Nirvana co-founder and WSU Global Campus alum Krist Novoselić. – Photo by Megan Blackburn

By Adriana Janovich, Washington State Magazine

Krist Novoselić visited WSU Vancouver several times during his studies. But WSU Pullman is a different story. “Only once I had to go there,” he says. “I don’t remember why”—some kind of errand, he surmises, that took him to the CUB. He flew in and out the same day.

Novoselić, already a licensed pilot and published author—his book, Of Grunge and Government, came out in 2004—went back to school on a whim. His nephew was heading to community college, and he decided to enroll, too. “It was the best stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Novoselić (’16 Soc. Sci.), bassist and founding member of the iconic grunge band Nirvana.

It was also bit of a commute, about an hour each way from his homestead in Deep River. “I was driving home one day,” says Novoselić, “and there was a billboard. ‘Earn your degree in your pajamas.’ And I was like ‘Whoa, wait a minute.’ I had no idea. I looked at the website (for WSU Global Campus), and I was like ‘Oh man, yeah.’ I submitted an application, and I got accepted, and I signed up for classes, and I just started studying. I’d be backstage reading. I really got into it. I’d recommend it to anybody and everybody. It was a positive experience.” 

But make no mistake: “Online school,” Novoselić says, “is no cakewalk. It’s a lot of work. I’m very confident and happy with the skills I developed through WSU online—researching skills, critical thinking, writing, the scientific method.” 

Most of his classes required online discussion. “You want to be prepared and have your homework done when you engage in those forums,” Novoselić says. “You have to get down to business and have a positive attitude and look good in front of the teacher who’s monitoring it.” 

Fellow classmates seemed to “not really” know they had a rock star in their midst.

And, says Novoselić, “it didn’t really matter. I was what they call a non-traditional student, and it seemed like most people were, too. We were all managing our time. It’s our biggest resource, isn’t it? And I have so much going on. I’m always doing something. I can’t waste any time.” 

It took six years for Novoselić to get his degree. Afterward, he wanted to go to law school. Instead, he says, “I got into Giants in the Trees.” The band formed as he was preparing to graduate. Ray Prestegard, vocalist Jillian Raye, and drummer Erik Friend all met at the Skamokawa Grange, answering Novoselić’s call for a jam session. Their second album, Volume 2, came out last year following their self-titled offering in 2017. 

These days, when he isn’t traveling for Nirvana reunion shows, Novoselić sticks close to home and the Grange. He’s master of Grays River Grange and owns the old creamery building where Giants practices and parts of Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole were recorded.  

Read more about that album—a collaboration with Prestegard and Robert Michael Pyle, one of America’s leading nature writers and a Yale-educated lepidopterist—in the Summer 2020 issue of Washington State Magazine.