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As the bassist of the grunge band Nirvana, Krist Novoselic was a part of the music revolution that brought alternative rock to the mainstream.
Kurt Cobain - In Utero (2:18)
After running away from home at an early age, Kurt Cobain found a friend in Krist Novoselic and the pair would go on to form the famed band, Nirvana.
The release of Nirvana's song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" became a humongous success in a very short period of time.
An inside look into the release and reception of Nirvana's third album, "In Utero."
On April 5, 1994, in the guest house behind his Seattle home, Kurt Cobain committed suicide.
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Longtime friend Dale Crover of the Melvins played the drums for the tour. They soon found a permanent replacement in Dave Grohl, who had previously played with Scream and Dain Bramage.
Soon the major labels became interested in the group, offering contracts with large advances. Nirvana ended up signing with Geffen Records. Their first release with them, 1991's Nevermind, became a huge hit, driven in part by the single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." While Kurt handled most of the songwriting duties, all three band members worked on this track, which combined elements of punk, metal and pop. "I remember when we first did it, it was nothing special. But after it was recorded, I thought, 'Hey, this is really good. It really rocks,'" Novoselic told Michael Azerrad for his book, Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana.
The video for "Smells like Teen Spirit"—subversive take on a pep rally—got heavy play on MTV. In nearly a year's time, Nevermind sold more than 4 million copies. Nirvana, with raw, emotional sound, helped launch what was called the grunge movement, which often captured feelings of alienation and frustration. They paved the way for other bands, such as Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, to become well-known national acts.
The pressures that came with all of that success weighed heavily on the group, especially Cobain who sank deeper into drug abuse. Cobain's relationship with singer Courtney Love also put a strain on band relationships. Things were especially tense when Cobain uninvited Shelli Novoselic from his wedding to Love because he believed that she was gossiping about his wife-to-be in February 1992. As a result, Krist decided not to attend the ceremony either. "After that, I was pretty estranged from him. It was never the same," Novoselic told Charles R. Cross in his book, Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain.
The band made one more studio album together, In Utero (1994). Rolling Stone called it "brilliant, corrosive, enraged and thoughtful, most of them all at once." While Cobain handled the lyrics, Novoselic and Grohl helped write the music for one track, "Scentless Apprentice." Still, Cobain was increasingly distant and became more depressed. He attempted suicide by overdosing on drugs in March 1994 in Rome while on vacation during the band's European tour. On April 5, 1994, Cobain killed himself at his home.
Novoselic mourned the passing of his once close and longtime friend along with the rest of the world. After Cobain's death, the remaining members of Nirvana won a Grammy Award for their live acoustic recording, MTV Unplugged in New York (1994).
After Nirvana, Novoselic has devoted a lot of his time to activism. He was president of the Joint Artists and Music Promotions political-action committee in the mid-1990s. The organization fought against legislation aimed at regulating music lyrics. In 2004, Novoselic's book Of Grunge and Government: Let's Fix This Broken Democracy! was published.
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