Last modified on 30 June 2014, at 01:00

Kurt Cobain

All in all is all we are.

Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – ca. April 5, 1994) was the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the American grunge band, Nirvana.

Interviews (1989-1994)Edit

PrintEdit

  • In Aberdeen, I hated my best friends with a passion, because they were idiots.
    • As quoted in The Daily Of The University Of Washington (1989-05-05)
  • I'd like to live off the band, but if not, I'll just retire to Mexico or Yugoslavia with a few hundred dollars, grow potatoes, and learn the history of rock through back issues of Creem magazine.
    • As quoted in The Daily Of The University Of Washington (1989-05-05)
  • It's really not hard to keep your dignity and sign to a major label...Most people don't have any dignity in the first place.
    • As quoted in Sounds (1990-10)
  • Rap music is the only vital form of music introduced since punk rock.
    • As quoted in M.E.A.T (1991-09)
  • I knew I was different. I thought that I might be gay or something because I couldn't identify with any of the guys at all. None of them liked art or music, they just wanted to fight and get laid. It was many years ago but it gave me this real hatred for the average American macho male.
    • As quoted in Melody Maker (1991-09-14)
  • Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth. And it happens every few minutes.
    • As quoted in New Musical Express (1991-11-23)
  • Hope I die before I turn into Pete Townshend.
    • As quoted in BAM (1992-01-10)
  • I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.
    • As quoted in SPIN (1992-01)
  • We sound like the Bay City Rollers after an assault by Black Sabbath. And, we vomit onstage better than anyone.
    • As quoted in Guitar World (1992-01)
  • If I went to jail, at least I wouldn't have to sign autographs.
    • As quoted in Details (1992-02)
  • I just can’t believe anyone would start a band just to make the scene and be cool and have chicks. I just can’t believe it.
    • As quoted in Option (1992-01-02)
  • I can’t comment on Soundgarden because I know them personally and I really like them a lot, but I have strong feelings towards Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains and bands like that. They’re obviously just corporate puppets that are just trying to jump on the alternative bandwagon - and we are being lumped into that category.
    • As quoted in Flipside (1992-03)
  • Zits are beauty marks.
    • As quoted in Sassy (1992-04)
  • All drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem. They’re no good at all. But I’m not going to go around preaching against [them].
    • As quoted in Rolling Stone (1992-04-16)
  • Yeah, I was run out of town. They chased me up to the castle of Aberdeen with torches. Just like the Frankenstein monster. And I got away in a hot air balloon. And I came here to Seattle.
    • As quoted in Monk Magazine (1992-10)
  • If you're really a mean person you're going to come back as a fly and eat poop.
    • As quoted in Monk Magazine (1992-10)
  • Jocks have completely taken over music... And just to get back at them, I’m going to start playing basketball.
    • As quoted in Musician (1993-10)
  • I wouldn't have been surprised if they had voted me Most Likely To Kill Everyone At A High School Dance.
    • As quoted in Howl (1993-07-22)
  • The thrill and embarrassment of becoming international pop stars was too much, so we opened our mouths and put our foot in sometimes.
    • As quoted in Details (1993-11)
  • I'm a much happier guy than a lot of people think I am.
    • As quoted in Rolling Stone (1993-01-27)
  • I can't play [guitar] like Segovia. The flip side of that is that Segovia could probably never have played like me.
    • As quoted in Fender Frontline Magazine (Fall 1994)
  • If it was up to me, I'd get more oil tanker drivers drunk. I don’t value music much. I like the Beatles, but I hate Paul McCartney. I like Led Zeppelin, but I hate Robert Plant. I like the Who, but I hate Roger Daltrey.
    • As quoted in The NIRVANA Reader: 1988 – 1992 (Published December 2008)

VideoEdit

  • They're claiming that [the grunge bands] finally put Seattle on the map, but, like, what map? ...I mean, we had Jimi Hendrix. Heck, what more do we want?
    • From an interview with Marc Coiteux on Musique Plus, 1991-09-21, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • They (Extreme) surround themselves with these professional, dickhead, commercial rock and roll guys...when they show up at an airport, their manager runs ahead of them and yells at the people greeting them, 'No video! We want a path straight to the van! We don't want any pictures taken!' Y'know, I'm like, "So what?"
    • Date unknown, but believed to be 1992-06-30 in Sweden [1]
  • Same thing happened in the punk movement in the late 70's...a punk band would start, play one gig, and get signed to a major label right away, 'cause it [was] a trend. That just shows there are a lot of old school dinosaurs in the record industry who need to be weeded out.
    • Date unknown, but believed to be 1992-06-30 in Sweden [2]
  • Music comes first; lyrics are secondary. Most of my lyrics are contradictions. I'll write a few sincere lines, and then I'll have to make fun of [them]. I don't like to make it too obvious, because if it is too obvious, it gets really stale. You shouldn't be in people's faces 100% all the time. We don't mean to be really cryptic or mysterious, but I just think that lyrics that are different and weird and spacey paint a nice picture. It's just the way I like art.
  • I would like to think there's some purity in us, yeah. Naive - y'know, purposely naive.

