After 23 years we’re still learning new things about Kurt Cobain. In remembrance of him here are 10 things that may not have known:
1. Kurt’s musical backgrounds
His uncle Chuck Fradenburg was a member of the band The Beachcombers. His aunt Mari Earle played guitar and his great-uncle Delbert was an Irish tenor (who appeared in the 1930 film King of Jazz). Kurt Cobain was Also influenced by The Beatles at an early age. His aunt recalled that he used to sing ‘Hey Jude’ at only 2 years old. In 1993, Cobain said, “My aunts would give me Beatles records…so for the most part I listened to the Beatles as a child, and if I was lucky, I’d be able to buy a single.”
2. Despite his musical accomplishments, Kurt was a gifted artist.
During his art classes, he once drew Michael Jackson, but his teacher deemed it unsuitable for public display. He then drew a caricature of President Ronald Reagan, instead.
Many of his art works were created during a tender childhood consisting of innocent drawings and symbolic macabre paintings that were closely connected to his later troubled home life. Yet it’s the rich symbolism in his art that holds the potential to illuminate the singer’s life in new ways.
3.Despite rumors, Kurt did not roadie or audition unsuccessfully for The Melvins before forming Nirvana.
In an interview with Kurt’s childhood friend and The Melvin’s frontman, Buzz Osbourne, Osbourne said:
“I always think it’s funny that people say he roadied for us. Look at him! He couldn’t lift himself out of bed. You think he could roadie for someone? But we all hung out a lot. Krist Novoselic drove for us for a while. But roadie? We didn’t have a roadie. I didn’t even know what a roadie was until 1990. In order to hire someone to roadie, you have to be making money. The first time we made money was in 1988, and that was $200. If we would go to Seattle and play a show and make $160, maybe we’d all go buy everyone a burrito. That’s it. There was no money.
And people also say Kurt tried out for The Melvins. Yeah, right. I’ve never had tryouts for this band, ever. I can’t imagine doing that. We all jammed and played together back then. It was hopeless and stupid and horrific and mind numbing. There are happy memories, but in the end it’s a tragedy. I can’t rewrite history in such a way that makes me feel good about it. Honestly, I wish Kurt would have never become famous and was still alive.”
4. Kurt Cobain first met bassist Krist Novoselic in high school.
Kurt and Krist didn’t become friends until they regularly ran into each other at the Melvins’ practice space. Kurt wanted to start a band with Krist and gave him the demo for his band Fecal Matter. It took three years after they met for Krist to listen to the demo and agree to form a band.
5. It wasn’t until September 1990 the two were introduced to Dave Grohl
They were introduced to the drummer by the Melvins’ Buzz Osborne. Krist later said of Grohl’s audition,
“We knew in two minutes that he was the right drummer”.
6. Nirvana recorded their third album ‘In Utero’ with Steve Albini.
7. Kurt Cobain Dropped Out of High School
Kurt Cobain had a troubled youth moving from the home of his mother to the home of his father and back again. He engaged in rebellious behavior and was bullied by classmates. He dropped out two weeks before graduation when he discovered he did not have enough credits to graduate. Cobain died by his own hand when he was 27.
8. He Recorded While Homeless
Cobain was able to successfully record Nevermind while he was homeless. He was forced to sleep in his car. Crashing at his mom’s house while “Nevermind” was being mastered. When it was finished he played it for his mom and she said, “this is going to change everything.”
Meanwhile, Nevermind went on to sell two million copies.
9. He hated playing“Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Sure, it was one of Nirvana’s biggest hits but once the song hit the charts, Kurt got sick of it. He said that his goal with writing “Teen Spirit” was to basically make a huge record and rip off the Pixies. He refused to play it at many of Nirvana’s later shows. When he did play it, he often intentionally butchered it.
10. He wanted to name Nirvana’s final album “I Hate Myself And Want To Die”
When asked how he was doing, Kurt often joked “I Hate Myself And Want To Die.” It was in line with his sarcastic sense of humor, and after his own mental state came into question, he used this as a sort of defense mechanism to make the matter one that wouldn’t be taken so seriously. He wanted to name the band’s 1993 album I Hate Myself And I Want To Die, but bassist Krist Novoselic convinced him that it was a bad idea. They settled on In Utero.