UPON the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s final studio album, In Utero, bass giant Krist Novoselic gives a rare interview in the new issue of MOJO, casting fascinating light on the mindset of the group at the time. In Utero was an album made under intense public scrutiny, at a time when singer Kurt Cobain and wife Courtney Love were at the height of their turbulent celebrity, beset by rumours of drug use, custody battles and money tensions – the fall-out from the successful play for fame Nirvana had made with their second album, Nevermind.
Nirvana’s extraordinary breakthrough had sparked a cultural revolution, but the subsequent mainstreaming of grunge caused the group much anguish, to say nothing of the pressure from both the music industry and their newfound demographic to follow it up.
“It took me 20 years for me to realise Nevermind was a great record.”
As the trio prepared to play their triumphant 1992 Reading Festival show, Novoselic told MOJO Editor-In-Chief Phil Alexander that Nevermind’s punkier follow-up “would be our absolution”. But, looking back with the very same writer in 2013, he's prepared to accept that the pressures it brought had made him unnecessarily critical of Nevermind.
“There was so much going on at the time it was hard to see things for what they were.” Novoselic tells MOJO. “We were such social outsiders and to then become this huge band, it was hard adjusting. So it became the record’s fault!”
The interview that Kurt Cobain gave to Jon Savage in July 1993 – which appears at full length for the first time in the latest MOJO – also explores the demonization of Nevermind. “It's too slick,” complained Cobain. “I don't listen to records like that at home. I can't listen to that record.”
Hearing the album from the perspective of 2013 was not a luxury Cobain would be afforded, but for Novoselic time has healed his relationship with the album. “It took me 20 years for me to realise Nevermind was a great record,” he sighs, “and it was.”
Read the full interview with Krist Novoselic as well as Jon Savage’s moving interview with Kurt Cobain in the new MOJO.