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Krist Novoselic Makes His Peace With Life After Nirvana

He's happy not having a band, thank you. Next stop: the Internet.

May 28, 2000|STEVE HOCHMAN

Next year's 10th anniversary of Nirvana's explosive major-label debut, "Nevermind," will certainly be surrounded by a lot of hoopla, including the release of a boxed set of the band's material that Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic is assembling with drummer Dave Grohl.

Don't look for Novoselic--who says the collection will be "encyclopedic"--to try to use the attention to launch a new musical project of his own, though. While Grohl has had great success fronting the Foo Fighters, Novoselic has had only one major-label release (in 1997 with his now-defunct band Sweet 75) since the April 1994 suicide of Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain. And he says he doesn't miss it at all.

"Every place I've been with Nirvana and all that, I don't feel I need to deal with the pressures of the commercial side of the business," he says. "I don't feel like putting a band together and doing that whole thing. It doesn't yank my crank anymore. Nirvana was reluctant to do that anyway."

In fact, Novoselic has recently moved out of Seattle and back to the Washington coast, not far from Aberdeen, the town where he and Cobain grew up together.

But he's hardly taking it easy. Musically he's represented with "No WTO," an album featuring him along with Dead Kennedys founder Jello Biafra, former Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayall and drummer Gina Mainwal. The album, just released on Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, was recorded at the group's only performance, last fall in Seattle during the World Trade Organization protests.

And on June 4, Novoselic makes his debut as an Internet content provider. He's teamed with Roderick Romero, a longtime friend and former frontman of the Seattle band Sky Cries Mary, to create "Intervision," a series described as "neo-beat political cultural music reportage." The first episode features footage Novoselic shot and edited of the WTO protests and at the concert, with future episodes planned of material Romero shot at a music festival in Taiwan and from a trip to Cuba. The series will be found at the FastBand Web site (

Novoselic has also continued to be active in Washington state circles, performing occasionally with Romero in a band called Sunshine Cake, and serving as executive director of the Joint Artist and Music Promotions Action Committee, seeking to soften the state's tough restrictions on live music.

However, with the Nirvana anniversary coming up and the task of combing through a vast archive of unreleased material, outtakes, live recordings and videos for the anthology project, Novoselic says he's starting to gain enough distance from the intense life and demise of the band to appreciate it all.

"It took me, I don't know, what is it now--six years? It took me that long to settle down and have perspective and the whole survivor thing--anger, grief," he says. "I miss Kurt a lot."

WATCHA OUT: Last year's inaugural Watcha festival tour, presenting rock en espan~ol acts in a spinoff from the punk-tinged Warped Tour, finished financially in the red, according to its organizers.

But not only are they back with a second edition this year, they've also expanded it to hit more cities, including shows in the Northeast U.S. in addition to such Latin strongholds as the Southwest and Florida.

Starting Aug. 11 at the Universal Amphitheatre, the 18-city tour will feature such top genre acts as Molotov, Cafe Tacuba, Aterciopelados and A.N.I.M.A.L. The last, an Argentine metal group, will also be on part of the Warped trek.

There are a few other changes this year, says co-founder Jorge Mondragon, a Mexico City-based manager. One is that most of the dates will feature fewer acts than last year and will have a later start time.

"Maybe the Anglo kids are used to long, long festivals with 18 bands, but Latin people apparently are not," he says. "Even in the summer, a lot of them are working and are not prepared to arrive early."

Kevin Lyman, who also founded Warped, says there's another key addition: a full-time sponsor.

"Coors Light has signed on as a presenting sponsor and will tie early summer promotions to this, which will help our brand awareness," he says.

Lyman notes that Warped also lost money its first year before it brought in a sponsor (Vans apparel company). Now in its sixth year, Warped has become a consistent success, with a reputation as a launching pad for such hit acts as Limp Bizkit and Blink-182.

Can Watcha serve that same function for rock en espan~ol?

"It was very good for Molotov last year," says Mondragon, speaking about the Mexican hard-core rap group, which made Warped as well as Watcha appearances in 1999.

"They found there was an Anglo community interested in them, and a lot of black people too. They started strong relationships with [rap act] Black-Eyed Peas. We are trying to do a show for Latins, but at least let Anglos know it's happening and maybe someday they will become interested in knowing that the Latin market isn't all just Ricky Martin."

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