Incesticide liner notes (1992)Edit

  • Punk Rock (while still sacred to some) is, to me, dead and gone. We just wanted to pay tribute to something that helped us to feel as though we had crawled out of the dung heap of conformity.
  • I'll be the first to admit that we're the 90's version of Cheap Trick or the Knack but the last to admit that it hasn't been rewarding.
  • At this point I have a request for our fans. 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.
  • Last year, a girl was raped by two wastes of sperm and eggs while they sang the lyrics to our song "Polly". I have a hard time carrying on knowing there are plankton like that in our audience.

Journals (2002)Edit

ISBN 1-57322-359-X

  • To be positive at all times is to ignore all that is important, sacred or valuable. To be negative at all times is to be threatened by ridiculousness and instant discredibility. [p. 18]
  • I use bits and pieces of others [sic] personalities to form my own. [p. 95]
  • John Lennon has been my idol all my life but he's dead wrong about revolution... find a representative of gluttony or oppression and blow the motherfuckers [sic] head off. [p. 130]
  • Why in the hell do journalists insist on coming up with a second rate Freudian evaluation on my lyrics when 90% of the time they've transcribed the lyrics incorrectly? [p. 190]
  • I mean it seems like there are only two options for songwriters [sic] personalities either theyre [sic] sad, tragic visionaries like morrissey or michael stipe or robert smith or theres [sic] the goofy, nutty white boy, Hey lets party and forget everything people like Van Halen or all that other Heavy metal crap. [p. 44]
  • Birds...scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don't speak bird. [p. 224]
  • I would only wear a tie dyed T Shirt if it were dyed with the urine of Phil Collins and the blood of Jerry Garcia. [p. 269]
  • I am not well read, but when I do read, I read well. [p. 124]

Song lyricsEdit

Bleach (1989)Edit

  • I need an easy friend
    I do, with an ear to lend.
  • The lady whom I feel maternal love for
    Cannot look me in the eyes
    But I see hers and they are blue
    And they cock and twist and masturbate.
  • She loves him more than he will ever know
    He loves her more than he will ever show
  • Thank you, dear God
    For putting me on this Earth
    I feel very privileged
    In debt for my thirst

Nevermind (1991)Edit

  • With the lights out, it's less dangerous
    Here we are now, entertain us
    I feel stupid, and contagious
    Here we are now, entertain us.
  • Load up on guns, and bring your friends.
  • A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido.
  • I found it hard,
    It was hard to find
    Oh well, whatever, never mind.
  • He's the one
    Who likes all our pretty songs
    And he likes to sing along
    And he likes to shoot his gun
    But he knows not what it means.
  • Come as you are, as you were
    As I want you to be
    As a trend, as a friend, as a known enemy
    Take your time, hurry up
    The choice is yours, don't be late.
  • I'm so happy
    'Cause today I found my friends
    They're in my head.
    I'm so ugly, that's okay
    'Cause so are you,
    Broke our mirrors.
  • Polly wants a cracker
    Think I should get off her first
    Think she wants some water
    To put out the blow torch.
  • One baby to another says
    I'm lucky to have met you
  • I love myself better than you
    I know it's wrong, but what should I do?

In Utero (1993)Edit

  • Hate me
    Do it and do it again
    Waste me
    Rape me, my friend.
  • The sun is gone
    But I have a light
  • I take pride as the king of illiterature.

B-sides and compilation tracks (1989-1993)Edit

  • And the flowers sing in D minor
    And the birds fly happily.
  • And if you save yourself
    You will make him happy.

Posthumously released (post-1994)Edit

  • I need you around
    To remind me what not to become.
  • Congratulations, you have won
    It's a year's subscription of bad puns.
  • Neither side is sacred; no one wants to win
    Feeling so sedated; think I'll just give in.
  • If I may, and if I might
    Lay me down, weeping.

