Born: February 20, 1967, Washington, United States | Successful For: Punk Rocker | Zodiac Sign: Pisces
“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”
– Quote by Kurt Cobain
Who Is Kurt Cobain & What Can We Learn From His Story:
Kurt Cobain Pursued The Things That He Loved:
“My mother encouraged me to be artistic. It was written in a contract at an early age that I would be an artist.” As a toddler, Cobain enjoyed playing with a kiddie drum kit. His artistic element came as early as his musical instincts did; he would draw his favorite cartoons from movies, and his grandma was a professional artist herself, who encouraged him heavily. Apparently, Kurt Cobain learned the piano by ear and began singing at just age 2. By 4, he was singing, playing piano and wrote a song about going to the local park. In grade school, he was impressing the kids and teachers alike with his artistic ways; he was intrigued with human anatomy and for a certain project he drew a sperm that transformed into an embryo. He brilliantly has stated “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” When Cobain was growing up, his father put him in wrestling and baseball, and although he was good, he purposely got pinned and struck out – sports weren’t his type of fun. Cobain also did not fit in with others, he despised the macho guys, partially because he was much more aligned with his feminine creative side, this is why he had mostly girl friends. He told others he was gay as a teen, even though he wasn’t, it was more of a way to be left alone and as he has mentioned “just to piss off the homophobes.” On his 14th birthday, his uncle gave him the choice of a bike or a used guitar as a present, and he thankfully took the guitar. With a natural passion, he was quickly trying to perfect Led Zeppelin songs. So it was no wonder Cobain would go on to become a huge rock star who was also an artist – known for creating many visual art paintings, collages and sculptures, including the Nirvana covers. Today, the city he’s from, Aberdeen, has a big sign dedicated to him that reads “come as you are” – a very fitting message from one of his tracks.
Through The Light & Dark Moments, Creativity, Art, & Inspiration Came From Everywhere:
Throughout life’s dark moments from his parents’ divorce, failed relationships, feeling like a misfit to his stomach pains, heroin addiction, media scrutiny and hating fame, Cobain was able to integrate his creative inspirations from all of these experiences. And he found escape through putting his focus on the punk and grunge music era and that which he was so cleverly putting together. His inspiration for “Something in the way” came from his experience of living under a bridge by the Wishkah River. He would work at a Polynesian Resort so that he could attend tons of punk rock concerts in the Seattle area which gave him much insight while it intrigued his senses. Cobain’s troubled relationships also gave him many ideas. From the likes of Tracy Marander – who told him to get a job instead of his art projects, which influenced him to write ‘About a Girl’. And then when he puked after seeing girlfriend Tobi Vail, because of how in love he instantly became – this moment created the lyric “love you so much it makes me sick”. Tobi and him wrote a bunch of songs together and many of his future songs were also based on her. Her friend Kathleen Hanna when talking about anarchism spray painted Cobain’s apartment wall with “Smells like teen spirit” which was a tacky deodorant brand that Toby Vail wore, and he mistakenly took as a revolutionary term and later turned into a mega hit. He had many musical influences too, as he considered John Lennon a huge idol, and listened to quite a few other bands and genres. Throughout his life of being a misfit and loner, he grew a big sense of purpose – from his impactful lyrics to using his fame to stand up for the rights of women, gays, other minorities and mostly for the people who didn’t fit in like himself. Even during the ever changing 90’s – he was proud to play at a Gay right’s concerts, and support other good causes.
From His Legacy We Learned: Love Yourself, It Is More Important Than Life Itself:
Bob Dylan heard a track in the 90’s and instantly commented on his music saying “the kid has heart”. In his sad suicide note, it read “There’s good in all of us.”, it was very clear, Kurt Cobain had a big heart, but he could not find the love within for himself. As a child he was described as being a really happy and excited kid who was sensitive and had a deep sense of care for people, everything changed 360 when his parents divorced at age 7. The turn of events effected Cobain harshly, and his personality shifted as he became withdrawn admitting later in an interview: “I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents. I couldn’t face some of my friends at school anymore, because I desperately wanted to have the classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents for quite a few years because of that.” From then on, a ton of unfortunate ‘life’ events took a toll on him, everything from continuous stomach ulcers, bronchitis and back pains to witnessing his mother being abused by a man she was dating. He grew a hatred towards adults and even bullied a kid at school which led his father to take him to a therapist. Two weeks before his graduation, he dropped out after realizing he didn’t have enough credits. His mother, who he was now living with, gave him 2 alternatives: find a job or leave. He left and felt quite abandoned. He would live with some friends and often be out on his own or homeless. Fast forward to his rock career, Cobain had so much talent, creative genius insight, and a very authentic persona, however he lacked a very important ingredient, his own appreciation and worthiness. And although the world loved him for his greatness, he almost resented himself fully. There’s really a lot to learn from the story of one of rock’s biggest legends, and the essence of ‘loving ourselves’ is at the core of his entire legacy. He once said “Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with with your self-esteem. They’re no good at all.”
“Punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster’s terms, ‘nirvana’ means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that’s pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.”
– Quotes by Kurt Cobain