“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