Stage banterEdit

Note: All stage banter sourced from The Live Nirvana Tour History

  • There is plenty of Hühnerfleisch in the Kühlschrank. (There is plenty of chicken in the fridge.)
  • We're waiting for the dinosaurs to die out. They will die. And then we'll move into their homes.
  • I don't think MTV would let us play that. (After an audience member requests "Rape Me.")
    • 1993-11-18 at Sony Music Studios, New York City, New York (MTV Unplugged)
  • What are they tuning, a harp? I thought we were a big rich rock band. We should have a whole bunch of extra guitars.
    • 1993-11-18 at Sony Music Studios, New York City, New York (MTV Unplugged)


MisattributedEdit

Quotes about CobainEdit

  • Genius is a weird and inappropriate word, and hard work is underrated, but Kurt Cobain had a distinct and personal take on the world, and generally, when someone strikes a chord with his audience, that’s what people respond to...I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly a fan of Nirvana when I was asked to work on In Utero, but during the course of making the record I came to appreciate that they were genuine about their band and their music, that Kurt was capable of sophisticated thinking, and that they and their music were unique.
  • Nirvana were like...power-chord music with the occasional Sonic Youth-y flip-out in it. But the power of that band is Kurt Cobain's voice, which is just fucking caramel–a beautiful rock voice.
  • People were trying to call me to do interviews on the anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. They want me to say some poignant shit about some poor guy who blew his head off. It's just like, "Give me a fuckin' break, man"...Just say the guy made some good records, and let's get on with it.
  • I remember watching Kurt come through and thinking, "God, this music is nuclear," This is really splitting the atom. They raised the temperature for everybody. Manufactured pop never looked so cold as when that heat was around. Nirvana made everything else look silly.
  • I was simply blown away when I found out that Kurt Cobain liked my work, and I always wanted to talk to him about his reasons for covering "Man Who Sold The World." It was a good straightforward rendition and sounded somehow very honest. It would have been nice to have worked with him, but just talking would have been real cool.
    • David Bowie, quoted in "A Fan's Notes," SPIN (1995-04).
  • Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost.
  • I'm sorry I couldn't have spoken to the young man. I see a lot of people at the Zen Center, who have gone through drugs and found a way out that is not just Sunday school. There are always alternatives, and I might have been able to lay something on him. Or maybe not.
    • Leonard Cohen, quoted by Peter Howell, Addicted To Noise (1995-08-06).
  • A couple weeks ago, one of my students gave me a mixed tape of Kurt Cobain and there was a version of "Black Girl" of great artistry. Great vocal control and subtlety, it's almost as good as Leadbelly's.
    • Allen Ginsberg, quoted by George Petros in "ALLEN GINSBERG. GROOVIN' GURU. Beat laureate ALLEN GINSBERG goes bananas," Seconds, Issue 28 (1994).
  • He's the most talented person I ever worked with because he was talented in so many different ways. He's a guitar player and a lead singer and he wrote all the songs. He did everything for Nirvana that it took Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to do for Led Zeppelin. Kurt also designed the album covers and wrote treatments for the videos. He even designed the t-shirts. He was really a comprehensive genius when it came to the art of rock and roll.
  • I still dream about Kurt. Every time I see him in a dream, I’ll be amazed and I get this feeling that everyone else thinks he’s dead. It always feels totally real, probably because I’m a very vivid dreamer. But, in my dreams, Kurt’s usually been hiding - we’ll get together and I’ll end up asking him, "God, where have you been"
  • I met him a few times. As a writer I had enormous respect for him. He was an incredible writer and an incredible singer. And when I met him I found him to be a very special person. He was one of those special people. There was a light inside him that you could see. He had a charisma that went beyond his physical presence.
  • Kurt really reminded me a lot of John [Lennon] in his writing, singing, and guitar playing. More attitude than technique, but he had incredibly strong rhythm and a great solo sense.
    • Jim Keltner, according to Classic Rock Albums: Nevermind by Jim Berkenstadt and Charles Cross, Schirmer, 1998.
  • I went to see Nirvana at a small club called the Pyramid on Avenue A in New York City. It was hard to hear the guitar, but the guy playing and singing had a vibe; he hopped around like a muppet or an elf or something, hunched over his guitar, hop hop hop, hippety hippety hop. I loved that. When he sang, he put his voice in this really grating place, and it was kind of devilish sounding. At the end of the set he attacked the drum kit and threw the cymbals, other bits and finally himself into the audience. Later I saw the same guy passing the bar. He was little, with stringy blond hair and a Stooges T-shirt. I felt proud.
    • Iggy Pop, quoted in "A Fan's Notes," SPIN (1995-04).
  • Kurt Cobain represents a very legit, realistic outlook. Before that, in my head, to be a white artist was to be privileged. You celebrated the glamor and you got respect. But here's someone that was really taking a hip-hop stance on all of that. Who doesn't play their hit single in concert? Are you crazy? He took that nihilistic Sonic Youth approach, that tortured-everyday-guy thing, to the hilt
  • Yeah, he talked a lot about what direction he was heading in. I mean, I know what the next Nirvana recording was going to sound like. It was going to be very quiet and acoustic, with lots of stringed instruments. It was going to be an amazing fucking record, and I’m a little bit angry at him for killing himself. He and I were going to record a trial run of the album, a demo tape. It was all set up. He had a plane ticket. He had a car picking him up. And at the last minute he called and said, "I can't come."
    • Michael Stipe, quoted by Jeff Giles in "Everybody Hurts Sometimes," Newsweek (1994-09-26).
  • I was in Pioneer Square - I went to see some band, I don't know if it was the the Melvins. Kurt was there - I think Kurt was by himself and I was by myself. I went over to tell him how much I loved Bleach. He was very quiet and subdued. He said, "Thanks - that means a lot coming from you. Consider yourself our biggest influence."
    • Kim Thayil, quoted by Greg Prato in Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, ECW Press, 2009.
  • He's your archetypal small guy - wiry, defiantly working class and fiery.
    • Everett True, in "Everett True Thrashes It Out With The Latest Wizards From Seattle's Sub Pop Label Who Arrive In Britain Next Week," Melody Maker (1989-10-21).
  • Kurt's wounds were so deep that when the music floated to the surface after being filtered through his soul, it was incorporeal.
  • You know, I always thought I'd go first. I don't know why I thought that, it just seemed like I would. I mean, I didn't know him on a daily basis - far from it. But, in a way, I don't even feel right being here without him. It's so difficult to really believe he's gone. I still talk about him like he's still here, you know. I can't figure it out. It doesn't make any sense.
  • He really, really inspired me. He was so great. Wonderful. One of the best, but more than that. Kurt was one of the absolute best of all time for me.

