Reminiscences of an ill-fated bass toss
November 20, 2008 1 Comment
In a post at Seattle’s DAILY WEEKLY blog, Nirvana bassist Krist Novaselic revisits the tragic night he decided to throw his bass in the air following a performance at the MTV music awards. It landed on his head. The evidence:
Krist’s story is entertaining, hilarious, self-deprecating, and believe us when we tell you it has an amazing ending.
Here are some highlights:
I walked around and checked out the stage area. Other bands were showing up. I said hello to the fellows in Pearl Jam and the Black Crowes. Sammy Hagar said hi. There was Howard Stern in a suit made to let his bare buttocks hang out.
I eventually made it to the food service area, where Kurt and Courtney were at a table with their newborn daughter, Frances. They told me that Axl Rose had walked by and Courtney started teasing him. She yelled, “Axl, Axl—you’re the godfather!” Upon hearing this, Axl apparently got very annoyed, walked over to Kurt, and demanded that he keep his woman in line. Kurt turned to Courtney and sarcastically asked his woman to keep in line and left it at that.
We’re pretty sure the actual quote was, “Keep your bitch in line.”
Axl then split. Of course, Kurt and Courtney were musing over Axl’s response in the context of society’s patriarchal tendencies. My thought was that Rose shouldn’t have gotten bent out of shape. He should have walked over and asked to kiss the baby or something!
At the same time, Kurt wanted to play the tune “Rape Me” and was adamant about it. The MTV people were upset. We were being asked from all corners not to. I thought we should play something off Nevermind, do the gig, and leave. Easy, right? No. Kurt was very stubborn and refused to play another tune. There was quite a swirl around this issue.
I was walking toward the stage and came across my now-friend and colleague, Duff McKagan. I think Duff was also under the influence. He must have heard something from Rose and had a terse word for me. I was already a little bent out of shape and instantly replied with the same sentiment. The production people grabbed me and we continued toward the stage.
I was now even more shook up. One should take the stage in a good frame of mind, but I wasn’t there. Nirvana gets introduced, and we start playing our prank, then switch into “Lithium.” I’m plugged into some awful bass rig that’s distorting terribly. I can barely hear what I’m playing, and the tone deteriorates into an inaudible mess. Fuck it—time for the bass-toss schtick. Up it goes!!!!! I always try to get good air—I bet I hit over 25 feet, easy! But no matter how high it went, I was not on my game— the only time I’ve ever dropped it was then in front of 300 million people. Ouch! I was fine, but I faked like I was knocked out, perhaps expressing my inner torment over a taxing evening. (Maybe I was just embarrassed.)
I stumbled offstage toward the green room with my hands on my forehead. I walked straight into the bathroom and looked at a bloody forehead in the mirror. I washed my face off and put a paper towel to my head. Paramedics came in and put a little bandage on, then handed me a long medical release form to sign. Standing behind them was Brian May, the guitarist of Queen, with a glass of chilled champagne. I signed the release just to get the medics away from me so I could take a sip of Mr. May’s wonderful medicine. Ahh, yes!!! Moments later Dave Grohl burst in. He’d been looking all over for me, only to find me enjoying a calm glass of bubbly with Mr. May. It was a relief for all!
Is there any way that ending could have been more satisfying?? Brian May to the rescue!