Krist Novoselic joined his first band after his kid brother Robert introduced him to a buddy named Kurt. Krist and Kurt started jamming at a hair salon owned by Novoselic's mother, starting a project that would go on to be the biggest band in the world.
Novoselic's new band started just as casually.
The former Nirvana bassist lives in rural Deep River, Wash., a tiny town of 204, across the Columbia River from Astoria. There, he presides over Grays River Grange Hall No. 124.
From the ranks of National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry—his own chapter and Skamokawa Grange Hall on the eastern side of Wahkiakum County—Novoselic assembled his new band, Giants in the Trees.
"We're all Grangers," says Giants singer Jillian Ray. "We had a jam session at our local Grange and we just clicked right away. We started writing our first song, 'Sasquatch,' which is actually the single we just released on YouTube and iTunes. We just kept writing, and now we've got an album in the works."
Like Foo Fighting former bandmate Dave Grohl, Novoselic has had a number of musical projects since the kid he jammed with in his mother's salon stabbed a pen through his suicide note and pulled the trigger on his shotgun. Perhaps you remember Sweet 75, Eyes Adrift or the No WTO Combo, which Novoselic (a supporter of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson) formed to soundtrack the Seattle's anti-globalization riots in 2000.
But Giants already feels a little different. The band calls its aesthetic the "Willapa Sound," which on the first single resembles something approaching a Mumfordian Garbage—folksy brooding paired with Ray's robust vocals. They've already made a video, and while they're playing small gigs, they're moving up fast. Last weekend they had a big show at Astoria's Fort George Brewing, and this weekend will be their third show at NoPo's Fixin' To.
The sound is a function of the band's rural lifestyle, Ray says.
"It's a magical place. It's definitely lush and quiet," she says. "We're all rural, toward that lifestyle."
Ray was in Sacramento before moving to the deep woods. She sounds pretty happy with her lifestyle, which centers around her bumper crops of nasturtium, sunflowers, lavender, sage and mint.
"I spend a lot of my time out in the garden, growing food and foraging," she says.
If the band takes off, that'll be a thing of the past. You might have gotten the impression that Novoselic, unlike Grohl, wants to keep a low profile. Not so, Ray says—the goal is to "definitely to get the music out there" and "to see where this all leads."
The direction things are headed should become more clear after the release of their still-untitled record, which will likely be out next month.
"No one's decided on anything," she says. "We just want to see where this whole thing leads. We're a bunch of people living in the country, writing music. We don't know, we don't know—just doing our thing."
SEE IT: Giants in the Trees plays the Fixin' To, 8218 N Lombard St., with Young Hunter, on Friday, Aug. 18. 9 pm. Call venue for ticket information. 21+.