Nirvana: Mind Over Matter

Hit Parader - May 1992.

Seattle Thrashers Reach Platinum Paradise With Nevermind

By Frank Overton

Few bands have ever hit the rock world with the impact of Nirvana. When their latest LP, Nevermind, was released late last year, few expected the disc to do much more than establish the band as a strong "cult" contender. But almost instantly, thanks to the immediate response to the album's debut single, Smells Like Teen Spirit, the disc rocketed to the very top of the charts, shooting past the million sales plateau in the process. Not bad for a hard rockin' trio from Seattle, whose previous disc, Bleach, had sold barely a tenth the number of copies as their current effort. But success hasn't changed guitarist/vocalist Kurt Kobian, bassist Chris Novoselic and drummer David Grohl. In fact, when we recently caught up with them, you'd have had a hard time believing that this was one of the hottest rock bands in the world. To Nirvana, stardom doesn't mean big cars, flashy clothes and tons of groupies; rather, it means simply being able to get on stage and do what they do best night in and night out.

Hit Parader: Do you find that your longtime fans react a little differently to you now?

Kurt Kobian: I don't think we've really noticed too much of that. It's not something we spend too much time thinking about. None of the fans we've talked to have said anything like that. Most of them are very happy for us, and they all seem to like the album. I know there is a temptation for people to think a band will change when they go from a small indie label to a major; even I thought that was true. But I don't think it has been true for us. A few fans have noted that our sound has changed a bit, but that's about it.

HP: In what ways do you feel your sound has changed from Bleach to Nevermind?

KK: First off, I don't want to give the impression that any change there's been has happened because we've gone on to a bigger label. That's not true at all. I don't think there's really been that much of a change. Some people who were really into the last album, or who've seen us live over the years, say that this album is more commercial in some ways. Well, that's just part of what we are. We've always liked some pop music, even if it wasn't very commercial. There's always been an element of that in this band. Maybe it's been brought more to the front this time.

David Grohl: A lot of fans who listen to both albums don't realize that Bleach was recorded two years before we began work on Nevermind, and a band does go through some changes during a time period like that - it's only natural. But there's also that opinion that if a band like ours is on a major label then we must have sold out and gone totally away from what we originally stood for musically. That's not the case here.

HP: What's the best part of success?

DG: The good part is that you get to work all the time; and the bad part is that you get to work all the time. We have schedules and things like that that we really can't change. It's much more hectic ... really kind of mad!

KK: The best part is that we don't have to worry about certain things as much as we used to. Now that we're with a big record company, certain things are taken care of that weren't always taken care of in the past. It's nice to know that the records are actually out in the stores and that people are buying them.

HP: Do you find the pressures associated with a successful album are different than you might have imagined?

KK: That's true, they are. It's hard to believe that so many people are interested in us and want to meet us and talk to us. When we're on the road our days are really taken up with going to radio stations, meeting the press and doing all those sort of things. I never realized there were so many rock radio stations in the country! And having to get up every day to talk to the press can get a little tiring. You appreciate the fact that they're interested in you, but you do get the same questions all the time.

HP: So, has there been a question you've been wanting to answer that nobody's asked yet?

DG: No

KK: Nope

HP: As you look ahead, do you see more changes in Nirvana's sound on your next album?

KK: Yeah, I think there'll be more changes next time. In fact, we've got quite a few songs already written for the next album... maybe enough for a whole album. We'd like to go in and record them pretty soon, but we'll have to see. People are telling us that as long as Nevermind keeps doing as well as it has, we should just stay on tour. But I don't know about that. We'd like to record 'em while they're still fresh. But they will be different in that the mellow stuff will be even mellower and the heavy stuff will be even heavier. We're going in tow directions at once; we like that. Doing just one thing can get a little boring after a while, and one thing this band doesn't ever want to be is boring.