THE FACE OF NIRVANA: KURT COBAIN.

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TANUJ BANSAL.

Music is not just a recreational activity or any other means of fun, earnings and fame, it’s a whole different lifestyle, a mind-bending and soul-bending part of any of us. Music can be traced back to Neanderthals times and is being developed eventually from generation to generation and from culture to culture. Is there a life without music? I would say no, life without music is like a world without colors. But today we are going to know not about the whole history of music and what it is now, well let’s just save this topic from another day, today we’re going to know about the face of grunge and one of the most controversial figures of 90s music industry and yes one of my personal favorite artists, Kurt Cobain. Kurt was born as Kurt Donald Cobain on 20 February, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington. He had a generally happy childhood as he was described as happy, excitable child who also had sensitivity and care in his heart but that became a matter of time before his parents divorced, He was just nine years old and had profound affect on his life making him defiant and withdrawn. He also witnessed his father marrying other woman despite his dismay and watched his mother dating a guy who was abuse and witnessed the domestic violence inflicted upon her, that once she was admitted to hospital with a broken arm but refused to press charges to remain in relationship. Kurt also became insolent towards adults and began bulling a boy in his school, that his father and his stepmother took him for therapy sessions in which therapist concluded he needs a single-family environment. Both sides of family tried their best to bring his parents back together to no avail. On June 28, 1978 his mother gave his father his full custody but Kurt’s teenage rebellion was so devastatingly overwhelming for his father that had to put him under the care of family and friends. Kurt disliked people and always wanted to be left alone that he befriended a gay because he thought people will leave him alone because the gay identity and yes, they did. According to Kurt, he used to spray paint “GOD IS GAY” on pickup vehicles in Aberdeen Area and according to police records he was arrested for spray painting the phrase “ain’t got no how whatchamacallit” on other vehicles. In his second year of High School, he started living with his mother but got dropped out because he didn’t have enough credits to graduate, his mother told him to either get employment or leave, after a week he found his things and clothes packed in a box and due to the feelings of being banished he started living with his friends. According to Kurt, during his homelessness time, he lived under the bridge over Wiskhah river that inspired his song “Something in the way”. Now that is one hell of childhood, something so hard to go through, that you may become someone you never thought of becoming.

In early 1985, Kurt formed “Fecal Matter” which eventually disbanded in 1986 but during that time he met with Tracy Marander during his visits to Olympia and began an affair with her and those arguments held between them inspired his song “About a girl” featured in his band Nirvana’s first album “Bleach”. Soon after his separation with Marander, he began dating Toby Vail of riot grrl band Bikini Kill. When he met Toby for the first time, he vomited because of the anxiety caused by his infatuation with her. This event inspired lyric “love you so much that it makes me sick” in the song “Aneurysm”. Kurt’s relationship with Vail inspired many songs on album “Nevermind”. An event noted was when another member of Bikini Kill Hanna spray painted on Kurt’s bathroom wall “Kurt smells like teen spirit”, Teen spirit was actually the name of deodorant Vail wore, but he didn’t know and misinterpreted with a revolutionary meaning behind this slogan and it inspired the name of his worldwide hit single “Smells like a teen spirit”. Now that’s cute. Kurt met Courtney in 1989 when she saw him performing for the first time and met him after the show and got attracted to him. Courtney made advances but Kurt was evasive and always backing off by breaking dates and ignoring her because he was unsure if he wanted a relationship. Kurt noted “I was determined to be a bachelor for a few months but… I knew that I liked Courtney so much right away that it was struggle to be away from her for so many months”. In late 1991 both were together and bonded through drug use. On February 24, 1992 they got married on Waikiki beach in Hawaii. Courtney was already pregnant and gave birth to their only daughter Frances Bean Cobain on August 18, 1992.

Nirvana was formed in 1987, the name Nirvana was taken from Buddhism which means “freedom from pain, suffering and external world” which he then combined with punk rock ethos and ideology. He started his band with Krist Novolic and after succession of few drummers including Chad Channing, the drummer in their album “Bleach” but fired because of his style and they needed a new drummer after which they finally settled on Dave Grohl in 1990. Kurt and Krist have released their debut album “Bleach” 1989 and then recoded their major-label debut ‘Nevermind” which had its first single “Smells like a teen spirit” which was unexpected huge success for the band on international level after which “Nevermind” was certified Diamond by RIAA.

Throughout most of his life Kurt suffered from chronic bronchitis and used drugs as pain killing options since the age of 13 with Marijuana and started heroin by the end of 1986 and then became full-fledged addict by 1990. When in a tour in Germany he was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis and was taken to medical attention in Rome and was joined by his wife on March 3, 1994. Next morning Courtney found him overdosed on champagne and Rohypnol. After five days in hospital, he was released and sent to Seattle, Courtney noted it as his first suicide attempt. On March 25, 1994 Kurt agreed for a detox program and on March 30 he arrived at Exodus Recovery Centre in L.A. In the following days, on one night Kurt walked outside to have a cigarette and climbed a six-foot wall and ran away, then he took a taxi to the airport and flew back to Seattle. Nobody knew his whereabouts and April 2 and 3 he was seen in numerous locations in Seattle.

On April 8, 1994 Kurt Cobain’s body was found in his greenhouse. The coroner’s reports showed he died on 5 April taking excessive amounts of heroin and diazepam and shooting himself in head with his shotgun after writing the suicide letter which had the famous lines of Neil Young,

“Its better to burn away than to fade out”      

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