Nirvana’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction had the potential to be a very dull exercise in dainty rock tiptoeing around the obvious elephant in the room that was the memory of Kurt Cobain.
The band dutifully and heartwarmingly paid tribute to their fallen frontman in their acceptance speech at the ceremony, held in New York last Thursday, but the real glory (and talking point that nearly broke the internet) came in the surviving Nirvana members – Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear – using a cross-generational cast of musical matriarchs to fill Cobain’s sizeable shoes for a live four-song set of Nirvana classics.
Following the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame ceremony and the amazing ‘secret’ afterparty gig hosted at a 230-cap Brooklyn bar that followed, bassist Krist Novoselic has opened up about the whole saga offering a bit of insight into the decision to use an all female lineup and how they “conjured the spirit of the band.”
Taking to his own personal blog for a post entitled ‘Punk Rock Gender Parity‘, the 48-year-old musician and sometimes politician writes: “I am so happy about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame event and how it went so well.”
“I spoke to Dave [Grohl] about it and he ran with the idea of having all women lead. We felt that would be a good tribute to Kurt and what Nirvana was about,” writes the bassist. [do action=”pullquote”]”I feel we conjured the spirit of the band, and we could not have done that alone.”[/do]
Helping Nirvana reunite for their first live performances together of their material in over two decades, and flipping the gender on Cobain’s legacy, were 90s alt-rock contemporary Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, Annie Clark aka St. Vincent, ‘Royals’ sensation Lorde, and elder rocker Joan Jett, who Novoselic reveals was “first on my list to be out front.”
“Earlier that week there were three long days of rehearsals in NYC. I feel we conjured the spirit of the band, and we could not have done that alone,” he adds. “This, for me, is a bittersweet notion as we all miss Kurt so much. But considering we were inducted, the show had to go on.”
The decision to have females filling in for the iconic Cobain also diverted the huge expectations that would’ve been instantly saddled on any male performers that would’ve attempted the task of fronting the Seattle grunge legends.
That being said, the exclusive afterparty at New York’s Saint Vitus did see shaggy Dinosaur Jr’s frontman J. Mascis and Deer Tick’s resident Nirvana obsessive, John McCauley, ‘playing’ Kurt for the night in a 16-song set of the band’s hits, favourites, and rarities. “That was a lot of fun,” coos Novoselic in his post.
Following the Hall of Fame performance she helped close with a rendition of ‘All Apologies’, Lorde tweeted her thanks for playing a part in celebrating the Nirvana milestone (a band who – it’s worth noting – had their legacy cemented two years before the 17-year-old New Zealander was even born).
so honoured and happy i got to help celebrate nirvana’s rock and roll hall of fame induction tonight. true fucking rock stars, all, forever.
— Lorde (@lordemusic) April 11, 2014
“and man, joan, annie and kim give a healthy display of Coolest Women You Will Ever Meet Behaviour,” added Lorde in a follow-up tweet.
Kim Gordon also enjoyed herself, tweeting: “Last nite [sic] was surreal and epic wish I could say something witty and original but it was unforgettable like Kurt !” while St. Vincent simply posted: “F&$%-ing best night of my life. NIRVANA. #NIRVANA #NIRVANA”
Read Krist Novoselic’s full post below or over at his blog.
I am so happy about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame event and how it went so well. Earlier that week there were three long days of rehearsals in NYC. I feel we conjured the spirit of the band, and we could not have done that alone. This, for me, is a bittersweet notion as we all miss Kurt so much. But considering we were inducted, the show had to go on. Joan Jett was first on my list to be out front. I spoke to Dave about it and he ran with the idea of having all women lead. We felt that would be a good tribute to Kurt and what Nirvana was about.
It was a good balance of females as Joan Jett and Kim Gordon are matriarchs of Punk Rock, while St. Vincent and Lorde represent the powerful up-and-coming women in Rock. Every one of these performances nailed a Nirvana tune in their own way. Joan – Smells Like Teem Spirit, Kim – Aneurism, St. Vincent – Lithium and Lorde – All Apologies. I had fun on the last song because I got to play accordion and all of our guests were on stage for a gala closing! Our set will be broadcast in high quality television in May so check it out.
We also did a club gig afterward that was a lot of fun. I will have more on that soon but thank you to J Mascis and John McCauley for your great contributions!!!!
Our “all female” Hall of Fame set also had me thinking about the political realm (Imagine that!) At FairVote we have done a report regarding the state of women’s representation. I will have more to say about this, especially how at-large districts tend to put more women in office, at another time. Until then, enjoy this short and engaging video about the study narrated by Marie Wilson.