curb, Kobain pelted eggs at him from a window. This is not malice, really, this is kicks. The Electric Company of the David Geffen Company.
"It's just like, rock 'n' roll, what Is rock 'n' roll? You know, Geffen makes a big deal about it - this Guns N' Roses attitude about rock'n'roll and how rebellious they are. I mean, if people don't have a sense of humor, then what is it they are so serious about?" Novoselic says.
In another Nirvana inconsistency, however, don't think the three are merely a bunch of buffoons (though they might be the first to say they are). I mean, they care about how they are represented, especially that it is not phony. For instance, the band found the original Geffen press release a bit serious and stuffy, so they took matters upon themselves to include material a little more giddy. As to how Chris and Kurdt met (at the Grays Harbor Institute of Northwest Crafts), they write "I liked what Kurdt was doing. I asked him what his thoughts were on a macaroni mobile piece I was working on. He suggested I glue glitter on it. That really made it!" Yes, that's way more Nirvana than any sort of key selling points. Plus, they design their own t-shirts, decide where and with whom they tour, have total artistic freedom and are not required to do any of the newly abundant in-store appearances or countless interviews. But they do them, as responsible buffoons.
"We're just now coming into doing so many interviews that we're becoming exhausted by it, at least I am," Kobain says. "I mean, every waking day of my life Is Nirvana now. Phone interviews and just constantly being tooled around."
"But at least we can got stoned and stuff - we try to make the best of it. Try to wreck some guy's car, throw pizza at each other, kooky, zany things, you know. Squirting flowers, hand buzzers. . . " explains Novoselic.
It is for the kids, anyway. "We love baby goats. They're so cuts," Novoselic affirms. They were just getting a little too darn popular with the kids, too, and since their music could be loved by a skate punker or frat boy - usually at blows on anything else - by the young or the old, lovers of hardcore or soft porn, the life-affirming or suicidal, they need the more expensive push and larger distribution Geffen could offer. And they're getting it: full page color ads in trade magazines, promotional CDs given away like crazy, and a press and radio assault.
"I think it's just kind of a progression," says Novoselic. 'When we were at Sub Pop we had a really good time doing all those tours and stuff, and the whole Sub Pop craziness of two years back helped us out a lot, so that was cool," says Novoselic. "You know, Sub Pop was the nest, and Bruce and Jon were the mommy and daddy birds."
"And they regurgitated worms and shoved them down our throats and it gave us a lot of protein, so we became healthy enough to go on to commercial labels," adds Kobain.
"So we flew out of the nest, and Bruce and Jon were standing there wing in wing with a tear in their eye.
"They taught us how to fly and kicked us out."
Actually, Sub Pop bigwigs Pavitt and Jon Poneman couldn't be happier for the band. For one thing, Poneman walks around whistling Nevermind songs while Pavitt tap dances. Poneman says he thinks the guys in Nirvana are akin to modern day Bruce Springsteens, especially Kobain, with the working-man-slash-insightful-genius thing going. For another thing, the Sub Pop logo is on all the releases (three times on the CD) part of a special arrangement including $750,000 billion, stretch limos and a prize-winning goat named Buck Buck.
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