CBGB Festival: Krist Novoselic Keynote at Sunshine Cinema

Posted on: July 6th, 2012 at 10:37 am by
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CBGB tees, chucks, and frayed jeans were in total attendance yesterday afternoon for the kickoff of the inaugural CBGB Festival. After all, that’s the uniform.

Festivities were jumpstarted with a keynote speech by iconic bass player and political activist Krist Novoselic.  Speaking before a surprisingly sparse crowd in theater 4 of the Sunshine Cinema on East Houston, the Nirvana veteran (with MC duties by Matt Pinfield) touched upon his love affair with music, career in the band, and the absolute importance of organizing (nay, “associating”) to mobilize change.

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Temperatures were in the 90s, as they’ve been for the last week, but that didn’t discourage the Washington woodsman from dressing the part. Longsleeves and slacks. Fashion notes aside, the speech was somewhat loose, championing the ethos of punk and its inherent nature to go against the man. For Novoselic, that meant becoming more involved in local Seattle politics after Nirvana disbanded in 1995. The political climate in town at the time was very much anti-music, which led to the formation of Joint Artists & Music Promotions Action Committee  (JAMPAC), a nonprofit that worked to “ensure complete and total artistic freedoms to all artists and music industry companies.”

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Yet the biggest takeaway from the entire speech was his adamant belief that progressive political reform is on the horizon. That a certain convergence of political association and technology will revolutionize the public sector for the next generation.

The Q&A component was pretty cool, with a range of questions from first city gigs Nirvana played (he was reminded of the show at the Pyramid), to tips on organizing community to the reunion with Dave Grohl and Butch Vig for the Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light. But the best query from left field was one for Celebrity Deathmatch – Axl Rose or Vince Neil. Novoselic answered that he’d probably be the asshole interrupting the brawl. Well played, sir.

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