Territorial Dissings

Krist Novoselic has punk and politics on the brain.

Krist Novoselic sounds weary from his hotel room in Austin. When asked about the "survivor" tag that the press has attached to Eyes Adrift, he seems slightly peeved.

"It's a story we never really propagated," Novoselic says. "That's just a coincidence -- how we all played in trios. People jumped all over it. Eyes Adrift reviews are soap operas, but it's always been that way with Nirvana, too. That's another cottage industry, the whole Kurt Cobain deity."

So, does Novoselic expect the upcoming Nirvana greatest-hits LP, rarities album and boxed set to contain more exploitative filler than buried treasure? "Not at all," he says. "People are lining up for it. I don't think they'll be disappointed in it at all. It's really good stuff. It should be out there."

Fortunately, Cobain's widow and her fleet of lawyers agree, having recently settled an ongoing dispute with both Novoselic and Dave Grohl over their joint Nirvana LLC venture. And while Novoselic has recently seen enough litigation to send anyone's eyes adrift, he's stayed laser-focused on more creative pursuits, including an artsy, as-yet-untitled punk-rock/yoga film starring Kathleen Hunt and Bhagavan Das. ("There's very little dialogue in it," Novoselic notes. "I guess it's a dance film.") After last summer's stint as a gas-masked bassist for Jello Biafra's No WTO Combo, Novoselic followed his efforts with the Joint Artists and Music Promotions Political Action Committee by creating a new Web journal (fixour.us) dedicated to the principals of democratic inclusion.

"I'm advocating proportional representation as meaningful electoral reform," he says. "Our democracy is shameful. Millions and millions of American voters support candidates, but they don't have anybody who represents them because they live in a safe-seat district -- a Republican district or a Democrat district. Because of redistricting, these private political organizations have done nothing less than staked out their own political fiefdoms. Voters are excluded -- but they still have to pay taxes."

"What I'm proposing is having more state legislatures, more multi-member districts where people are elected proportionally," Novoselic continues. "So if a party gets 30 percent of the vote, they get three seats in a ten-seat district -- instead of winner take all."

Colorado's Senate race between Republican Wayne Allard and Democrat Tom Strickland -- a contentious cage match rife with charges of corporate thievery coming from both sides -- elicits Novoselic's disgust.

"Instead of advocating solutions to many of our nation's problems, here they are slinging mud at each other," say Novoselic, a Gore supporter in the 2000 election. "And that's the electoral system for you, because you just need a plurality of votes, and that's why there's a lack of turnout. Voters feel alienated. I'm pretty burned out with both major parties. Where's the vision, and where are the ideas?"

Of course, the same could be asked about the music industry.

"I watch a lot of music videos to see what people are doing," Novoselic says, "but nobody is really provocative. It's all demonstrations of wealth or macho attitudes. Women are accessories, like a fast car. Punk rock anymore is about aesthetic. It's a haircut. [Eyes Adrift] is trying to evoke the old spirit of punk rock.

"Most bands are financed by large companies, and we're pretty much self-financed on a small label," Novoselic continues. "We could put a lot of bread into this and be a candidate like Steve Forbes. But we're more grassroots. We believe we have a message, and that message is that we play great rock and roll. And people are really responding to that."

 
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