All Ideologies

Wanna keep on rockin' in the free world? Then take an active role in shaping that freedom, urges Krist Novoselic, who knows a little something about rocking -- and democracy. Best known as Nirvana's bassist, Novoselic talks music and politics in his first book, Of Grunge and Government: Let's Fix This Broken Democracy!.

In 103 pages ("part memoir, part political platform"), Novoselic recalls "being saved" by punk music, meeting Kurt Cobain, finding his musical identity and, later, his political voice -- when he realized that punk's "ideals of independence and nonconformity are well-suited for engaging our democracy."

This weekend, Novoselic's book tour swings into Arizona Mills mall. "I'm just gonna use it as a political forum," he says. "It's a political year. Every day's political, really, if you think about it. I'm just gonna give a speech and then take questions."

And we should listen because . . . Novoselic co-founded one of the biggest bands in the history of sound? That makes him a political authority?

Nope. But Novoselic has rocked the activist role. Nirvana played its share of benefit shows -- and constantly waded in angst. Novoselic later founded JAMPAC (Joint Artists and Music Promotions Political Action Committee) and successfully lobbied Washington's legislature to overturn laws deeming certain music "unfit for minors" and prohibiting venues from hosting all-ages shows.

Now fired up about electoral reform, Novoselic outlines proposals in his book -- instant runoff voting, full representation, Super Districts -- and regularly pipes up in Washington state's political arena. He advises young people to get in on the action. "Go to a meeting or an event. Join a civic organization. You can volunteer . . .

"If you catch yourself watching the talking heads on TV, you can actually turn the TV off and go down to one of these events and actually be it. You know? Don't dream it. Be it. You can be part of the dialogue."

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Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch