Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic Explains Female-Fronted Rock Hall Performance

Written by Tom Williams on 16th April, 2014

Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic Explains Female-Fronted Rock Hall Performance

Following his band’s recent induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which was capped off with a performance featuring a slew of notable frontwomen including the likes of Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St Vincent and Lorde (followed later by a “secret show” at a Brooklyn club), Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has explained the reasoning behind which artists were chosen to sing lead.

Novoselic took to his blog to discuss why he and the other surviving members of Nirvana — Dave Grohl and Pat Smear — chose to perform the way they did. Titled “Punk Rock Gender Parity”, the post outlines how Novoselic still misses late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and how he believes that performing with female vocalists was “a good tribute to Kurt and what Nirvana was about.”

“I am so happy about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame event and how it went so well,” Novoselic writes. “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.”

Novoselic went on to discuss the balance the performances created, between the “matriarchs of Punk Rock” like Jett and Gordon, and the “powerful up-and-coming women in Rock” like Lorde and St Vincent. He also told readers that the set will be broadcast in high quality television in May.

A longtime advocate for political, and in particular electoral, reform in the United States, Novoselic closed by mentioning how his band’s Rock Hall set had him “thinking about the political realm,” and more importantly a report published by FairVote 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,” Novoselic wrote, before directing readers to a video about the recent study narrated by Marie Wilson. Check out the clip, along with Novoselic’s complete blog post, below.

Watch: Representation 2020 — A Century from Suffrage to Parity

Krist Novoselic’s full blog post:

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.


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