Kurt Donald Cobain (20th February 1967 – 5th April 1994)
“Here we are now, entertain us………….”
One question that has always been on my mind about Kurt Cobain. Did he actually realise how big a part of a musical movement he was? April 5th 2019 is 25 years to the day that Kurt Cobain died. A father, a husband and a hero to millions. But a humble hero, someone who found fame a distraction. But the music spoke for a generation, and Cobain was at the top of the table.
Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, collectively known as the big four of Seattle. Nirvana had been around for a number of years before their 1989 release, Bleach. Cobain was steadily gaining a reputation with his band, the American indie scene was just getting to know Nirvana. But it was only when 4 became 3, Krist Novoselic remaining the bass player and Dave Grohl joining on drums, that things started to happen. A new scene called Grunge was emerging. And Kurt Cobain was about to become an icon.
Nevermind was released in 1991. The album was a masterpiece, and thrust the band into the musical stratosphere. Cobain was now idolised around the world. He had everything you could ask for in a rock musician. He had the band, he had the music, he had the look. Fans around the world copied their idol. A bust up with Axl Rose became headline news. Their live shows were the hottest ticket in town. Yet no one could see what was going on with the singer. Everything, everyone thought, was fine.
Cobain was married to Courtney Love, lead singer with fellow grungers, Hole. They became parents to Frances Bean Cobain in 1992. Rock music had their golden couple. But it didn’t come without problems. Drugs being the main one. And the press hounded them relentlessly, any mistake they made was picked up by them. The smile that Cobain wore hid a mask of despair.
He continued to be, and I quote, “the spokesman of a generation”. Generation X, to be exact. 1993 showed a darker side to Cobain and his writing with the release of In Utero. Heart Shaped Box was the first single to be released and it was miles away from the ground breaking Nevermind. A darker, moodier sound to the band was received to great acclaim but Cobain was struggling with the demands of fame. The drug use was getting more frequent, and the strains of the being in the biggest band on the planet were beginning to show.
Unhappiness in the band, royalty splits apparently. Cobain had issues with his health too, he suffered from chronic bronchitis throughout most of his life. 1994 proved too much. Cobain was diagnosed with bronchitis and laryngitis in Germany, and was flown to Rome for treatment. But he overdosed on champagne and Rohypnol. Love found him unconscious, and he was immediately rushed to hospital. It seemed though, Cobain was trying to find a way out.
April 5th, 1994. The day that the voice of a generation was gone. Kurt Cobain killed himself from a shotgun wound to the head in his home in Seattle. The grief was universal, the fans mourned in their millions and Nirvana was no more. Cobain quoted, “it’s better to burn out than fade away”. Cobain was aware of who he had become, he saw the good and the bad in it all. It was ultimately his downfall, but the legacy he left behind can never be forgotten. 25 years on, Kurt Cobain still remains as relevant as he did when it all began. Come as you are, as you were, as Kurt Cobain wanted you to be.