Politics & Government

Former Nirvana bassist finds his new beat: politics

Actors and musicians often use their celebrity to draw attention to political or social causes.

Rarely, though, do they relish the nitty-gritty the way former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic does.

A founding member of one of the most influential bands in history, Novoselic also has influenced politics in his rural community in Washington state. The one-time Democratic Party chairman for Wahkiakum County (population 4,000), Novoselic can speak with authority on such topics as unassembled caucuses and the intricacies of Prop. 14, the voter-approved but legally challenged call for a "top-two" California primary.

"I am interested in rules and procedures," Novoselic said of his wonky inclinations. "I know all the party rules and bylaws. I just have a knack for it."

Now 45, the 6-foot-7 Novoselic is no longer the same goofy guy who got conked on the head during a 1992 MTV performance by the bass guitar he had just thrown in the air. Yet he retains a youthful, unfettered quality, bringing great sincerity and enthusiasm to a phone interview in which he discussed his sense of civic responsibility.

Novoselic left his county Democratic post ("They weren't really interested in any kind of innovations") and went independent early this year. But he still chairs FairVote, a national nonprofit devoted to election reform and increased voter turnout.

More generally, Novoselic is interested in the First Amendment idea of freedom of association, and how social networking fuels association. He will address those topics during a free lecture this evening at California State University, Sacramento.

"I have been associating ever since my late teens and early 20s, with punk rock," Novoselic said. "People come together when they need something, or they share the same values."

He kept up with politics while in Nirvana. "We read the newspapers, and were aware," Novoselic said. "I have voted in every election since I was 18."

But he did not become proactive until after Nirvana ended following Kurt Cobain's April 1994 suicide.

Read more of this story at SacBee.com