Kurt Cobain's legacy: A tribute from Krist Novoselic and beyond

Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic is a fanboy of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Nirvana In Japan
Nirvana In Japan / Gutchie Kojima/Shinko Music/GettyImages

On the 30th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's passing, numerous loved ones, including former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, have commemorated the iconic frontman's legacy. Reflecting on their time together during Nirvana's In Utero Tour, Novoselic reminisced about Cobain's pivotal role in shaping their live performances. It's also refreshing that Novoselic is still a fan of his own band, saying back in 2012: "I listened to a lot of Nirvana lately..."

Novoselic recalled more recently in a 2024 interview with Mojo that "We were trying to be professional..." They were crafting a spectacle for their audience: incorporating acoustic interludes, and intricate stage setups. It was about achieving a world-class standard. Novoselic emphasized the profound impact of Cobain's artistic intuition, underscoring how it endeared Nirvana to audiences.

Discussing the 30th-anniversary release of In Utero, Novoselic praised the meticulously remastered recordings, which he feels are successful in highlighting Cobain's exceptional talent. For fans of the band, the energy of those performances is electrifying.

He enthused about how, nowadays, with AI technology, we can deconstruct stereo mixes into multi-tracks, capturing the raw essence of original recordings without necessarily requiring some genius "mastering" pro. Reflecting on live shows, he says that, with Kurt at the forefront, the concerts were transcendent.

Nirvana and Kurt Cobain charisma

Many people involved with Nirvana knew they were part of something groundbreaking. "You knew for sure that history was being made [with their MTV Unplugged show]," said former MTV executive Amy Finnerty in a 2018 article from The Ringer. Expressing astonishment at Nirvana's enduring resonance, Novoselic credited Cobain's charisma.

In a separate interview with musician, producer, and YouTuber Rick Beato (also featuring Soundgarden's Kim Thayil), Novoselic talked about how Kurt had mixed feelings about success and fame; on the one hand, he wanted it, yet also felt guilty about it (the conversation with Beato also discusses the intricacies of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun").

Novoselic remarked the thing about Nirvana's success that so many others have said: It's Kurt — he possessed a magnetic intensity that continues to captivate. His innate melodic sensibility emanated from a profound place, and it certainly was its own contribution to their "wall of sound" effect. Another thing is clear, too: The profound bond between Cobain and Novoselic, forged in their teenage years, endures despite Cobain's tragic death in 1994. While Nirvana disbanded following his passing, their legacy persists, cherished by fans worldwide even three decades later.

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