Remembering Kurt Cobain
Written by Oryx
At the least, Kurt Cobain was the leader of music’s ‘grunge’ movement. At the most, he was the voice of a generation.
In April 1994, the Nirvana front man committed suicide, an act that left millions mourning and his peers to carry on the torch he had lit and held aloft
in the years prior to this.
While calling Cobain’s death “probably the worst thing that has happened to me in my life,” friend and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl had also prepared himself for the possibility. “Sometimes you just can’t save someone from themselves,” Grohl noted. “In some ways, you kind of prepare yourself emotionally for that to be a reality.”
The ‘voice of a generation’ label – expounded by his fans to anyone who would listen, and many more who wouldn’t – was ironic, given Cobain, by his own admission, placed lyrics a distant second to melody. “People always want to read into it. I was just using pieces of poetry, just garbage, just stuff that would spew out of me at the time,” Cobain said in 1993.
“A lot of times when I write lyrics it’s at the last second because I’m really lazy. And then I find myself having to come up with explanations.”
Cobain called John Lennon his idol, and identified Neil Young as ‘the Godfather of Grunge’. But sometimes lyrics did matter to Cobain. In his suicide note, he quoted Young’s ‘Hey Hey, My My’, writing, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”.
In the days before his death, Cobain was discussing
a collaboration with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe – also the godfather to Cobain’s daughter, Frances. “In an attempt to pull him out of the headspace that he was in, in Seattle, in his house all alone,” explains Stipe, “I created a project that he had to fly to Georgia to work on with me, and we had a deadline.
“It was really just an attempt to pull him out, and it didn’t work. Sadly.”
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