Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was an American singer-songwriter, musician and artist, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana.
Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene, having its debut album Bleach released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989. After signing with major label DGC Records, the band found breakthrough success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from its second album Nevermind (1991). Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as “the spokesman of a generation”. Cobain however was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to media attention. He challenged Nirvana’s audience with its final studio album In Utero (1993).
During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression, his fame and public image, as well as the professional and lifelong personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love. On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The circumstances of his death have become a topic of public fascination and debate. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, sold over 25 million albums in the US alone, and over 50 million worldwide
Cobain began learning guitar with a few covers, including “Louie Louie” and The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl”, and soon began working on his own songs. During high school, Cobain rarely found anyone with whom he could play music. While hanging out at the Melvins’ practice space, he met Krist Novoselic, a fellow devotee of punk rock. Novoselic’s mother owned a hair salon. Cobain and Novoselic would occasionally practice in the upstairs room of the salon. A few years later, Cobain tried to convince Novoselic to form a band with him by lending him a copy of a home demo recorded by Cobain’s earlier band, Fecal Matter. After months of asking, Novoselic finally agreed to join Cobain, forming the beginnings of Nirvana.
Cobain was disenchanted after early touring, due to the band’s inability to draw substantial crowds and the apparent difficulty in sustaining themselves. During their first few years playing together, Novoselic and Cobain were hosts to a rotating list of drummers. Eventually, the band settled on Chad Channing, with whom Nirvana recorded the album Bleach, released on Sub Pop Records in 1989. Cobain, however, became dissatisfied with Channing’s style, leading the band to find a new drummer, eventually settling on Dave Grohl. With Grohl, the band found their greatest success via their 1991 major-label debut, Nevermind.
With the lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nirvana’s second album Nevermind (1991), Nirvana entered the mainstream, popularizing a subgenre of alternative rock called grunge. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, have sold over 25 million albums in the United States alone, and over 50 million worldwide.
The success of Nevermind provided numerous Seattle bands such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden wider audiences, and as a result, alternative rock became a dominant genre on radio and music television in the United States during the early-to-middle 1990s. Nirvana was considered the “flagship band of Generation X”, and frontman Cobain found himself reluctantly anointed by the media as the generation’s “spokesman.” Cobain’s discomfort with the media attention prompted him to focus on the band’s music and, believing their message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, challenged the band’s audience with its third studio album In Utero (1993).
Cobain struggled to reconcile the massive success of Nirvana to his underground roots. He also felt persecuted by the media, comparing himself to Frances Farmer. He began to harbour resentments for people who claimed to be fans of the band yet refused to acknowledge, or misinterpreted, the band’s social and political views. A vocal opponent of sexism, racism and homophobia, he was publicly proud that Nirvana had played at a gay rights benefit supporting No-on-Nine in Oregon in 1992, in opposition to Ballot Measure Nine, a ballot measure, that if passed, would have prohibited schools in the state from acknowledging or positively accepting LGBT rights and welfare.
Cobain was a vocal supporter of the pro-choice movement, and had been involved in Rock for Choice from the campaign inception by L7. He received death threats from a small number of anti-abortion activists for doing so, with one activist threatening Cobain that he would be shot as soon as he stepped on stage. The liner notes from Incesticide declared “if any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us-leave us the fuck alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records”. An article from his posthumously released Journals declares that social liberation could be made possible only through the eradication of sexism.
Some of Kurt’s best quotes:
“A friend is nothing but a known enemy.”
“Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with with your self esteem.”
“I bought a gun and chose drugs instead.”
“I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me.”
“I really haven’t had that exciting of a life. There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life. So I pretty much like to make it up. I’d rather tell a story about somebody else.”
“I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn’t.”
“I was looking for something a lot heavier, yet melodic at the same time. Something different from heavy metal, a different attitude.”
“I won’t eat anything green.”
“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”
“I’m so happy because today I found my friends – they’re in my head”
“I’m too busy acting like I’m not Naive. I’ve seen it all, I was here first.”
“I’ve always had a problem with the average macho man – they’ve always been a threat to me.”
“If it’s illegal to rock and roll, throw my ass in jail!”
Nirvana is still one of my favorite bands of all times. Their unplugged album has always managed to get me through bad times. If you or anyone you know is a point where suicide sounds like the only way out, reach out for help or speak up. Suicide is a cheap way out of your troubles and you’ll leave a disaster for people to deal with mostly those whom actually care about you.
HAHAH almost forgot this video. I remember watching this. Him and Axl Rose had a little scuffle earlier on. Axl was mad about his trailer…
RIP Kurt Cobain February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) One of the best musicians ever and personally my favorite…