Thrash Hits

July 31st, 2013

“Why I hate Kurt Cobain…”

With the news that a 20th anniversary reissue of Nirvana‘s In Utero is due on 23 September 2013, featuring over 70 “remastered, remixed, rare, unreleased, and live recordings”, we thought it was a good time to delve into the world of the grunge overlords and, in particular, Nirvana’s iconic frontman, Kurt Cobain. Despite still appearing on the t-shirts of many people who don’t actually own a Nirvana album, not everybody loves them.

Kurt Cobain Jawbreaker Thrash Hits

Cobain is not really that divisive a character, but who better to ask for an opinion on a rock star than Gavin “I ♥ Ronnie Radke” Lloyd? Nobody – once you read this, you will agree – but if you are a fan of Gavin’s last article, this one might surprise you somewhat…

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Regular visitors to this site will know I recently wrote a piece on Ronnie Radke which got many people up in arms. For those unaware I am a big Falling In Reverse fan but exaggerated my love for Ronnie Radke for comic effect. The joke went over a lot of people’s heads and a line that especially seemed to irk a lot of people was a joke about Kurt Cobain.

“…Some might argue that most bands are just following the vulnerable rockstar attitude ushered in by Nirvana. To them I say what’s Kurt Cobain up to these days? Not living it up cheating on Courtney Love with her friends that’s for sure.”

He’s dead now, of course.

Truth be told, it’s not the first time I’ve mocked the Nirvana frontman and it’s something that has popped up in my writing a few times. While in many ways he’s an easy target to attack and subsequently annoy people, I do also have my personal reasons for regularly singling out Cobain.

Can I just start off by saying openly that I like Nirvana. I wouldn’t claim to be their biggest fan by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do think they were a great band, Nevermind is a superb album and more than worthy of being viewed as the classic album many people see it as. It was also an incredibly important album and played a vital part in reshaping the rock landscape for the better after the tired sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll schtick pervaded by ’80s hair metal.

Cobain was obviously the driving force for this and was one of the first ‘rock stars’ that could address teenage growing pains and say it was ok to be different. Furthermore, his stoic beliefs and outspoken views on a range of topics is to be applauded. His open disgust for homophobia is a viewpoint I wish more contemporary figures from the rock world would take on board and challenge the constant stream of casual homophobic slurs that are so readily thrown around these days.

So despite all my praise for the man, what is my over-powering problem with him? My problem is that he is dead. To be more specific: that he committed suicide.

Let me shine some more light on this. While it is something I’ve never really talked about and very few people, including close friends, know about me, I’ve struggled with mental health problems in the past. Not to be all “poor me”, as I’m sure many people have had it worse, but my teenage years weren’t great. My entire secondary school career was five years of getting bullied and beaten up, regularly being scared for my life and crying myself to sleep. In addition to this, a lot of people close to me passed away and I didn’t have a good relationship with my dad. I haven’t seen my dad in about ten years since he and my mum broke up.

All of this caused enough damage to leave me with crippling depression that often left me feeling uncontrollably sad and hopeless. This was topped off by constantly beating myself up for feeling and acting in this way. I don’t write all this for any kind of sympathy, as on a day-to-day basis I’m fine now, but to stress that I know what it’s like to go through those dark times.

I don’t want to use the tired old cliche of “Music saved my life” but it certainly helped. I developed an obsession with music which has remained with me to this day. However, at my lowest points, Nirvana were never any real help to me. They didn’t provide any reason to keep fighting as their front man just gave up.

It may still be looked down upon by many and sure it had its silly moments but it was an array of nu metal heroes that gave me hope. A case in point being last month, when Slipknot headlined Download. Their whole insistence on turning hate into positivity may seem unreasonable to an outsider. Yet, as you watch these masked misfits bring 90,000 people together it was truly special and, in its own way, heartwarming. There was a rare sense of being part of something truly special. It felt like a celebration that even if you were having the best day of your life or the worst you could have an emotional release and find reason to keep moving on with your life.

I have just always felt offended by the way in which Nirvana came to an end. While Cobain’s death may have only strengthened his legacy in many people’s eyes, for me it tarnished it with a massive black mark. I don’t feel like a martyr is what those going through hard times need but rather figures who provide ongoing hope. Be it the aforementioned Slipknot or My Chemical Romance who dealt with emotional discord by wrapping it up in fantastical high concepts. Or Gallows who along with giving the punk scene a much needed kick up the arse provided everyone with a sense of fight and never giving up. I’m not a fan of them personally but if Black Veil Brides can make the teenage outsider fell like they have somewhere they belong then I say more power to them.

To end this on a positive note, if anyone who is going through a hard time emotionally happens to read this, the overall point I wanted to make is that suicide is never the answer. Life is always worth fighting for even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. Find someone to talk to about your problems – be it someone you know or anonymously. Furthermore, creativity can be one of the best weapons in fighting mental health problems. Find something you’re passionate about and fill your mind with that, be it music, art, reading, writing, sport, whatever you want. It helped me and I hope it is advice that will help others too.

