Krist Novoselic on Punk, Politics…and the Urgent Need to Get Along with Celine Dion Fans


courtesy of Macomb Daily

In a provocative letter to Reason.com, Nirvana's Krist Novoselic outlines what political organizations can learn from rock bands, why he left the Democratic Party, and how political communities need to focus on political issues first and foremost. A snippet:

I want to make an analogy about working in political groups. Mick and Keith, Townshend, and even Kurt, were like the chairs, but they still had to listen to others in the group.

I get my perspective about political groups through my experience with them. I was chair of my county Democratic central committee for about three years. I quit at the end of 2009 and am now an independent voter (and am looking for another political group.) I am also the head of my local Grange, which does some political advocacy but is mainly a community group. I would never play a Flipper record at a Grange or Democratic Party meeting. I find that band's music sublime and beautiful. I am afraid, though, that Celine Dion fans would hear scary noise. But I don't go to meetings to hear any music really. If it were only about Celine Dion's music, I would join another group!!! So that's my answer to your point. I think I understand how musical groups work and, at the same time, this is not insulting to Dion's fans. It's more like: Different strokes for different folks.

Whole thing here.

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  1. Celine Dion fans should be fired from their jobs at Mozilla.

  2. Why is anyone even listening to this guy? He was a second banana in a band that disappeared 20 years ago. If you’ve got to remind people why he’s famous then there’s little point to it – or did he legally change his name to “Nirvana’s Krist”?

    1. He’s the head of his Grange?

    2. Why should we listen to anyone? See what his ideas are. If he’s not an idiot, maybe he’s worth a listen.

      From what I see here, however, I’m in the “OK, whatever, dude…” camp.

      1. His prattling sounds to me like the prattling of lots of people.

        What I hear is a guy who knows about music because that’s what he has done all of his life, and so he thinks that what he knows about music, he can take that and apply it to everything else in the universe.

        It’s like a guy who spent his entire life growing corn, and never really thought too much about anything else, because he didn’t have to. So when faced with making an assessment of anything, he thinks of it in the context of a corn crop.

        I’m not splainin this too well, so I guess I should just say that some people are not capable of thinking outside of the box that they’ve always lived in.

        Hollywood actors are a good example of this. Most of them do not apply too much reality to their politics because they are too accustomed to living in a fictitious world.

        1. That’s probably a theory with some credence, except for the fact that the guy ‘quit the band’ like 20 years ago.

          And while most people probably would have been happy to spend the rest of their lives collecting royalties from the 75m records they sold, at least the motherfucker went to law school and has had a real life since the 90s.

          so, while your point probably isn’t any less *true*, I think its misapplied. You can still think he’s an idiot, sure; just maybe not for *those* reasons.

          1. except for the fact that the guy ‘quit the band’ like 20 years ago.

            Yes, but listen at him. He speaks about things like everything can be evaluated by what happens in a band. I have known a lot of people like that. That is where I am getting my theory from, and I am not necessarily saying that the guy is an idiot, or even that he’s wrong, just that he seems to think that you can take any situation and start with a basis of ‘well, when I was in the band…’

    3. That’s unfair.

      To Dave Grohl. Please: 3rd Banana.

      That said = I think he’s an interesting guy. Why u be hatin’? Players gon’ play.

      1. lol Maybe I’m being a bit petty. And you’re right that he’s got a lot of stuff on the shelf besides music.

        Perhaps I should feel bad for the guy that despite all that he’s still “Nirvana’s Krist”.

    4. He’s got a decent beard, people will listen to anyone with a decent beard who can look occasionally wise.

      1. It’s true. I’ve been getting by strictly on the basis of my goatee for 20 years now. I haven’t done any real work in at least 15 years and no one even seems to care. I can say ‘hey, did you know that if the polar fields reverse, that chickens will start flying upside down?’. And they will just look at me in amazement and say things like ‘I like the way you think, you’re a genius!’.

        Never underestimate the true power of well grown facial hair.

        1. So we should forget about this Nirvana guy, and just listen to the opinions of ZZTop?

  3. Exactly. We should not listen to people who give polite responses with honest opinions in response to mild criticisms. WTF is he expecting? Actual dialogue?

    Plus, It gives us way more time to talk with people like Bill Nye.

    1. But Bill Nye is a science EXPERT; it says so right in his name…

      THEY wouldn’t call him the science guy, otherwise.

      1. SCIENCE

      2. The science is settled!

  4. If anybody can explain how to turn our underground into the mainstream, it should be Novoselic.

    Nirvana was both underground and mainstream; they were both sell outs and full of integrity…

    I think Reason and Gillespie, Welch and company do a great job of selling our message to the world. No one else does a better job. But I see them as sort of like an independent music label. Sort of like Sub Pop. Sub Pop sold itself to Warner, eventually, and Nirvana went to Geffen. …and that’s what’s going to have to happen to us, someday, if we ever want to go mainstream.

    Someone will see us, someday, and maybe they’ll steal our message, and it won’t be ours anymore. And, suddenly, everyone will start calling themselves grunge libertarian–but it won’t be our punk rawk anymore. And a lot of us will cry about how this or that’s been sold out from under us, and we’ll talk about the way it used to be, but, hopefully, the world will become more libertarian…

    But we’re too legitimately libertarian to sell ourselves out that way. Somebody else is going to have to do it to us. We’re too legit to sell ourselves out that way.

    If it happens, it will be like what FDR did with American Communist Party platform. He took it and sold it as his own. “Communist” was a tainted label at that time. We’re like that. To the mainstream, we’re like that.

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