Krist Novoselic on MTV Awards’ Great Bass Toss of 1992: Duff McKagan Responds


Krist Novoselic, way back in the day

When Krist Novoselic started typing for our Seattle Weekly bridge partners last November, the Flipper bassist made it clear his every-Tuesday column wouldn’t be a Ray-Manzarek-style wax-museum guide: “I don’t do a lot of Nirvana interviews. I could do a documentary interview about the band everyday, forever!” And over the last 12 months, he’s mostly opined about lefty-pet subjects like progressive politics, universal voter registration, and Prop 8, along with posting the occasional rare MP3, Flipper live bit, or Fisher-Price handy-cam Mudhoney snippet.

But yesterday, for his column’s first anniversary, Krist indulged comment-stalkers with his version of what really happened during his ill-fated, head-bleeding bass toss on the 1992 MTV Awards—and it involved minor backstage altercations with Axl (on behalf of Kurt and Courtney) and now-fellow SW columnist (more on that later) Duff McKagan. First, the Kurt, Courtney, and Axl incident:

    Kurt and Courtney were at a table with their newborn daughter, Frances. They told me that Axl Rose had walked by and Courtney started teasing him. She yelled, “Axl, Axl—you’re the godfather!” Upon hearing this, Axl apparently got very annoyed, walked over to Kurt, and demanded that he keep his woman in line. Kurt turned to Courtney and sarcastically asked his woman to keep in line and left it at that. Axl then split.

Soonafter, Krist runs into Duff:

    I think Duff was also under the influence. He must have heard something from Rose and had a terse word for me. I was already a little bent out of shape and instantly replied with the same sentiment. The production people grabbed me and we continued toward the stage.

So then Krist gets onstage, tosses the bass up high, “over 25 feet, easy!” Then: “Ouch!” It’s ultimately okay: he ends up backstage sipping champagne (“wonderful medicine”) with Brian May. The entire recollection is worth reading, if only for a glimpse into Krist’s psyche. But the real reward here is the comments section, whereupon Duff McKagan responds:

    All I REALLY remember of the incident was Kim Warnick calling me the next day. She said that I had been an “asshole”! I groaned in embarrassment and humility as Kim has never lied to me and always has been straight up. Good article Krist and I am sorry for being an asshole to you that day…you guys were my favorite band at the time and I had worn out 2 cassettes of ‘Nevermind’. Who would have thought that I’d be asking you for election advise 16(?!) years later?

Pretty sure this is why the Internet was invented.

Fast-forward to the 4:30 minute mark to see the Great Bass Toss