Forming a band at an impromptu jam session in a rural Washington Grange hall isn’t your typical rock group creation story.
But when the bassist is former Nirvana member Krist Novoselic, it begins to make sense.
This Saturday night at the Bishop Center on the GHC campus, Novoselic returns to Aberdeen to perform with his new band: Giants in the Trees. The rock-Americana group originates from the Skamokawa Grange in Wahkiakum County, near Novoselic’s adopted community, where he is a member of both the Skamokawa and Grays River granges.
In an attempt to revitalize Skamokawa’s grange, Novoselic hosted a jam session, and the only four who showed quickly started writing their own music and formed Giants in the Trees.
“In two or three days, we had two songs, pretty far along, and we never looked back,” Novoselic, said in a phone interview. He attended Aberdeen High School with Kurt Cobain and the two later founded Nirvana.
Giants in the Trees melds a few genres — folk, rock and some grunge influences, and seems to draw some inspiration from the lush Northwest environment, with songs like “Sasquatch,” complemented by a music video with band members wandering through the forest bigfoot style.
In one online interview, vocalist Jillian Raye explains that she was starstruck playing with Novoselic for the first time, but he says they’re probably long past that now.
“There’s that whole fame thing, it only goes so far, I think now I’m probably just annoying to them,” Novoselic joked.
If he wasn’t performing with Giants in the Trees, Novoselic said he would likely have been looking to attend graduate school, after recently finishing his undergraduate degree from Washington State University’s online program.
“I regularly started playing music with these folks, and my higher education dreams kind of didn’t happen,” Novoselic said.
Even though this is Novoselic’s first performance in Aberdeen since the early days of Nirvana, which ended with Cobain’s suicide in 1994, he doesn’t think it will feel all that different from playing other small town venues. He does, however, anticipate a number of friends and relatives showing up, as Novoselic lived here as a teenager.
“I’ve performed at the Bishop Center before, but not in music,” he said. “I worked at Grays Harbor College, and went there for night school. I have a lot of connections there.”
Thinking back to his time in Aberdeen, Novoselic said the main venues he remembers playing are the Eagles Hall in Hoquiam, as well as the D&R Theatre, but said he doesn’t remember playing at the Pourhouse. Local lore has the band playing there well before it was famous.
Since forming in spring of 2016, Giants in the Trees has released an album and performed at mostly small venues around the Northwest, but also a few big stages. They played at Safeco Field in Seattle earlier this month, opening for the Foo Fighters, led by Dave Grohl — the drummer and third member of Nirvana.
Novoselic said he has enjoyed staying mostly out of the big-name music industry.
“Most of our shows are just around here, just living lives and making music instead of getting into the big rat race of the music industry that’s so competitive,” said Novoselic.
One of the defining aspects of Giants in the Trees, according to Novoselic, is that each song can feature a totally different set of instruments.
“There’s a lot of diversity with, say the guitar. There’s a box or slide guitar, or I’ll play accordion. We’re not just a rock band, static sound, I think we have a lot of dynamics,” said Novoselic. “At the show, there’s a lot of different types of songs and instruments getting switched up. It seems like we can hold an audience’s attention because of that.”
Novoselic said he thinks this performance could be one of their best, and added that one of their sets will feature new music that they plan to release on their second album.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $25 and are available online at www.ghc.edu/bishop/calendar/giants-trees.