If St. Vincent would have told her 9-year-old self that one day, she'd perform with Nirvana, she wouldn't have believed it. And then she probably would've cursed like a girl twice her age.
"Nevermind came out when I was 9, and it meant everything to me. I know I wouldn't be playing music if it wasn't for Nirvana," Annie Clark tells Rolling Stone backstage at the 29th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "It hit me as a 9-year-old! Fuck yeah, it hit me!"
So obviously, when Clark joined the surviving members of new inductees Nirvana during Thursday night's ceremony for a version of "Lithium" — she was one of four iconic female singers to take part in the performance, along with Lorde, Kim Gordon and Joan Jett — she made sure to channel her inner child. But she never forgot the main reason she was on stage, either: to honor the legacy of the the band that shaped her life.
"I heard Dave Grohl’s kick drum sound in my motherfucking ear! I heard Krist Novoselic playing! I heard Pat Smear playing in my ear, in real time. And I was there!" she laughed. "They haven't played these songs in 20 years, [so] you just want to do your damndest for those guys. But the real thing is that they changed people’s lives. People’s lives were better as a result of what those three, and eventually four, guys did."
And to that end, Clark didn't feel like speculating on what Thursday night's performance meant for the future of Nirvana — but she definitely wouldn't be opposed to joining them again if the situation arose. After all, she's got to fulfill the dreams of a slightly older Annie Clark, too.
"That's the test of good music. I was an 11-year-old, so it hit me [then] too," she said. "There was something in it, some sort of pain and anxiety and deep humanity that resonated with me ... and it still resonates with me today."
Additional reporting by Kory Grow