Kurt Kobain was an American musician, artist, songwriter, guitarist and poet. Born in Aberdeen, Washington, Cobain formed the band Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in 1987 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene and grunge genre. Nirvana’s debut album Bleach was released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989.
Let’s see some interesting facts about him!
1. Kurt Donald Cobain was born February 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington.
2. He is the son of waitress Wendy Elizabeth and automotive mechanic Donald Leland Cobain.
3. His parents were married on July 31, 1965 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
4. His ancestry included Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, and Scottish.
5. His Irish ancestors migrated from Carrickmore, County Tyrone in 1875.
6. Researchers found that they were shoemakers, originally named “Cobane”, who came from Inishatieve, a townland within Carrickmore.
7. As migrants, they first settled in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, and then in Washington.
8. Cobain himself believed his family came from County Cork.
9. His younger sister, Kimberly, was born on April 24, 1970.
10. Cobain’s family had a musical background.
11. His maternal uncle, Chuck Fradenburg, played in a band called The Beachcombers. His aunt, Mari Earle, played guitar and performed in bands throughout Grays Harbor County and his great-uncle, Delbert, had a career as an Irish tenor, making an appearance in the 1930 film King of Jazz.
12. Kurt was described as being a happy and excitable child, who also exhibited sensitivity and care.
13. His talent as an artist was evident from an early age, as he would draw his favorite characters from films and cartoons, such as the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Donald Duck, in his bedroom. This enthusiasm was encouraged by his grandmother, Iris Cobain, who was a professional artist.
14. Cobain began developing an interest in music early in life.
15. According to his aunt Mari, he began singing at the age of two.
16. At age four, he started playing the piano and singing, writing a song about a trip to a local park. He listened to artists like the Ramones and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and, from a young age, would sing songs like Arlo Guthrie’s “Motorcycle Song”, The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”, Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun”, and the theme song to the television show of the band The Monkees.
17. When Cobain was nine years old, his parents divorced.
18. Cobain, his father, Westeby, and her two children, Mindy and James, moved into a new household together.
19. Cobain liked Westeby at first, as she gave him the maternal attention he desired.
20. In January 1979, Westeby gave birth to a boy, Chad Cobain.
21. This new family, which Cobain insisted was not his real one, was in stark contrast to the attention Cobain was used to receiving as an only boy, and he soon began to express resentment toward his stepmother.
22. Cobain’s mother began dating a man who was abusive. Cobain witnessed the domestic violence inflicted upon her, with one incident resulting in her being hospitalized with a broken arm. Wendy steadfastly refused to press charges, remaining completely committed to the relationship.
23. Cobain behaved insolently toward adults during this period of his youth, and began bullying another boy at school.
24. These behaviors eventually caused his father and Westeby to take him to a therapist, who concluded that he would benefit from a single family environment. Both sides of the family attempted to bring his parents back together, but to no avail.
25. On June 28, 1979, Cobain’s mother granted full custody to his father.
26. Cobain’s teenage rebellion quickly became overwhelming for his father, who placed his son in the care of family and friends. While living with the born-again Christian family of his friend Jesse Reed, he became a devout Christian and regularly attended church services.
27. He later renounced Christianity, engaging in what would be described as “anti-God” rants. The song “Lithium” is about his experience while living with the Reed family. Religion would remain an important part of his personal life and beliefs.
28. Although uninterested in sports, Cobain was enrolled in a junior high school wrestling team at the insistence of his father.
29. He was a skilled wrestler, but despised the experience. Because of the ridicule he endured from his teammates and coach, he allowed himself to be pinned in an attempt to sadden his father.
30. Cobain befriended a homosexual student at school and suffered bullying from heterosexual students who concluded that he was gay. In an interview, he said that he liked being associated with a gay identity because he did not like people, and when they thought he was gay they left him alone.
31. Cobain would often draw during school classes as part of his enjoyment of creating visual art. He would draw objects, including those associated with the human anatomy. When given a caricature assignment for an art course, Cobain drew Michael Jackson, but was told by the teacher that the image was inappropriate for a school hallway. He then drew an image of then-President Ronald Reagan that was seen as “unflattering”.
32. As attested to by several of Cobain’s classmates and family members, the first concert he attended was Sammy Hagar and Quarterflash, held at the Seattle Center Coliseum in 1983.Cobain, however, claimed that the first concert he attended was the Melvins, and he wrote prolifically in his journals of the experience.
33. As a teenager living in Montesano, Washington, Cobain eventually found escape through the thriving Pacific Northwest punk scene, going to punk rock shows in Seattle. He soon began frequenting the practice space of fellow Montesano musicians, the Melvins.
34. During his second year in high school, Cobain began living with his mother in Aberdeen. Two weeks prior to graduation, he dropped out of Aberdeen High School, upon realizing that he did not have enough credits to graduate.
35. His mother gave him a choice: find employment or leave. After one week, Cobain found his clothes and other belongings packed away in boxes.
36. Feeling banished from his own mother’s home, Cobain stayed with friends, occasionally sneaking back into his mother’s basement. Cobain also claimed that, during periods of homelessness, he lived under a bridge over the Wishkah River, an experience that inspired the song “Something in the Way”.
