Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic surprised Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival on Monday by joining twee-pop Scots the Vaselines onstage for their song “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam.” The reclusive local appeared clad in all black and wailed on an accordion (!) before bidding his fans adieu with a small wave. While his choice of instrument was unprecedented, the collaboration certainly has its roots: Nirvana covered the same song in 1994 for their hallowed MTV Unplugged performance.
Novoselic interviewed the Vaselines’ Eugene Kelly for Seattle Weekly last week where, in the midst of a casual chat about nostalgia, Novoselic brought up his newfound obsession with the squeezebox: “I’ve actually been playing a lot of accordion. I’m obsessed with it. It’s really crazy. I don’t know what the hell happened to me. I just picked one up one day, and have had to play it every day, all the time. It’s an obsession. But I guess there’s a lot worse obsessions. You know what I mean?”
We’re guessing that anybody who lived through the grunge era would. This isn’t the first time Novoselic’s ventured into the light lately. He played bass and accordion on “I Should Have Known” from last year’s Foo Fighters LP Wasting Light, and appeared with the band at a secret So Cal show to play “Heart-Shaped Box” B-side “Marigold.” In the Seattle Weekly piece, he credits his return to music to “the grace of Dave Grohl,” who he shouted out in his keynote speech at New York’s CBGB festival. Grohl returned the favor at Reading.