Ahead of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Thursday night, Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic stopped by The Tonight Show to share stories with Jimmy Fallon about Kurt Cobain, Nirvana’s early days, playing with Paul McCartney and what the Hall of Fame induction means to them.
“It’s bittersweet because our our friend Kurt has been gone for 20 years, so it’s a good way to remember him,” Novoselic said in the video above. “He should be here.”
The duo discussed Cobain’s high school days (“He was this weird kid, and I was a weird kid. We thought the world was weird and so we gravitated toward each other,” Novoselic recalled) and fondly remembered when, as Grohl put it, “there was a time when you couldn’t even buy Nevermind. That’s how big it was.” Asked about their biggest show, the pair said they once played to a staggering 350,000 people in Brazil.
Fallon told the duo that he obsessed over the band’s 1994 Unplugged show so much, his band The Born Losers, which played only one show a year on New Year’s Eve, would end the night with a cover of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (itself a Leadbelly cover). “It would just clear the party,” Fallon said, laughing.
The segment’s most surreal moment, though, was Grohl sharing the band’s encounter with Weird Al during a taping of Saturday Night Live. “We were in the dressing room and there was the one girl — I can’t remember her name, only that she was a cast member — and she was like, ‘My friend Weird Al wants to talk to you,'” said Grohl. “He called into the dressing room to ask if it was cool if he could do the ‘Teen Spirit’ parody.”
In the second segment below, the duo discuss playing with Paul McCartney during last year’s 12-12-12 concert, marking the first time the surviving members of Nirvana have played together in 20 years. “Paul shot me a riff and I picked it up. I shot him a riff and he picked it up,” said Novoselic. “Dave’s jamming and Pat [Smear’s] there. I’m looking at Dave and Pat and I forgot about Paul and I‘m like, ‘Wait a minute. I haven’t played with these fellas for 20 years.’ So it’s bittersweet. It was a trip.”
Grohl told Fallon that even though McCartney is a Beatle, he’s still underrated as a musician. “Paul is not only the nicest person in the world and he’s not only a Beatle, but he is an incredible musician,” said Grohl. “Sometimes you forget that he can be the most badass bass player you’ve ever seen in your entire life. He just wants to jam.”
Grohl and Novoselic also acted as hosts of sorts, introducing Stevie Nicks as the show’s musical guest. Nirvana will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Thursday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center alongside Kiss, Cat Stevens, Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, the E Street Band, Andrew Loog Oldham and Brian Epstein.