Frances Bean Cobain opened up for the first time about the death of her father, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and his musical legacy and more in a candid and rare cover story interview with Rolling Stone.
The 22-year-old visual artist spoke in depth about the father she lost to suicide in 1994 when she was only 20 months old. It was a rare glimpse indeed. The cover story coincides with the 21st anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, as does the new HBO documentary on his life, “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.”
Frances Bean Cobain is one of the executive producers. Given that, her comments about the band that her father founded have raised eyebrows. She told Rolling Stone, “I don’t really like Nirvana that much. Sorry, promotional people, Universal.”
Well, that’s candor for certain. She went on to share her musical preferences, saying, “I’m more into Mercury Rev, Oasis, Brian Jonestown Massacre…The grunge scene is not what I’m interested in.”
She revealed that she did nonetheless have a few favorite Nirvana songs, “Territorial P*ssings is a f–king great song. And Dumb, I cry every time I hear that song. It’s a stripped-down version of Kurt’s perception of himself; of himself on drugs, off drugs, feeling inadequate to be titled the voice of a generation.”
As for her father’s legacy and the impact it has had upon her own life, Frances Bean Cobain said, “I was around 15 when I realized he was inescapable. Even if I was in a car and had the radio on, there’s my dad. He’s larger than life, and our culture is obsessed with dead musicians. We love to put them on a pedestal.”
She went on to add, “If Kurt had just been another guy who abandoned his family in the most awful way possible . . . But he wasn’t. He inspired people to put him on a pedestal, to become St. Kurt. He became even bigger after he died than he was when he was alive. You don’t think it could have gotten any bigger. But it did.”
As for why Kurt Cobain committed suicide at the age of 27, thus putting himself in the infamous 27 Club alongside the likes of Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janice Joplin, Frances Bean Cobain said, “‘Kurt got to the point where he eventually had to sacrifice every bit of who he was to his art, because the world demanded it of him.” She continued, saying, “I think that was one of the main triggers as to why he felt he didn’t want to be here and everyone would be happier without him.”
She also opened up about what her late father’s band mates — Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear — call the “K. C. Jeebies” when hearing her speaking voice which is similar to Kurt Cobain’s. She said, “They look at me, and you can see they’re looking at a ghost. They were all getting the K. C. Jeebies hardcore. Dave said, “She is so much like Kurt.” They were all talking amongst themselves, rehashing old stories I’d heard a million times.”
She said of the new documentary and what we can expect of it, “It’s emotional journalism. It’s the closest thing to having Kurt tell his own story in his own words – by his own aesthetic, his own perception of the world.”
You can see Frances Bean Cobain’s full interview with Rolling Stone, along with the photo spread and the cover image here.