Krist Novoselic Admits To Warning Kurt Off Heroin

11 March 2009, 23:15 | Updated: 27 August 2013, 23:18


The Nirvana bassist, in a long and incredibly frank interview, has said that he continuously warned Kurt Cobain to stay away from heroin.

Krist Novoselic has recently taken part in the Washington State’s ‘Legacy Project’. In it, the former Nirvana bass player was interviewed by Secretary Of State John Hughes to cover his youth, his time with Nirvana and his post-band career in staggering detail.

Among a number of frank revelations is the bass player’s relationship with frontman Kurt Cobain. As well as admitting regret at not being able to do enough before the singer’s suicide, he also said that he warned Cobain about the perils of heroin very early on.

“There's regrets”, said the bass player. “I was angry. It's just a waste. You know it was the fucking drugs. It's pretty bad. All in 20-20 hindsight, you know. Kurt called me the first time he did heroin and he told me he did it. And I told him, 'Don't do it man. You're playing with dynamite’.”

“I made my feelings known very early on. And I was outspoken about a few things, and if that was advice, or if it was, it wasn’t heeded. And in a lot of ways I was saying things that weren’t very welcome, so that strained things with the relationship.

“I couldn’t just say it over and over again. When you deal with those issues people have to make their own realizations, hit rock bottom or whatever. Then they’re going to turn things around. Well, obviously that didn’t happen”.

A happier recollection by Novoselic sees him re-living Nirvana’s watershed moment. In it, he recalls a sea change in musical tastes and the unarguable brilliance of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.

“[When you’re] living in the underground scene it’s like, ‘Oh this will never catch on’. But it did, and it was starting to change where you had bands like Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction. They were these rock bands but they were more like alternative or edgy. Then they paved the way for Nirvana. And then Nirvana, again, was at the right place at the right time. Made a really good record. It was slick, and accessible, and full of a lot of pop hooks. That’s when rock music really wasn’t happening, so ‘Nevermind’ was released and there was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which was a phenomenal tune, and a lot of energy.

"I remember when Butch Vig, our producer, put up the rough mixes of that song and he goes, 'You've got to hear this tune.' He's just like cranking it up on the mixer. And I'm like, 'Wow, yeah, that rocks'."

The full 89 page transcript of the interview can be seen here.