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Nirvana were the rock superstars Kurt Cobain didn't want them to be.

Cobain (vocals, guitar), Chris Novoselic (bass), and Dave Grohl (drums) made up one of rock's most influential trios, and the pioneers of the genre that was to be known as grunge. Though Dinosaur Jr. might argue.

Cobain and Novoselic first got together in 1985, in Aberdeen, Washington, when forming the unfortunately named Stiff Woodies, with Cobain as the drummer, and a motley crew of passing through guitarists and vocalists. Cobain became the guitarist, and, when drummer Chad Channing joined, the first Nirvana line-up was in place. This was 1987, and in the next two years things would start to happen.

Signed up by Seattle-based Sub Pop, Nirvana proved to be a wow with college students, particularly, and the album 'Bleach' was released in the spring of 1989, and, just as with Pete Best in The Beatles, Channing was replaced by Grohl as the group's popularity skyrocketed. Nirvana then switched to DGC, and their seminal 'Nevermind' was released in 1991. The single 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' made both the U.S. and U.K. top 10, the video of the song was heavily played on MTV, and there was an American tour. Everything was looking rosy...

Kurt married Courtney Love, in 1992, who seemed to be, despite some of the bile thrown her way, more of a fairy godmother at this point, as she tried to save Kurt from mentally imploding. Despite this, Nirvana's 'In Utero' stormed right to the top of the U.S. and U.K. album charts in 1993. This was September, 1993, and Kurt would only survive until April 5th, 1994. Much has been said, but, in the end, maybe he really ended up in a place he would at last feel happy in.

- Paul Rance/

Nirvana Studio Albums: 1989 Bleach (Sub Pop); 1991 Nevermind (DGC); 1993 In Utero (DGC)
Nirvana Live Albums: 1994 MTV Unplugged in New York (DGC); 1996 From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah (Geffen)
Nirvana Compilation Albums: 1992 Incesticide (DGC); 1995 The Singles (Geffen); 2002 Nirvana (DGC); 2004 With The Lights Out (Geffen)
Nirvana Singles: 1988 Love Buzz (Sub Pop); 1990 Sliver (Sub Pop); 1991 Smells Like Teen Spirit (Geffen); 1992 Lithium (DGC); 1992 Come As You Are (DGC); 1993 Heart Shaped Box (Geffen); 1994 About A Girl (Virgin); 1994 All Apologies (Geffen)


When 'Nevermind', arguably Nirvana's weakest album was released, no one could have expected the attention, hype and vilification that was to follow: least of all those who loved 'Bleach' and Nirvana's early, rough, melodies. It clearly took Nirvana by surprise, as it would have anyone who wasn't interested in being Bono or Axl Rose. In the 'Melody Maker' of 25th July 1992, Kurt Cobain talked about the frustrations and pressure of being suddenly and massively famous. Suddenly everyone seemed to have some claim on his attention and time, wisecracking or coming over aggressive.

Kurt retreated to his wife and kid, and the next Nirvana album. Of course the rumours continued; the tales of heroin addiction, the arguments over the presence of guns in his house; and of course the tasteless Yoko Ono/Sid and Nancy stuff chucked at Courtney Love. Then there was 'In Utero', visceral, angry, introverted, mordantly humorous; and pathetic. A gorgeous album of noise and the sound of a man trying to see through the shit-storm that is fame. But more than REM's 'Drive', more even than Hendrix's 'Angel', this was the screaming of a band trapped by a press-made myth.

Sadly, even the twisted evisceration of 'Nevermind' that was 'In Utero' could not shake the carrion beasts who live on this kind of angst. However, most of us hoped the band could ride it out to the next album. But 1994 was to prove tragic for all concerned - one must have particular sympathy for Courtney Love, it is hoped that she can come through this; and that the journalistic vitriol is restrained from her for a change.

First Kurt fell into a drink and drugs induced coma, then was checked into rehab. An impending tour of England, already put back a month, was delayed again. And then, for whatever reasons, Kurt shot himself. It reminds me of Pete Seeger's 'Who Killed Norma Jean?', which implied we are all culpable. Just one more thing - don't make Kurt into a fantasy; suicide and pain aren't glamorous.

This Mucius article originally appeared in Eastern Rainbow No. 4 in 1994. This issue is available for 1.25 (or $3 - bills only), which includes p&p. Cheques/P.O.s/Eurocheques payable to Peace & Freedom.

