Krist Novoselic is back with a new band named Giants in the Trees. The former Nirvana bassist formed the band with musicians he met at a Wahkiakum County Grange.
Giants in the Trees is an apt name for a Pacific Northwest band that includes Krist Novoselic. The bassist is arborealy tall — 6 feet 7 inches — and a giant in the music industry, too: a founding member of Nirvana, a Grammy winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Despite Novoselic’s stature in the industry, his new band is doing what most new bands do, playing small venues close to home and recording without a record deal. Giants in the Trees has an origin story that differs from most bands, though. It was formed at the Skamokawa Grange in Southwest Washington’s Wahkiakum County. How many bands can claim a grange as their inception site?
Novoselic, who lives in Wahkiakum County and belongs to both the Grays River and Skamokawa granges, was working to help revitalize Skamokawa’s when he jammed with members Jillian Raye, Erik Friend and Ray Prestegard. That jam session turned into a band whose folk-alternative rock sound evokes the river banks, tall trees and weathered hills that the band calls home.
Giants in the Trees
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1; Rhythm & Rye, 311 Capitol Way N., Olympia; $15 at the door.
“We’re from the trees in the Willapa Hills,” said Novoselic.
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Friend and Raye have played in bands together and Prestegard is an accomplished guitarist who has performed solo. The musicians gelled quickly and the band’s first single, “Sasquatch,” came out of those early jam sessions. The band has been recording a yet-to-be-titled album at Novoselic’s Deep River farm. Mixed by Jack Endino, who worked with Nirvana and whose fingerprints are all over Northwest music, it’s due to be released in September.
This isn’t the first band Novoselic has played in since Nirvana; he started or joined the bands Sweet 75, Eyes Adrift and Flipper. He has also played live and done some recording with Foo Fighters, fronted by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.
This summer, Giants in the Trees has played shows in Seattle, Portland, Astoria, Spokane, Republic and Skamokawa; Olympia is next, on Sept. 1. Having a member of one of the world’s most famous bands helps attract audiences but doesn’t guarantee they will stick around.
“It’s one thing when you play songs people know,” said Novoselic. “It is another thing when you are playing new music. I appreciate that people are coming out to our shows and checking out the music. There is a lot of variety [in it], which is one of the reasons we hold people at the shows.”
The thrill of playing in a band is still real for Novoselic, even though it’s a challenge to launch one when you’re tucked away in a rural corner of Washington, where Oregon shoulders its way north.
“Just standing there and feeling that kick drum and building energy with the drummer,” Novoselic said, tailing off before saying, “Having those jam sessions and writing music in the Grange Hall was just fun.”