Novoselic Used Nirvana Tabs Book To Re-Learn Songs For Hall Of Fame Induction

Krist Novoselic has said he had to buy a Nirvana bass-tabs book before the band’s 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction performance so that he could relearn how to play the songs.

The Nirvana bassist along with drummer Dave Grohl have given a few behind-the-scenes insights into the band’s one-night-only reunion to Rolling Stone.

“I picked up a Nirvana tab book a week before to relearn my parts,” Novoselic told the magazine in a piece about the April 10th Rock Hall induction. “We weren’t up to speed at first. But then it started to flow and it got better and better,” he continued. “Then it hit me and I got kind of somber. I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’m playing these songs again.'”

Grohl said the reunion was an equally intense experience for him. “The first time we played together, it was like seeing a ghost,” he said. “The second time, it was a little more reserved. And the last time we played it was like that fucking Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze pottery wheel scene from Ghost. We usually got the song by the third take.”

“I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be in a room full of Nirvana,” he added. “That first day back really legitimised it.” Grohl also revealed that in preparation for the show they had reached out to some high-profile frontmen, who were too nervous and apprehensive to agree to the role.

He said the idea to feature all women singing lead in their performance came from an unsuccessful attempt to coup PJ Harvey. “Kurt loved PJ Harvey,” said Grohl. “We had always imagined playing our song Milk It from In Utero with her.” When they found out she couldn’t make the gig, they had an inspired idea.

“We thought, ‘Wait, it has to be all women,'” said Grohl. “If we can fill the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance with these incredible women singing Nirvana songs, then we’ll have achieved our own revolution,” he continued. “It added substance and depth, so it didn’t turn into a eulogy. It was more about the future.”

The band scooped up guest singers in chronological order of their influence on the music scene. “Joan Jett, who formed the Runaways, changed rock & roll for women,” said Grohl. “Kim Gordon, from Sonic Youth, was this beacon of light in the predominantly macho, male underground punk rock scene. St. Vincent is a wicked musician that’s pushing boundaries now. And Lorde has an incredible future ahead of her as a writer, performer and vocalist.”

Nirvana’s star-studded performance at the Rock Hall was originally supposed to be followed up by an all-star jam on AC/DC‘s Highway To Hell, but the event ran too long and there was no time. The band were actually relieved. “They expected Nirvana to learn that song,” said Grohl. “It’s hard enough for Nirvana to learn a fucking Nirvana song.”

After the induction ceremony, Nirvana and their special guests performed a secret show at Saint Vitus, a tiny metal club in Greenpoint, Brooklyn which has a capacity of roughly 250 people. According to Rolling Stone, the lucky few at the tiny bar saw Nirvana play a killer 19-song set with Joan Jett, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr , St. Vincent, John McCauley of Deer Tick and Kim Gordon.

The band said cameras were rolling throughout the entire gig, but will not yet disclose what’s going to happen to the official footage. “I didn’t even see the cameras,” said Novoselic. “I think they were bolted to the ceiling. I don’t know what Dave is going to do with it. But he’s a film guy. He’ll figure it out and make something good.”

See our wrap-up of performances and speeches from the Rock Hall Class of 2014 induction!

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