Cobain in songEdit

  • Everything I love the most get taken away. My momma and music is next.
    And if that happens before I turn 28. Then I'm going out with Kurt Cobain.
  • I think I'm Jimi Hendrix, I think I'm Kurt Cobain
    I think I'm John Lennon, gone insane
    Someone take this gun, before I blow out my brains (BANG).
    • Gone Insane by Ab-Soul
  • I remember doing nothing on the night Sinatra died
    And the night Jeff Buckley died
    And the night Kurt Cobain died
    And the night John Lennon died.
  • A transvestite in trouble, gee
    We can make a double CD
    People want to see blood,
    To see 'em messed up like a Kurt Cobain.
  • And going for the clincher, a girl cries out in vain
    How Jesus lived 6 years longer than Kurt Cobain
    And Jesus' hair was longer, and Jesus' arms were stonger
    And Jesus's eyes were bluer, and Jesus' thoughts were truer.
  • Thanks to Elvis and Kurt Cobain
    The world will never be the same.
  • Just because they knew your name
    Doesn't mean they know from where you came
    What a sad trick you thought that you had to play.
  • It's a shame about your future
    It's a crime about your past.
    • The Fall (Kurt's Blues) by Cher
  • Blown away by fame
    We could all feel the shotgun hit the floor.
    • The Day Seattle Died by Cold
  • What of Kurt Cobain, will his presence still remain?
  • Where did you sleep last night
    With the angels locked up tight
    Love was his only light
    Did she have another one?
  • My sister, she says she knows Elvis Presley
    She knows Jesus, John Lennon, and Kurt Cobain personally.
  • Kurt Cobain was so young
    Sad to see this poet's gone.
  • A whole generation of kids blowin' out their fuckin' brains to this Kurt Cobain music.
    • Devils's Night by D12
  • See niggas, they want my name next to Kurt Cobain
    But I don’t sniff cocaine, I sniff propane.
  • A daily dose of eMpTyV
    Will flush your mind right down the drain
    Shannon Hoon and Kurt Cobain,
    Make yourself a household name.
  • My favorite color is red, like the blood shed
    from Kurt Cobain's head, when he shot himself dead.
  • Get your brains bashed in so bad
    You gone have Kurt Cobain asking
    To autograph a bloodstained napkin.
  • Nigga that's no lie, no joke, no game, no fabrication
    Last name must be Cobain.
    • Suicide 2 by Fabolous featuring Paul Cain & Freck Billionaire
  • And I want it so bad I'd shoot the sunshine into my veins.
    I can't remember the good old days.
  • He lies in an empty room
    With his hair burnt to the back
    It sure sounds funny
    When you say his name like that.
  • Or take me away like a bullet from Kurt Cobain.
  • Y hoy me encuentro tan solo y triste
    Cual hoja al viento
    Quisiera llorar, quisiera morir,
    Como Kurt Cobain, de sentimiento.
    (And today I am so alone and sad
    Like a leaf in the wind
    I wish to cry, I wish to die
    Like Kurt Cobain, of feeling.)
  • I'll finish with a bang like Kurt Cobain's biography.
  • They all stand straight and swing to the side
    No heads, but they feet still glide
    Take a step back, twist and dive
    I even seen Kurt Cobain get live.
  • The whole world was crying when Kurt's gun went bang
    When Eazy-E died though, it wasn't no thang
    Rapper dies of A.I.D.S. but you hardly mention
    Rocker blows his face off and becomes a legend.
  • Trained, raw, like Big Daddy Kane
    Plus I’m born on the same day as Kurt Cobain
