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Reliving Krist Novoselic's Infamous Bass Toss

Krist Novoselic t-shirt and pants from Nirvana performance

Krist Novoselic is known for his incredible bass lines, but also for his height. Believe it or not, Krist is a whopping 6 feet, 7 inches tall, making the bass a perfect instrument to complement his stature. Considering that Kurt Cobain was 5 feet 9 inches tall and Dave Grohl stands 6-feet, Krist definitely stood out among his Nirvana bandmates.

Like Kurt and Dave, Krist preferred the casual look. Whether he was performing on stage, winning a music award, or filming a music video, Krist usually opted for something comfortable. For the video shoot of 'Heart Shaped Box' Krist can be seen wearing a pair of bright purple denim pants. The color has faded quite a bit through the years, but seeing them up close at the Museum of Pop Culture's Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibition gives you a better idea of just how tall Krist is. Another artifact in the exhibit is a basic black t-shirt of Krist's that has a very interesting story behind it.

By 1992, Nirvana was one of the biggest bands in the world. They made an appearance at the MTV Video Music Video Awards that year as both performers and nominees. The band wore t-shirts and jeans (Grohl in shorts) and they walked away with a coveted Moon Man trophy for Best Alternative Video and Best New Artist in a Video (both for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'). Although they were nominated for Video of the Year and the Viewer's Choice award, those went to Van Halen for 'Right Now' and the Red Hot Chili Peppers for 'Under the Bridge,' respectively. Nirvana winning two awards was impressive, but that night the real buzz was about their live performance.

To start things off, the band wanted to play 'Rape Me' from the forthcoming In Utero album. MTV executives didn't think that was a good idea for fear of repercussions, so the band agreed to play 'Lithium' instead. In a surprise move, Nirvana took the stage and Kurt began singing the opening lyrics to 'Rape Me.' Panic ensued behind the scenes and MTV considered cutting to commercial break, but Nirvana quickly transitioned to 'Lithium' and all was good until a bit of chaos ensued toward the end of the performance. Krist often enjoyed tossing his bass in the air and seeing how high he could throw it, but tonight his instrument had different plans. As they were finishing the song, Krist threw the bass up in the air and it came down and hit him in the head. The mishap briefly knocked Krist to the stage, but he managed to get up and stagger off. The infamous black t-shirt Krist was wearing that night is on display at MoPOP for anyone who wants to relive that eventful night (without the physical harm).

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About the author

Jenn is a former MoPOP volunteer and Nirvana superfan.