The Troubled Life of Kurt Cobain
Kurt Donald Cobain
Kurt Donald Cobain was the frontman of the multi-platinum grunge band Nirvana. He was a talented singer and guitarist, but his emotional pain became the subject of his music. He suffered from depression and abused heroin.
He grew up in Aberdeen, Washington, a coastal logging town about 100 miles southwest of Seattle. His parents’ divorce left him feeling abandoned.
Born in 1967
Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20, 1967 in Grays Harbor Hospital in Hoquiam, Washington. He was the son of an automotive mechanic, Donald Leland Cobain and waitress Wendy Elizabeth Fradenburg. Cobain was a happy and excitable child who showed interest in music and art from an early age.
After his parents divorced when he was nine, Cobain’s outlook on life changed and he became withdrawn and defiant. His mother remarried to a man with two children and Cobain resented his stepmother. He stayed with his family on the weekends but he did not enjoy his time there.
Cobain’s adolescence was marked by drug use and depression, but he found his place as the leader of Nirvana, a grunge band that redefined rock music. He is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation, and his songs have had a lasting effect on many people’s lives. His death in April 5, 1994, left a gaping hole in the world of rock music.
Founder of Nirvana
Kurt Cobain founded Nirvana, a Seattle grunge band that became one of the most popular bands in rock music during the 1990s. He was a singer, guitarist and primary songwriter for the band, which was a pioneer in alternative rock. His angst-fueled songwriting challenged the thematic conventions of rock and established him as a spokesman for Generation X.
In 1991 the band recorded a demo tape called Incesticide with producer Steve Albini, who helped them to sign a deal with Geffen Records. The band’s next album, Nevermind, was a commercial and critical success. It was followed in 1993 by the release of a compilation album, In Utero, which also debuted at number one on the charts.
After Nirvana broke up, drummer Dave Grohl formed the Foo Fighters and bassist Krist Novoselic remained active in music, founding a band called Giants in the Trees. He also became involved in politics and owns the Grays River Grange, where he hosts a series of political events.
Influenced by punk rock
Kurt Cobain was influenced by punk rock when his friend Buzz Osbourne played him music by the Melvins. He took a liking to the angst-driven songs and rebelled against his conservative parents. He dropped out of high school and moved around between his mother’s and father’s homes. Eventually, he settled with the family of his friend Jesse Reid.
At the time, Christian bands that were influenced by punk tended to draw influence from new wave, which was considered a less threatening subgenre. Bands like Undercover favored poppy melodies and keyboards and played with an intensity that was nowhere near the level of Black Flag or Flipper.
In addition, most Christian punk acts tended to avoid political topics. This was in stark contrast to their secular counterparts, who often wrote songs about anarchy and nihilism. Nonetheless, the genre soon fell out of favor in the 1980s as Christian heavy metal began to dominate the scene. It was also overshadowed by the popularity of grunge in Seattle.
On April 8, 1994, local rock radio stations announced that a “local rock star” had been found dead in his home. This sent shivers through the Seattle music scene, and it turned out to be Kurt Cobain, 27 and leader of the band Nirvana. He was shot to death with a shotgun. His body was discovered by an electrician who was doing work on his home.
He had a high concentration of heroin and diazepam in his body. He also had a small amount of cocaine. The coroner ruled that he committed suicide. During a vigil for him, his widow Courtney Love read sections of his suicide note.
While many people believe that he died of suicide, some don’t agree. His cousin Bev, a nurse at Harrison Memorial Hospital, says that Kurt had depression and bipolar disorder. He also had a history of substance abuse. The family also had a history of suicides, including his great-grandmother, who shot herself in the chest in 1913 because her father wouldn’t let her go to the movies.