    • Commandante by k-os
  • What's coursing through my veins? Horrible, hurts the brain
    Listen to Jimi Hendrix, worshiping Kurt Cobain
    The ghetto Edgar Allan Poe
  • Frightening, so fucking frightening
    Enough to drive a man insane, a woman insane
    The reason Lauryn Hill don't sing, or Kurt Cobain
    Loaded that clip and then said bang, the drama it bring is crazy
  • Give me vanity, give me Kurt Cobain sanity
  • This is crack co-caine, I'm Kurt Co-bain
    And I bang like a C-R-I-P, P-I-R-U high you Ima I-V
  • They say that white phantom look so cocaine
    I hop out the suicide lookin' so Cobain.
  • And a memory that can ease your pain
    Like a melody from Kurt Cobain.
  • Cobain, Cobain
    She blows my brain.
  • But it's all entertainment
    Wonder when Cobain blew out his brains, did he blame it?
    And if those snakes in the industry helped him aim it
    Started pressing up records before the bullet left the chamber
  • Ne me parle pas de travail à la chaîne
    Je veux pas finir comme Kurt Cobain.
    (Don't talk to me about working on the assembly line
    I don't wanna end like Kurt Cobain.)
  • Way out in Seattle
    Young Kurt Cobain
    Snuck out to the greenhouse
    Put a bullet in his brain.
  • Keep them high like Kurt Cobain.
  • Some believe that you are God,
    Others say you were an idiot.
    But I only see a good, sad man,
    Whose name was K. Cobain.
  • Johnny wishes he was famous
    Spends his time alone in the basement
    With Lennon and Cobain
    And a guitar and a stereo.
  • Low budget hoes trynna knock ya game, like
    Did Courtney Love kill Kurt Cobain, from close range
    Turn his brain to shrimp lo mein?
  • Maybe I'm crazy, addicted to pain
    Maybe the cocaine destroyed my brain
    Private conversations with Kurt Cobain
    I'm drownin' my fears in the acid rain.
    • Acid Rain (In Loving Memory of Kurt Cobain) by Pastor Troy
  • And so I parallel the brains of Cobain.
  • He gathered up his loved ones
    And he brought them all around
    To say, "Goodbye, nice try."
  • Left on the floor
    Leaving your body
    When highs are the lows
    And lows are the way.
  • Maybe if I put a bullet in my brain
    They'd remember me like Kurt Cobain
    And the parasites on MTV
    Would wipe their eyes and act like they knew me .
  • Yeah the whole Byrd gang's in here, like Kurt Cobain was here.
  • Sometimes I wonder what goes on inside her mind
    When she said she thought Dave Grohl had died, and Kurt Cobain was still alive.
  • Hard luck god, he never had a chance, you know.
    Incurable romantics never do.
  • There was this boy who played in a rock n' roll band
    And he wasn't half bad at saving the world
    She said he could do no right, so he took his life
    The story is true.
  • Toward another, he has gone
    To breathe an air beyond his own.
  • Disturbed by the fame
    Just like Kurt Cobain.
  • Kurt Cobain reincarnated
    Sighs and licks his face.
  • So I watched pay per view and polished my shoes and my gun
    Was diggin' on Kurt Cobain sing about lithium.
  • He rocked the United States by flying all over the country and playing that rock and roll
    He is a good singer
    He is my rock star.
  • Xzibit easily dispersed like crack cocaine
    See I lent my shotgun to Kurt Cobain
    And the motherfucker never brought it back (Ah, that's wack)
  • Too late,
    He sleeps with angels
    Too soon,
    He's always on someone's mind.