Sweet 75

Sweet 75 was ex-Nirvana member Krist Novoselic's first (albeit short-lived) band after Kurt Cobain's 1994 suicide. Novoselic and ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl originally contemplated remaining together and working on a set of songs that Grohl had penned, but ultimately opted to go their separate ways (with Grohl using those songs for the Foo Fighters' first album). In May of 1994, Novoselic's then-wife threw a surprise birthday party for him, and hired a Venezuelan street singer, Yva Las Vegas (who was discovered singing outside Pike Street Market in Seattle), to sing "Happy Birthday" at the bash. But Las Vegas wound up staying the remainder of the party and singing Venezuelan folk songs, which got the singer and Novoselic to talking about possibly working together in the near future. Novoselic planned on producing an album for the singer, but after the two began penning original songs together, both decided to form a group -- with Las Vegas assuming vocal and bass duties, and Novoselic picking up a 12-string guitar (inspired to do so after hearing the 1994 Diamanda Galás/John Paul Jones effort, The Sporting Life). Taking their name from a line in a poem by Theodore Roethke, sporadic live shows whet fans appetite during 1995 (with drummer Bobby Lurie rounding out the group), as Sweet 75 signed with Nirvana's former label, Geffen, soon after. Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin replaced Lurie in time for the sessions, which were produced by Paul Fox and Ed Thacker, and also saw such special guests as Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Anisa Romero (Sky Cries Mary), Herb Alpert, and the brass section from the Tonight Show Band guest on the proceedings. But it took a few years for the group's self-titled debut to surface, and by the time it was finally issued in 1997, much of the duo's early buzz had subsided considerably (while Rieflin had been replaced by ex-Shudder to Think time keeper Adam Wade). Due in part to its pause in momentum, the album failed to make a splash commercially, as it was almost completely ignored (it seemed that Nirvana fans had a hard time accepting Sweet 75's largely experimental, Throwing Muses-esque folk/alt pop), and was not warmly embraced by the music press. Despite the album's disappointing showing, Sweet 75 planned on continuing, and regrouped in 2000 to begin work on a sophomore effort (after Novoselic finished serving as a brief member of the all-star one-off, the No WTO Combo). But by August of the same year, Las Vegas and Novoselic had decided to go their separate ways, citing good old "creative differences." Novoselic would return to the bass guitar and form Eyes Adrift a year later (with ex-Meat Puppets singer/guitarist Curt Kirkwood and ex-Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh), while Las Vegas' future musical plans remain unknown at the time of this writing.
Greg Prato, Rovi

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