"My Soul Went Dead To Music"


How did you feel when Kurt died?
"My soul went dead to music. It's like a defence mechanism. When music touches a place in you that's so deep that it can cause pain, you build walls around it and shut yourself off. In 1994 music represented everything to me. My relationships with people. My state of mind. My well-being. So when something like Kurt dying happens, the music reminds you of everything, and you've just gotta turn it off. It was just too... overwhelming. But then what happens is, music becomes healing. Still, to this day, one of the reasons why I do what I'm doing is because of all of that."

Do you try to avoid media attention on the anniversaries of Kurt's death?
"I definitely avoided the first one. I went up to Seattle to pick up this van that I had, and on my way, I realised, 'Oh my god, I'm gonna be there on the anniversary of his death.' I was driving to the hotel I was staying in when I happened to see Krist Novoselic on the street. I picked him up and I ended up staying the night at his house. It was really nice, avoiding all the other bullshit."

Do you still think of Kurt?
"Oh yeah. Always. Still. If you've ever lost someone close to you, they sort of visit you every now and then. In recurring dreams. And usually the dream is that the person never left, they've just been hiding. And you can't wait to reveal to the world that the person's still there. It feels so real."

Is the legend of Nirvana justified in your eyes?
"The legend? Nah. Growing up, believing in music that was made by your friends and your mates at the pub, it was hard to buy into some sort of...iconic idolatry. When Nirvana became popular it was just funny. None of us were primed to be rock stars. We grew up listening to independent bands within our own city and digging punk rock."

Don't you sometimes think, 'We were great'?
"Well, yeah! I mean, I listen to the music and think we were a pretty cool band. But, fuck, do I think that it's worth any of the legendary status that people seem to believe in? No. It's just a band. It's funny how things play out that way. It's always the ones that die young we remember for some reason. And I've come to the conclusion that the reason why a lot of musicians' early demises hold such interest is because it leaves people with too many questions. You're just left with some sort of question mark. And it lasts forever."