The name of Krist Novoselic may well evade your memory. It’s a strange notion considering he was one-third of one of the most influential bands of all time, but such is the life of the bassist. Unlike many ego-driven rock primadonnas, Novoselic has never been interested in searching for the fame he deserves for being one part of Nirvana. Instead, he prefers to quietly live out his life, pawing over his record collection and providing the odd moment of genuine adoration teaming up with Dave Grohl for mini-reunions.
Just like any music lover, Novoselic has one album that means a little more than most. Of course, the idea of a “favourite album” is a transient one. Music can experience peaks and troughs throughout our lives, and what resonated as an angsty teen may not seem so important when you’re 50 and have your own rebellious adolescent to deal with. However, it would seem, for Novoselic, the album that first stirred his rock and roll soul is still the most important.
It’s not a big leap to suggest that without this record, Novoselic may never have found his interest in rock music and his friendship with Kurt Cobain never blossomed, leaving an entire generation of kids without their bastions of rebellion, Nirvana. It’s something Novoselic muses upon when contributing for Vinyl Writers. “I was recently talking about Sabotage by Black Sabbath again,” opens the bassist, pointing to the 1975 record as the album that changed his life.
“I always wonder if there had been Nirvana without this album,” he muses before answering, “Probably not. It’s everywhere in Nirvana’s music. This is the music that I loved when I was 15 or 16 years old. I had the album on cassette, and I listen to it every day. I think it was the riffs that attracted me, maybe also the album’s occult touch.” Before calling ‘Symptom Of The Univers’ a “monster song”, he notes the album as irreproachable, “It is simply what it is. It is an untouchable album.”
It wasn’t Novoselic’s first introduction to the band, as he continues, “I knew Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules because they were just being released at the time. I discovered Sabotage with an according delay. It was claimed that Nirvana done away with a lot of the metal, but that never applied to Black Sabbath. Sure, we were snotty punks who wanted to get rid of all that ’80s rock, but I’m older and wiser now. You cannot do away with Black Sabbath anyway, because this band is for eternity.”
It’s true, Nirvana were seen as the caustic bleach of a new generation, ready to wipe off the stink of hair metal and over-accentuate crotch padding, but like any great band, they still knew the foundations of rock and roll were deep. “Black Sabbath is immortal,” Novoselic continues, “nobody can do any harm to them. And if you look at the rock music timeline, they are simply above Nirvana. They are part of us because we descended from Black Sabbath, just as Black Sabbath descended from The Beatles.”
It’s an unusual proposition to pit the literal Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne against the mop-topped Paul McCartney, but it’s true. Ozzy has always said how the Fab Four opened up his world, and Novoselic completes the sentiment, “The Beatles opened the gate for all of us, nobody can do anything about this truth. And when I played with Paul McCartney years ago, it was like coming full circle.”
Like George Harrison before him, Krist Novoselic may well be the quieter member of Nirvana. His fame may have somewhat subsided outside of muso circles. However, he’s clear in his position in the annals of rock history, as well as everybody else’s.
Find Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic’s favourite album of all time, Black Sabbath’s 1975 album Sabotage below.