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26th Oct 2018

Listen to Kurt Cobain in never-before-heard lost 1989 Nirvana interview

Will Lavin

The interview was conducted by journalist John Robb in New York in 1989

An early interview with Nirvana members Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic from 1989 has today surfaced for the first time.

Conducted by Manchester journalist and Membranes frontman John Robb, the interview was recorded in New York during Nirvana’s first U.S. tour promoting their debut album, Bleach.

Clocking in at a little over 20 minutes, Cobain and Novoselic talk to Robb about a variety of things, including their desire to escape their hometown, how much they enjoy performing live, how their songwriting was changing, and their hopes for the band going forward.

While both members talk about starting the band in Aberdeen, Washington, Cobain tells Robb that he’s “been writing songs for six years in this style of music” and that the last “two years” saw him and Novoselic get “really serious” about their music after being in and out of other bands previously.

When asked by Robb what he would have done if he hadn’t formed Nirvana, Cobain says: “[I’d] keep trying in another band…I can probably say I’ve never learned the fine art of logging,” referring to Aberdeen’s main employment industry.

Discussing their determination for the band to succeed and how they “probably just [would] have resorted to putting out our own records” had they not been signed to Sub Pop, Cobain and Novoselic’s passion for music is evident throughout.

Speaking to NME, Robb said of the interview: “Nirvana are now one of the most iconic bands in music history. Back in 1989 when I interviewed them, they were playing to 20 people at Maxwells in Hoboken and there was no sense of how big they would become.

“I conducted the interview in a hot, claustrophobic flat the night after the Maxwell’s gig. In the interview, they talk of young band ambition, their music and they are talking about a new song they have just written which we think could be ‘[Smells Like]Teen Spirit.'”

To listen to the interview visit the link here.

Robb’s interview with Nirvana is the first in a series of archival interviews being released as part of the John Robb Tapes Series.