Kurt Cobain may not be such a great person, and he won’t be remembered forever. Unlike Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela he didn’t fight for great issues like peace or civil rights. On the other hand, he has become an icon for teenagers that don’t fit into the society of their time and place.
During his youth, while finding (or creating) a self, he found himself a feminist, writing songs about rapes and repression of women. Most people don’t realize that, and think of Kurt Cobain as the cool, stoned guy who created grunge (a musical genre), with his band Nirvana.
Kurt Cobain said on most interviews that he had a “happy childhood.. Up until he was nine”. When Kurt was nine, his parents started fighting, and their problems grew as the years went by. When he was eleven, his parents got divorced, and Kurt lived with his mom, dad, aunts, uncles and grandparents. He was never really accepted anywhere, but tried to please his father by wrestling. Neither got what they wanted.
No one really knows what his childhood was like, because no one was there to see it all. Kurt has told a lot of lies about both his childhood and the rest of his life, to glorify his life and himself, and make it seem he always wanted to be a musician.
After dropping out of high school, he lived in a pink flat with a friend. In the so-called ‘pink apartment’, his drub abuse and self-destructive habits grew. Luckily, he started dating a girl called Tracy Marander, who took care of him. He moved to her place, and got to have a full artistic life.
While he was dating Tracy, he started Nirvana with his high school friend Krist Novoselic. They played some gigs with various drummers, and got accepted at the record company Sub Pop. Nirvana had a lot of trouble finding a drummer, but for their CD “Bleach” in 1989 they found Chad Channing. However, Channing only lasted till 1990. For their record “Nevermind” in 1991, they finally found Dave Grohl, a perfect match.
“Nevermind” was their break-through album, and most of the songs are about Tobi Vail, Kurt’s new love. Kurt was constantly trying to be cool enough for the Bikini Kill vocalist, but in her world, officially dating was not cool, so Kurt could never know.
A song from “Nevermind” called “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (from one of Tobi’s friend’s graffiti over Tobi’s bed “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit”, Tobi’s perfume) was their definite break-through and it made number one of Billboard.
Kurt became the spokesman of grunge, a genre which mushroomed after “Nevermind”, but he made it clear that he wouldn’t be a spokesman for anything but himself.
Then, Courtney Love got into Kurt’s life. Although their relationship looked great from the outside, their closest friends say it was very turbulent. Some of Kurt’s friends also claim that she changed his life and used him by playing on his sensitivity.
Nirvana spent most of 1992 touring, and rumours were going around that Kurt was addicted to heroin. The rumours were true, his drug consumption was very large, especially in proportion to his tiny, skinny body.
A magazine called Vanity Fair had an article about Kurt and Courtney during her pregnancy, suggesting she had been using heroin and alcohol, and that the child would be injured. Those rumours were not true; Courtney had detoxed when she discovered that she was pregnant.
During 1993 a new album came out, “In Utero”, with songs about sudden fame, and “Rape Me”, about the Vanity Fair article and media “raping” Kurt and Courtney. Kurt also did a Rolling Stone interview about letting the past go.
Some quarrels between the band members had started to grow, and in 1994, they didn’t even know if they were a band. In February, Kurt and Courtney got married, but Kurt’s best friend, Krist Novoselic and his girlfriend Shelli were not invited.
A lot of people wondered how Kurt could survive his enormous drug abuse. He said it was because he’d never drink and do drugs at the same time. “Those are the OD’s”. Therefore, when he after a Europe-tour OD’ed of heroin and vodka, the red bells were ringing. He’d left a suicide note fore his wife, but she woke up just in time to save him.
When they returned to America, Kurt went to a 30 day-detox. He ran away not long after the start in late March. No one knew where he was, and on the 8th of April 1994 he was found in his green house with three times lethal amount of heroin in his blood and a gunshot through his head. The death cause was ruled off as suicide. What wasn’t questioned, was that Courtney had rented someone to kill him, besides 1: How could he shoot himself with so much heroin in his blood? 2: There were no fingerprints on the rifle found by his side. How can a dead man wipe away fingerprints?
Kurt Cobain is, as I said, an icon for the lost and troubled teenagers, with his sad life, tragic death and many songs about his depressions. Few people realize that he made up most stories about his life, and the stories we know are true for certain are very few. He even called himself Kurdt Kobain when he was in love with Tobi, so that no one would find out who he was and how he had loved in his life.
When his mother threw her new boyfriend’s guns in a river, Kurt fished them out. He claimed he traded them for his first guitar, even though he’d had one for over two years ant that point.
Nevertheless, Kurt Cobain’s life and death is a mysterious tale, almost a legend, and the spokesman of grunge, who was embarrassed by his fame (it didn’t fit with his image), is said to be one of the most important participators in the grunge wave, and some even say he started the whole thing!
As he said in his 2nd suicide note: “Remember that it’s better to burn out than fade away”. And as his wife said while reading it at the memorial: “Don’t remember it, ‘cause it’s a fucking lie!”
R.I.P. Kurt Cobain.