Nirvana Reveal How Reunion With 90’s Icon Recreates MTV Unplugged

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Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic discussed having his guitar recreated from MTV Unplugged for a 2016 performance with Beck of “The Man Who Sold The World” at a Grammys party in a new Bass Player interview.

“We started in summer 2017 when we jammed at an open call for musicians, and the core players of [Giants in the Trees] showed up. I was playing an acoustic bass guitar—an Epiphone that I had gotten for free because I played a show with Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, and Beck in Beverly Hills. Our manager got an acoustic to replicate the one I had in [Nirvana’s] MTV Unplugged episode. Anyway, I busted out some riffs, and they all jumped in, and it turned into the song ‘Sasquatch.’ We wasted no time getting into it. Then I had some riffs on accordion, and that turned into a song called ‘Center of the Earth.’ It all clicked really well, and one thing led to another, and we decided to keep playing together. The forming was totally natural. We’ve worked together so well since we first met.”

He also discussed the original MTV Unplugged performance.

“We went into it so nervous and shaky. The rehearsals didn’t go well at all, so to help prepare myself I invited Cris and Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets to my hotel room just to jam out the songs with me to get the details down. For David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold the World,’ I sat on the edge of my bed the night before the show and tried to figure out what the hell the bass was doing. I knew I couldn’t touch Tony Visconti’s bass line, so I figured out the basic elements of the song that stand out, which is that bass run and those flourishes that he does. I knew if I could get the bass run down, it would bring it all together. I sat for a half hour and played it over and over again, and I got it locked in. Then, playing the Nirvana songs, I just played everything faithful. I like improvising, and that’s how you come up with new music, but once I figure something out that works or I write something and lock it in, I never change it. I still can’t believe we pulled that show off.”