Krist Novoselic says Kurt Cobain “cleaned toilets” to earn money to make Bleach

The Nirvana bassist reflected on the early days of the band alongside some other familiar faces…

Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has opened up on the early days and financial struggles of the band in a new interview alongside Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and esteemed producer Jack Endino.

The three grunge figureheads spoke to Rick Beato in a video interview, which looked back at the joys of rehearsals and recording, before both bands were the big cheese.

On the topic of Nirvana’s demo for Bleach, their seminal debut album, Novoselic said, “Kurt paid for that demo and he had a job, like a janitor. He would go clean dentist offices in the evenings, he cleaned toilets to earn the money to make that record.”

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Novoselic remembered fondly how the band would often end up driving around in search of rehearsal spaces, but that they would “always find a place to play”.

As primary songwriter, Cobain would often turn up with already formed songs or riffs which, they’d work on together: “We would just play every day for hours,” He said “He’d [Kurt Cobain] have these riffs and start playing them and we would just say ‘okay, that’s a cool riff’, and I’d listen and then I’d have an idea like… this is what the song needs. Playing bass –  this is what I want to do for the song, this is what the song is asking or demanding of me.”

On the making of Nirvana’s biggest hit, Smells Like Teen Spirit, he added, “We would play live, Dave [Grohl] would count us in… We liked to play together, that was our glue –  we’d play together and play together well.” He then revealed what his go-to bass of choice was back then: “I had two Gibson Rippers – a blonde one and a black one,” He said, unable to remember which was used on the recording.

He concluded, “It was just live that was the whole thing. We’d do a few takes, it wouldn’t take many takes.”

You can watch the full interview below:

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Earlier this year in April, Novoselic released a record with a new band, 3rd Secret, formed with members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

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