Former Nirvana Bassist Goes Solo

It's back to the beginning for ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, who on Tuesday will release his first new album since Kurt Cobain's suicide ended the seminal grunge band's run three years ago.

Novoselic has formed his own band, Sweet 75, as the other member of the Nirvana trio, Dave Grohl, did before him with Foo Fighters. Novoselic, 32, teams with eclectic Venezuelan street singer Yva Las Vegas (get it?) for the self-titled debut from Geffen Records, and it marks a big step for him, both professionally and musically. "It has been a long time since I've played for an audience that didn't know every word of every song," Novoselic says of his gigs with Sweet 75. "People who showed up were Nirvana fans and didn't know what to expect. Seeing them come away pleasantly surprised has been great." Adds Las Vegas: "I know a lot of people would like nothing better than 'Nirvana--The Sequel.' It's been a real eye-opener for me to see how little some fans wanted Krist to grow as an artist. Having never played in an iconoclastic rock band before, I could never understand the pressure to repeat oneself." Nonetheless, Nirvana fans may find the punk-pop feels familiar on some cuts. Otherwise, to call this album diverse is an understatement. It ranges from grungy Latin folk to country (a tribute to Dolly Parton?!?), to alterna-power pop to bluesy rock. Trumpeter Herb Alpert even makes a cameo on one tune, as does R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. "We were conscious of breaking out of the 'rock album' mode," Novoselic says. "We have a horn section on a few songs and a traditional Venezuelan folk song, as well." As if all the other changes in his music weren't enough, Novoselic also changes instruments for the album, switching from bass to electric 12-string guitar. Las Vegas, a U.S. resident for half of her 33 years, met Novoselic in Seattle. One sidewalk performance earned her a gig at his birthday party in 1995.

Sweet 75 should be touring soon--as Novoselic puts it, "The art part of the process is over. Now it's time to work."

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