I’d like to celebrate another rock star birthday today. More famous for how he died, few have bothered to know how he lived and what brought him to his tragic end. I would like to talk about Kurt Donald Cobain, who, as we all know, took his life on the 4th of April 1994.
It was on February 20 in the small town of Hoquaim in Washington that Kurt was born to his parents Donald and Wendy Cobain. When he was eight, his parents divorced, leaving him quite shaken. He longed to have the typical American family and was heartbroken as a result of the separation.
He spent a year with his mother but soon left to live with his father. His youthful rebellious streak had begun to surface, which resulted in him being shuffled around between friends and family.
As a result of this disorientation, Kurt got into trouble with local authorities for various random acts of vandalism. Soon he found his calling as he began to discover the thriving Seattle punk scene and began hanging out with local bands, such as the Melvins.
Two weeks before he was to graduate from high school he dropped out, resulting in him being thrown out of the house by his mother. On his 14th birthday Cobain got his first guitar and began to learn playing songs like AC/DC’s Back In Black but soon began working on his own songs.
Making of Nirvana
Hugely inspired by punk rock, Kurt could rarely find anyone to play his songs with, due to the late 80s overwhelming pop and hair-metal scene. It was at the Melvin’s rehearsal pad that he met Krist Novoselic and struck up a friendship with him.
In looking for a drummer, they went through a series of players before they found Chad Channing, with whom Kurt ended up recording the debut Nirvana album, Bleach. However, Kurt soon became dissatisfied with Chad as well.
The search finally ended with Dave Grohl, also a fan of the Melvins. A quick audition and Dave was in. 1991 saw the release
of Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind. And thus began the era of grunge/alternative and modern rock as we know it.
It is very rare, as we know, that someone or something comes along and causes a generation to change its outlook in a moment so quick that one is left wondering, “How/when did that happen?” It happened with The Beatles, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Michael Jackson.
Kurt Cobain has been one of the last rock ’n’ roll warriors to cause such a change in the past 20 years, and it is unlikely that there are any left.
Kurt wrote in his much misinterpreted suicide note, “..it’s better to burn out, than to fade away”, in retrospect I would like to disagree, there remains no reason to burn out and no need to fade away.
The unnecessary short life of Kurt Cobain remains a lesson, as much as an inspiration, to all those with dreams who have the daily strength to go out and follow them.. if I may say so.