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Follow Gavin Lloyd on Twitter.


Comments

  • jonnyapone

    Good article man. Suicide is a difficult subject to talk about as everyone has their own views and opinions on it but its definately one best discussed in a clear and sussinct way. As you have done here :)

  • Ashleigh Campbell

    I’ve always found it difficult to look up to a man who left a wife and a young daughter in the most horrific and selfish way. Nirvana were a great band, like you said, but I don’t find Kurt to be a hero in any way. Just a great songwriter who threw it all away.

  • Michael

    Kurt I was stupid 27yrs “I was Stupid, Is what I was it was an accident me being Stupid No Murder, No Suicide a cover up yes it was better to say suicide its all image for the Record Industry Kurt was Stupid he played this game and won many times because I hated myself and Courtney didn’t want the world to know the real Kurt the Stupid Kurt, I F@*ked up sorry…. I wanted to be more of a role model Its hard when growing up and you don’t feel loved it can make you not love yourself music was my escape Thank You World for Loving me I couldn’t Love myself but I didn’t want to DIE it was an accident me being stupid DON’T DO DRUGS, DO LIFE, LOVE YOURSELF that’s where it all starts YOU no matter what back ground you have or childhood BE STRONG and BE YOU, LOVE THE WORLD <3 YOUTUBE Cobain Lies Much Love and LIGHT @Michaelthyangel twitter

  • NuMetal FTW LOL

    That guy from Sonic Youth once said he believed Kurt Cobain was murdered…

  • Paul

    Well written article, and I agree suicide is not the answer to dark times. I’m surprised you didn’t mention anything about the possibility that Kurt Cobain didn’t kill himself. Did you leave out the possibility of murder because you didn’t want to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist? Have you ever looked into this topic? It is a fact that there were no fingerprints found ANYWHERE on the crime scene. The only way that can happen is if someone wiped the fingerprints off the gun, the ammunition container, the heroin syringe, the cigar box containing the heroin, and eveything else Kurt touched, including a Sprite can he drank from before he died. The fact that all the fingerprints were wiped clean proves he didn’t kill himself, seeing as it’s impossible for a dead person to wipe fingerprints away. There are many other facts that make suicide not a viable option. Look into it for yourself because I know you won’t change your mind based on this post. You’ll find the majority of people who have truly looked into the facts surrounding Kurt Cobain’s death don’t believe he commit suicide.

  • AIC fan101

    No Nirvana did not change rock for the better seeing as sex, drugs, and rock n roll are what rock music has been about from Hendrix to Winger to Ted Nugent to The Beatles. And also it’s quite simple that no one with any decent musical taste is going to say that Nirvana-influenced bands such as Nickelback, Puddle of mudd, seether, everclear, good charlotte, and linkin park outdo Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Dokken, and Twisted Sister so rock has not gone the right direction since the early 90s, which may attest to the fact that kids would rather listen to Rap Music than rock these days, maybe because, like Gene Simmons has stated, that rock musicians stopped being real ”ROCKSTARS” and started to look and act like normal people while rappers remained confident and out there, what a shame. So by influencing bands that were even worse than hair metal in an era where rock is getting forgotten, is not a step in the right direction. PS Nirvana fans say that they invented grunge well then explain to me why Alice in chains melvins and green river were around before and why bands like Mudhoney, Mother love bone, and Pearl jam were in no way influenced by Nirvana.

  • Reece

    I hate this reasoning. So you hate Kurt Cobain because he committed suicide and left his fans hanging. Is that it? He didn’t help teenagers get through the difficult times? Well, did it ever occur to you that it was never Kurt Cobain’s responsibility? At the end of the day he was a human being. The fact that so many troubled teenagers gravitated towards his music and found some semblance of identity with it is great, I certainly did, but that doesn’t mean he somehow has to be the guiding force of an entire generation and bear the brunt of all of their problems. One of Kurt’s best qualities as a song-writer was that he never catered to his audience. His music was written for himself, and that’s why I like him. He’s an artist not a popstar – and his suicide should only be a concern for his family and friends. We may all be fans of his music but we don’t have a right to get angry about what he did, because we never knew him or the things he was going through. So, with that said, leave the guy alone and just appreciate his music or don’t.

  • Kelly

    Immediately after the news of his suicide hit, there were copycats, which is something that never gets mentioned after all these years.

  • Guest.

    Good article and I do understand your points. Personally I feel it is a little harsh though simply because I know the feelings that kurt may have felt the self hatred and losing touch and I feel that you cannot blame him for these things.

  • kc

    I am surprised how so many ppl do not read the facts and do their research about the homicide of Kurt. Clearly he was set up. Do your research before assuming that he committed suicide. I am not saying it was Courtney but something happened and it wasn’t suicide. So this whole article and point of view is irrelevant. Yes Kurt had issues with mental health as well as physical pain from his stomach problems but he had a lot to live for and was not suicidal. He was set up.

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