" If you die you're completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I'm not afraid of dying. Total peace after death, becoming someone else is the best hope I've got." - Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain was born on Feb 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1988, he started Nirvana, and in 1989, they released their debut album Bleach. The album wasn’t hugely successful, but it did signal the arrival of Cobain as major talent. In 1991, the band signed with Geffen Records, and they quickly shot to the top of the charts. On April 5, 1994, after struggling with drugs and turmoil in his personal life, Kobain chose to end his own life. His legacy lives on, and he continues to inspire his fans. Below are 45 facts about Kurt Cobain.
47. It Makes You Want to Be Sad
When Kurt Cobain was 9 years old, his parents divorced. In June of that year, he scribbled on his bedroom wall: “I hate Mom, I hate Dad, Dad hates Mom, Mom hates Dad, it simply makes you want to be sad.”
46. Beautiful, Nice and Pretty
According to Kurt Cobain, they settled on the name Nirvana for their band because he wanted something that sounded beautiful, nice and pretty, and not mean, raunchy, or punk rock.
45. Early Rejection
Prior to forming Nirvana, Cobain auditioned for a band called the Melvins, but was rejected.
44. Seaman recruit Cobain (Almost)
Cobain once toyed with joining the Navy. He even met with a recruitment officer to discuss joining up.
43. Silent and Moody
Kurt Cobain would occasionally get moody, and sit in a corner for 45 minutes without speaking a word.
42. The Show Went On
Hours before he was due to perform on Saturday Night Live, and one week before Nevermind hit number one on the charts, Cobain overdosed on drugs. In July, 1993, he overdosed again but still managed to participate in a full day of press interviews and do a live show.
As a child, Kurt Cobain was temporarily put on Ritalin to control his hyperactivity.
40. A Sofa with His Name on It
When he was a teenager, Cobain left his home and lived at friends houses for months at a time, sleeping on their couches.
39. First Job
One of Cobain's few jobs before entering the music business was teaching preschool swimming lessons at the YMCA in Aberdeen.
38. An Interesting Costume Choice
One year, Kurt Cobain cut up a sex doll and wore it for Halloween.
37. Always a Feminine Person
Cobain once said that growing up, he was unaware of feminism, but that he was always a feminine person. He felt more inclined to hang out with girls, and preferred softer pop music until his teens.
36. No Thanks
After Nirvana became famous, Cobain offered to play at the International Pop Underground festival in Olympia, but was turned down by the event coordinators. Cobain was hurt by their rejection, and felt alienated from a scene he really cared about.
35. We Really Dig Nirvana
Early on in their rise to stardom, Metallica sent Nirvana a fax that said “We really dig Nirvana. Nevermind is the best album of the year. Let’s get together soon, Metallica. PS, Lars hates the band.”
34. Just Like 16
In response to a question about what it was like to be number one on Billboard, Cobain replied “It’s just like being 16, only even more people kiss your ass”.
25 years later
33. Contempt for Them Both
Cobain once wrote in a letter to his father “I’ve never taken sides with you or my mother because while I was growing up, I had equal contempt for you both”.
32. One of the Top
Rolling Stone Magazine and MTV voted the single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the 3rd best song of all time.
31. What He Left Behind
According to Courtney Love, Cobain left behind 109 unreleased, unrecorded songs when he died. Some are just fragments of songs, some ‘music collages’, and some are acoustic numbers that Love thinks are good enough to release.
30. A Prophetic Scene
Cobain used to enjoy making Super 8 films, and a scene from one of those films portrayed his suicide.
29. Based on a Book
The song ‘Scentless Apprentice’ is based on the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind.
28. Choir Boy
At the age of four, Kurt Cobain sang in the choir of Baptist church his family attended.
27. First Guitar
Kurt Cobain received his first guitar at the age of 14 as a birthday present from his uncle. While he couldn’t remember the exact model, he remembered "becoming so obsessed with it" as soon as he got it.
26. Prized Possession
A signed first edition of William S. Burroughs’ novel The Naked Lunch was one of Cobain’s most prized possessions.
25. Target Practice
In his spare time, Cobain used to purchase large chunks of meat from the grocery store and then go out into the woods and use them for shooting practice.
24. A Guitar, Bass, Spoons, and a Suitcase
In Dec 1982, Kurt Cobain recorded his first songs at his aunt Mari’s house. Instruments included a guitar, bass, and spoons banged against a suitcase. He called the recordings “Organized Confusion”.
23. Famous Last Quote
In his suicide note to his fans, Cobain reference one of Neil Young’s lyrics, writing: "Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters of concern over the past years. I don't have the passion anymore and so remember, it's better to burn out than fade away".
