Krist Novoselic Recalls First Nirvana Jam with Dave Grohl
Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic recalled the “immediate” connection he and Kurt Cobain felt with Dave Grohl when the drummer joined the band ahead of recording their 1991 album Nevermind.
Grohl was chosen to replace Chad Channing in 1990, three years into the group’s career. In a recent interview with Uncut, Novoselic explained how quickly the future Foo Fighters leader made an impact.
“It flowed, it sounded good, it was immediate,” he said. “It just fell into place; there was no awkwardness. Dave is such a good musician, he rose to the occasion – or we rose to him, whichever way it happened. It just seemed natural and Dave was easy to hang out with. I think he moved in with Kurt. That took a lot of courage, to move into an apartment with him!”
He added that Grohl had learned the material from Nirvana’s debut album Bleach, but that writing for Nevermind was already underway. “We had some songs: some we would just make up on the spot, others Kurt had some ideas for. We were really serious about rehearsing. We had this barn in Tacoma that we rented. Somebody had tried to make it into a studio and hadn’t got very far, but it was a decent place to rehearse. We went in there and we were serious about working on the songs.”
In a related interview, producer Butch Vig remembered working on studio sessions before Channing’s departure. “We tracked the first song and did a couple of takes when Kurt put his guitar down and went and sat in the corner,” he said. “I tried to talk to him but Krist explained he got into these moods. You had to let him go through it and he’d eventually snap out of it. Eventually, Kurt stood up and said, ‘Let’s go,’ and we cut the first song. I realized that was something I’d have to deal with. He had these incredible mood swings, sometimes several times a day. I also noticed tension between Kurt and Chad. Kurt would sometimes go behind the drums and show Chad how to play. Krist was peacekeeper, the guy I would go to if I needed some help with the other two.”
Vig went on to recall the arrival of a rehearsal tape a few days before work on Nevermind began. “It began with Kurt introducing Dave Grohl and then they kicked into ‘Teen Spirit,’” he said. “It was a boombox recording and I heard this scratchy guitar and Dave’s drum fills and then sheer distortion. The recording was horrible, but I could tell the songs were tight and hooky.”