NIRVANA DVDs available from - in association with
Nirvana Unplugged In New York [DVD] [1993] Nirvana Unplugged In New York [DVD] [1993] ~ Nirvana
B0014JGFEG Nirvana - On Film [DVD] ~ Nirvana
B000PTYTC6 Nirvana - At Reading Festival [DVD] ~ Nirvana
NIRVANA CDs available from - in association with
Nevermind - Nirvana Nevermind
Geffen (Audio CD) - August 1991
In Utero - Nirvana In Utero
Geffen (Audio CD) - September 1993
Nirvana - With The Lights Out [3CD + DVD] [BOX SET] With The Lights Out [3CD + DVD] [BOX SET]
Geffen (Audio CD) - November 22, 2004
From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
Geffen (Audio CD) - October 7, 1996
Nirvana - Unplugged in New York
Geffen (Audio CD) - November 3, 1994
Nirvana - Bleach Bleach
Sub Pop (Audio CD) - November 4, 2002
NIRVANA CDs available from - in association with
Product photo Nevermind
Product photo With The Lights Out [3CD Box Set + DVD]
Product photo In Utero
Product photo Bleach
Product photo From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
Product photo Lithium

The Internet Nirvana Fan Club

Kurt Cobain Quotes

In Aberdeen, I hated my best friends with a passion, because they were idiots. (1989) I'd like to live off the band, but if not, I'll just retire to Mexico or Yugoslavia with a few hundred dollars, grow potatoes, and learn the history of rock through back issues of 'Creem' magazine. (1989) I knew I was different. I thought that I might be gay or something because I couldn't identify with any of the guys at all. None of them liked art or music, they just wanted to fight and get laid. It was many years ago but it gave me this real hatred for the average American macho male. (1991) I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me. (1992) All drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem. They’re no good at all. But I’m not going to go around preaching against [them]. (1992) Yeah, I was run out of town. They chased me up to the castle of Aberdeen with torches. Just like the Frankenstein monster. And I got away in a hot air balloon. And I came here to Seattle. (1992) If you're a really mean person you're going to come back as a fly and eat poop. (1992) I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not. (1993) I can't play [guitar] like Segovia. The flip side of that is that Segovia could probably never have played like me. (1994)

I just think there's a breed of people who honestly like music. And there aren't very many of 'em, really. Those are the people who usually become musicians. It doesn't really matter what environment you grow up in. It's just some environments are more restrictive than others. (1994)

Music Stars Quotes About Kurt

He really, really inspired me. He was so great. Wonderful. One of the best, but more than that, Kurt was one of the absolute best of all time for me.
Neil Young
I mourn for Kurt. A once beautiful, then pathetic, lost and heroically stupid boy.
Pete Townshend (The Who)
That kid had heart.
Bob Dylan
I don't know why everyone on earth felt so close to that guy; he was beloved and endearing and inoffensive in some weird way. For all his screaming and all of his darkness, he was just lovable.
Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Rage and aggression were elements for Kurt to play with as an artist, but he was profoundly gentle and intelligent.
Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
I think Kurt was one of the deepest thinkers we've had in popular music over the last 20 years and if anyone deserves to have his songs dwelled upon it's him.
Jim Sclavunos (Bad Seeds)
The only person I have any respect for as a songwriter over the last 10 years is Kurt Cobain. He was the perfect cross between Lennon and McCartney...but he was a miserable f*ck at the same time.
Noel Gallagher (Oasis)
I only met Kurt once...I was touched by him. He seemed a little shell shocked as though he felt yet another show might drop at any time.
Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys)
He had a touch most guitarists would kill for.
Chuck Berry
I think one of Kurt's strengths was his simplicity. He knew how to write really catchy songs that said a lot without doing too much.
Steve Diggle (Buzzcocks)
He had a wonderful balance of raw, dangerous anger, but also he was this delicate, fun person...He was brilliant, but he played dumb. And you know, Kurt was funny as shit.
Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters; ex-Nirvana drummer)
He had an amazing ear for melody.
Norah Jones

NIRVANA T-Shirts & Hoodies available from - in association with
Kurt Cobain - Winged T-shirt, Black
Product image for ASIN: B000BXHOEQ NIRVANA - Smile - Black Zip Up Hoodie
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Nirvana Books at Amazon

Product image for ASIN: 0766024261 Kurt Cobain
Author: Jeff Burlingame
Product image for ASIN: 0766024261 Kurt Cobain
Author: Jeff Burlingame
Product image for ASIN: 0953994244 Dave Grohl
Author: Martin James
Product image for ASIN: 0793523923 Nirvana
Author: Nirvana
Product image for ASIN: 0793597277 Nirvana Drum Collection
Author: Nirvana
Product image for ASIN: 0385471998 Come As You Are
Author: Michael Azerrad
Product image for ASIN: 0826417760 Nirvana's in Utero
Author: Gillian G. Gaar
Product image for ASIN: 0826417760 Nirvana's in Utero
Author: Gillian G. Gaar
Product image for ASIN: 0316880159 Cobain
Author: Rolling Stone Press
Product image for ASIN: 0316880159 Cobain
Author: Rolling Stone Press
Product image for ASIN: 157322359X Journals
Author: Kurt Cobain
Product image for ASIN: 157322359X Journals
Author: Kurt Cobain



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