Unforgettable Kurt Cobain

It’s better to burn out than fade away!

—Kurt Cobain

Yasmin Taj


Ever wished in life that you had been born in a different time and place? Or felt a sense of deja vu on hearing a certain voice or seeing pictures of a certain place?

The guitar riffs in the prelude of the unplugged version performed by Kurt Cobain of the David Bowie number; “The Man Who Sold The World” would always touch some unknown depths of my soul. I have always associated such instances to some past life karma or mystic powers. But I do believe that people have other rational explanations. It’s not only the passion for Cobain’s music or persona but I have always felt a certain connection with his legend as I am sure have many of us. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix are but a few of his peers who lived short but beautiful lives. Their untimely and mysterious suicides, in fact, glorified even a hard-hitting reality like death and did much to inspire suicidal lifestyles! What magic did they have that influenced such a huge mass and left indelible memories behind? I guess these people are simply born with a special soul and one can only and aspire to be among them.

Kurt Cobain, lead singer and songwriter of Nirvana — the multiplatinum grunge band, was born in Hoquiam, a small town 140 km southwest of Seattle. His mother was a cocktail waitress and his father was an auto mechanic. Cobain formed and reformed a series of bands before Nirvana came to be in 1986. Nirvana was an uneasy alliance between Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic and eventually drummer and multi-instrumentalist Dave Grohl. By 1988 Nirvana was doing shows and had demo tapes going around. In 1989 Nirvana recorded their rough-edged first album ‘Bleach’ for local Seattle independent label Sub-Pop. In Britain Nirvana received a lot of recognition and in 1991 their contract was bought out by Geffen. Two and a half years later Nirvana released their second album ‘Nevermind’, a series of different, crunching, screaming songs that along with it’s first single Smells Like ‘Teen Spirit’ would propel Nirvana to mainstream stardom. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became Nirvana’s most highly acclaimed and instantly recognisable song. ‘Nevermind’ went on to sell ten million copies and make a reported $550 million (US) making Nirvana overnight millionaires.

It quickly became obvious that the sensitive 24-year-old with a failing health was not going to cope well with the rock and roll lifestyle. Cobain fell into heroin in the early 90s. On March 4, Cobain was rushed to hospital in a coma after an unsuccessful suicide bid in which he guzzled down about fifty prescription painkillers with champagne. Days later on April 5, he barricaded himself into the granny flat behind his mansion, put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. When police broke down the door they found him dead on the floor, a shotgun still pointed at his chin. On a nearby counter was a suicide note addressed to wife Courtney Love and the couple’s then 19-month-old daughter Frances Bean. The note ended with the words “I love you, I love you.”