Legendary musician Krist Novoselić, a founding member of Nirvana and a longtime leader in American democratic reform, has been named chair of the board of trustees of Zócalo Public Square, an Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise.
Along with Nirvana bandmates Kurt Cobain and David Grohl, Novoselić changed the course of music history with the 1992 album Nevermind. In the process, they opened the doors for a new generation of musicians and bands.
As board chair, Novoselić will serve a Los Angeles-based non-profit that pursues a mission of “connecting people to ideas and to each other” and of “engaging a new and diverse generation in the public square.” Since its 2003 founding, Zócalo has syndicated its ideas journalism to more than 250 media outlets worldwide, has hosted 600-plus live events online and across 33 cities, and partnered with dozens of educational, cultural and philanthropic institutions.
“Zócalo is about civic engagement—it is the public square, after all,” said Novoselić. “It’s a culture that offers scholarship in an accessible way. In other words, this is fun and entertaining. These are serious times, and the key is trying to balance issues in a way that pulls people in from all walks of life.”
Novoselić, like Zócalo itself, is a native of L.A. County. Born in Compton, he grew up in Los Angeles, Croatia and Aberdeen, Washington. After Nirvana, he became one of America’s most politically minded musicians, authoring a book, Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy, and chairing the board of FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform organization. He also serves as a member of the Washington State Grange.
Novoselić takes over as board chair from Moira Shourie, who is now Zócalo’s executive director. Previously, Novoselić was a member of Zócalo’s board, and a judge for the Zócalo Book Prize, which is given annually to the U.S. nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community.
On May 20, Novoselić will present the 10th annual Zócalo Book Prize to University of North Carolina historian William Sturkey, author of Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White. Sturkey will then give a lecture and answer questions from Pulitzer Prize-winning Yale historian David W. Blight. The event, which starts at 5 PM PDT and 8 PM EDT, is free, and you can register here.
Novoselić earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University’s Global Campus. He is an active pilot. He currently has two musical projects—Giants in the Trees are a Rock music quartet; Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole is a spoken word/musical collaboration with author Dr. Robert Michael Pyle. Krist plays accordion and finger-style guitar every day.