Punk rock

Krist Novoselic's Alternative Politics

The Nirvana bassist on voting, farming, anarchism, heroin, and Kurt Cobain.

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"Krist Novoselic's Alternative Politics," produced by Nick Gillespie and Meredith Bragg. 55 minutes.

Watch above or click the link below for full transcript, links, and more. 

Original release date was June 19, 2014. Original writeup is below.

Krist Novoselic is best known as the co-founder and bassist of Nirvana, one of the most influential music groups of the past quarter century. The release of the band's albums Bleach, Nevermind, and In Uteronot only mainstreamed what became known as grunge but helped to forever end what was once known as the mainstream. After Nirvana it seems there is only alternative music and alternative culture, a transformation that is both liberating and anxiety-producing.

Born in 1965 in Compton, California, but raised in Aberdeen, Washington, Novoselic (pronounced know-voe-selitch) embodies the forces Nirvana helped to unleash. Since the 1994 suicide of band leader Kurt Cobain, Novoselic has continued to play with various groups, including a stint with the legendary post-punk band Flipper and sporadic collaborations with former Nirvana bandmate Dave Grohl. But the bass player is also pushing to create an alternative approach to electoral politics.

In 2004, Novoselic published Of Grunge and Government: Let's Fix This Broken Democracy (Akashic), and these days he's chairman of FairVote, a nonprofit that lobbies for electoral reform such as instant runoffs and proportional voting. After serving as chairman of his county Democratic committee for several years and supporting Barack Obama early on, he has broken with the Democratic Party, in part because "it's a top-down structure" impervious to change from the grassroots.

Like Nirvana's music, Novoselic's politics cannot be easily categorized: He has donated money over the years to Ron Paul's campaigns, and he speaks in favor of the liberal-loathed Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which ended limits on non-coordinated political spending by corporations in federal elections. He's active in his local chapter of the fraternal farmer's organization, the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, proving you can go from grunge to Grange.

Novoselic spoke to Reason TV's Nick Gillespie in May.

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