(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CBGB Festival)

It’s a Krist Novoselic birthday celebration, baby. So let’s crack a sixer of some of his best Nirvana bass riffs, as chosen by yours truly.

I’m Adam 12, keeper of the giant spreadsheet of rock star birthdays and rock album anniversaries here at ROCK 92.9. I file them all under Today in Boston ROCK, which you can dig into here. It’s a better waste of time than doomscrolling TikTok.

Usually, to celebrate a rock star bday, I’ll share a short setlist of my personal fave tunes from said rockstar. But in the case of this Krist Novoselic birthday post, I’m opting instead to focus on what I believe to be the best grooves and riffs he wrote for Nirvana.

Krist Novoselic Birthday: Celebrating the Nirvana Co-Founder

Krist Anthony Novoselic was born in Compton, CA on May 16, 1965. A year after he was born, his family moved to San Pedro to be in community with fellow Croatians. San Pedro is also famously the hometown of another bass legend, Mike Watt. Weird, right?

When he was a teen, the family moved to Aberdeen, WA. That’s where Krist met Kurt Cobain. The two became friends, bonding over punk rock and local bands like The Melvins. They formed Nirvana together in 1987, recruiting Aaron Burckhard as their drummer.

Krist Novoselic Birthday: Raw Riffs and Grooves Galore

Krist holds a unique legacy in the pantheon of rock. He’s Nirvana’s first, last, and only bass player. This made him the main musical counterpart–and counterpoint–to one of the greatest rock stars of all time. Not an easy task. But he pulled it off to the bitter end.

The contrast in personalities between Krist and Kurt–where they met, where they diverged–made for some pretty intense moments, both live and on record. I’m focusing on the latter here, pulling out six sick Novoselic bass riffs. Enjoy.

  • "Love Buzz"

    No, it’s not a Nirvana song. It’s a Shocking Blue cover. No matter. It was the band’s first single from their debut album and it’s arguably the most iconic bass riff in their entire catalog.

  • 'Blew"

    Another epic intro groove from Mr. Novoselic. The original version was recorded during at the same time as “Love Buzz.” A second version was recorded for Bleach, and re-released on the Blew EP a few months after the album released.

  • "Sliver"

    Sometimes what’s simplest is what’s most memorable. Such is the case with the opening riff to this 1990 Nirvana single for SubPop. I’m singing it out loud as I type this right now. It’s childish, really. And that’s why it works.

  • "Dive"

    The B-side to the “Sliver” single. I wasn’t cool enough to have picked this one up back in 1990; I discovered it on Incesticide in ’92. It’s my all-time favorite Krist riff and one of my fave Nirvana songs.

  • "Endless, Nameless"

    Novoselic’s work on Nevermind is exceptional. Then you get through the album to hidden track “Endless, Nameless” and he and Cobain drag you directly into the grunge sludge. Improvised, self-destructive, dirty.

  • "Serve The Servants"

    Back to that interplay between Krist and Kurt. It’s on display here in what’s one of the most pivotal moments in the band’s history: the opening track to In Utero, the follow-up to their breakthrough second album. Novoselic could bust out a riff, but he could also lay down a groove that suited what Cobain was doing to a tee.

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