37. In late 1986, Cobain moved into an apartment, paying his rent by working at The Polynesian Resort, a Polynesian coastal resort approximately 20 miles (32 km) north of Aberdeen.
38. During this period, he was traveling frequently to Olympia, Washington, to go to rock concerts.:46 During his visits to Olympia, Cobain formed a relationship with Tracy Marander. The couple had a close relationship, but one that was often strained with financial difficulties and Cobain’s absence when touring. Marander supported the couple by working at the cafeteria of the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, often stealing food.
39. During his time with Marander, Cobain spent most of his time sleeping into the late evening, watching television, and concentrating on art projects. Her insistence that he get a job caused arguments that influenced Cobain to write “About a Girl”, which was featured on the Nirvana album Bleach.
40. She did not become aware that “About a Girl” was written about her until years after Cobain’s death.
41. Soon after his separation from Marander, Cobain began dating Tobi Vail, an influential punk zinester of the riot grrrl band Bikini Kill who embraced the DIY ethos. After meeting Vail, Cobain vomited, as he was so completely overwhelmed with anxiety caused by his infatuation with her.
42. On his 14th birthday on February 20, 1981, Cobain’s uncle offered him either a bike or a used guitar—he chose the guitar. Soon, he was trying to copy Led Zeppelin’s power ballad, “Stairway to Heaven”.
43. “Louie Louie”, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” and The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl” were cover versions learnt by Cobain before he began working on his own songs.
44. During high school, Cobain rarely found anyone with whom he could play music. While hanging out at the Melvins’ practice space, he met Novoselic, a fellow devotee of punk rock. Novoselic’s mother owned a hair salon, and the pair would occasionally practice in the upstairs room of the salon.
45. A few years later, Cobain tried to convince Novoselic to form a band with him by lending him a copy of a home demo recorded by Cobain’s earlier band, Fecal Matter. After months of asking, Novoselic finally agreed to join Cobain, forming the beginnings of Nirvana.
46. Religion appeared to remain significant to Cobain during this time, as he often used Christian imagery in his work, and maintained a constant interest in Jainism and Buddhist philosophy.
47. The band name “Nirvana” was taken from the Buddhist concept, which Cobain described as “freedom from pain, suffering and the external world”, a concept that he aligned with the punk rock ethos and ideology.
48. Cobain would regard himself as both a Buddhist and a Jain during different points of his life.
49. Cobain was disenchanted after early touring, due to the band’s inability to draw substantial crowds and the difficulty of sustaining themselves.
50. During their first few years playing together, Novoselic and Cobain were hosts to a rotating list of drummers.
51. Eventually, the band settled on Chad Channing, with whom Nirvana recorded the album Bleach, released on Sub Pop Records in 1989.
52. After signing with major label DGC Records, the band found breakthrough success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from their second album Nevermind (1991).
53. Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as “the spokesman of a generation”.
54. Cobain, however, was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to media attention.
55. During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, chronic health problems and depression.
56. He also had difficulty coping with his fame and public image, and the professional and personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love.
57. On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head.
58. The circumstances of his death at age 27 have become a topic of public fascination and debate.
59. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, has sold over 25 million albums in the U.S., and over 75 million worldwide.
60. Cobain was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, along with Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, in their first year of eligibility.
61. Cobain started using heroin on a daily basis to relieve his chronic stomach pains. In his diary, he wrote, “So I decided, if I felt like a junkie, I may as well be one.”
62. At one point, Cobain claimed to spend $100 per day on heroin.
63. In one journal entry, Cobain stated that the Sex Pistols were “one million times more important than the Clash.”
64. Cobain would sometimes get moody and sit in a corner for 45 minutes without saying a word.
65. Love and Cobain met on January 12, 1990, in Portland’s Satyricon nightclub, when they both still led ardent underground rock bands.
66. Love made advances, but Cobain was evasive. Early in their interactions, Cobain broke off dates and ignored Love’s advances because he was unsure if he wanted a relationship. Cobain 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 a really hard struggle to stay away from her for so many months”.
67. Love first saw Cobain perform in 1989 at a show in Portland, Oregon. They talked briefly after the show and Love developed a crush on him.
68. Cobain was already aware of Love through her role in the 1987 film Straight to Hell.
69. According to True, the pair were formally introduced at an L7 and Butthole Surfers concert in Los Angeles, U.S., in May 1991.
70. In the weeks that followed, after learning from Grohl that Cobain shared mutual interests with her, Love began pursuing Cobain. In late 1991, the two were often together and bonded through drug use.
71. On February 24, 1992, a few days after the conclusion of Nirvana’s “Pacific Rim” tour, Cobain and Love were married on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.
72. Love wore a satin and lace dress once owned by Farmer, and Cobain donned a Guatemalan purse and wore green pajamas, because he had been “too lazy to put on a tux”. Eight people were in attendance at the ceremony, including Grohl.
73. Love was already pregnant, and the couple’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain was born August 18, 1992. A sonogram of the couple’s as-yet-unborn baby was included in the artwork for Nirvana’s single, “Lithium”.
74. The first time Cobain saw himself on television was on September 28, 1991, for a taping of MTV’s 120 Minutes.
75. One year, Cobain cut up an inflatable sex doll and wore it for Halloween.
76. As a boy, Cobain had an imaginary friend named “Boddah.”
77. Cobain often watched television late into the night.