22. Changed it Up
Cobain frequently switched up the words of his songs or the order of his verses when performing live. He seldom sang them the same way from show to show.
21. Not a Fan
Kurt Cobain stated multiple times that he didn’t like Pearl Jam, but he and Eddie Vedder got along extremely well. The two used to talk on the phone, and when Cobain’s body was found, Vedder paid tribute to him at a concert on the same day.
20. Pre-Show Jitters
Kurt Cobain suffered from stage fright, and more often than not, he’d throw up before a show.
19. Two Goals
Cobain admitted that his goal in writing Smells Like Teen Spirit was to rip off the Pixies and make a huge record. When the song blew up, he got sick of it and hated playing it.
18. Self-Drawn Tattoo
In 1991, Kurt Cobain reportedly gave himself a small tattoo on his forearm. It was a small “K”, inside a shield. K records is an independent music label whose motto was “exploding the teenage underground into passionate revolt against the corporate ogre since 1982”.
16. Buying Anatomy
Kurt Cobain was fascinated by anatomy, especially fetuses and vaginas, which were often represented in his music and art. In one interview, he talked about a medical supply store in the Mall of America where he bought a collection of model fetuses.
15. Avid Animal Lover
Kurt Cobain was an animal lover, and even talked about opening a petting zoo. He also had a number of pets, including a rat called Kitty, a cat called Melvin, and turtles.
13. The End of an Era
The Grunge era is said to have officially ended with Kurt Cobain’s death.
12. A Dead Ringer
Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain looks just like her famous father, and has his distinct blue eyes.
11. A Posthumous Grammy
The only Grammy that Nirvana ever won was awarded for the album "Nirvana: MTV Unplugged", which was released after Cobain’s death.
10. Fragile & Delicate
Carrie Montgomery, a friend of Kurt Cobain’s, once said that he “made women want to protect and nurture him”. She also referred to him as a paradox, in that he was brutally and intensely strong, yet also fragile & delicate.
9. Lefty and Righty
Cobain played his guitar left handed, but played the drums right-handed.
According to one of Kurt Cobain’s ex-girlfriends, Cobain was made fun of for his size in high school, and started wearing layers to cover his frame. As he got older, he continued to wear layers of clothing- even in warm weather.
7. We Don’t Want Your Money
Kurt Cobain was a supporter of social equality. He had no tolerance for homophobia, and in an interview, he emphatically stated that if someone was racist, homophobic or misogynistic, they could refrain from buying their albums or attending their concerts because he didn’t want their money or anything to do with them.
6. It Was an Okay Word
Kurt Cobain had a difficult relationship with the media, and seldom went along with anything that was printed about him. The one label he didn’t seem to mind was grunge. When asked about it in 1994, he said: ““If someone wouldn’t have come up with grunge, it would have been called something else. I think it described what kind of guitar rock we were playing at the time pretty well, and it was an okay word.”
5. Kurt’ or ‘Kurdt’?
An article written about Nirvana before the release of their debut album Bleach misspelled Kurt Cobain’s name as “Kurdt” Cobain. From that point on, Cobain often spelled his name Kurdt, and it was believed that he used the name to represent his alter-ego when he wasn’t feeling like himself.
4. The 27 Club
With his suicide at age 27, Kurt Cobain joined what is known as the 27 club- a group of prominent musicians who died at age 27. Other members include Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and Doors frontman Jim Morrison.
3. A Final Goodbye
On April 10, 1994, roughly 5 days after his death, a public vigil was held in Cobain’s honor at a park in Seattle Center. Nearly 7000 people attended, and Courtney Love read Cobain's suicide note.
2. Dear Boddah
As a child, Kurt Cobain had an imaginary friend Boddah, whom he described as the evil part of his psyche. It was to Boddah whom he addressed his suicide note. Although many fans know about the famous suicide note, many don't know that some investigators believe that the end of the note was doctored and it actually read differently. The main body of the note is written about Kurt's relationship to music, it's only the very small part of the note, the last four lines, that talk about his relationship to his family, and specifically Courtney and their daughter Frances. This coupled with a handwriting practice sheet found in Courtney's bag (which contained letters that were used in the suicide note) have led investigators and fans to believe that perhaps the last few lines were added after Cobain was already dead and the whole suicide was staged.
1. My Hero
Dave Grohl, the former drummer for Nirvana formed the band The Foo Fighters after Cobain’s death, and the song ‘My Hero’, from their 1997 album The Color and the Shape, was about Cobain.