By Laura Oprescu
It’s better to burn out than to fade away.
It’s hard to believe that today would have been Kurt Cobain’s 50th. Pioneer of grunge music and spokesman of a generation, Cobain was an inspiration to everyone from Blink-182 to Lana del Rey.
Cobain has arguably had one of the largest influences on counterculture in the past few decades, yet that was never his intent. When asked if he saw Nirvana as an alternative, underground band in a 1991 interview, Cobain responded:
“What’s alternative? What’s counterculture? What’s cool? Who knows? Who cares? If chasing cool is important to you, you’re an idiot… We’re not some new trend.”
Best known for raging, anti-establishment teen anthem Smells Like Teen Spirt and Come As You Are, it’s easy to forget how profound the singer/ rhythm guitar player was. Cobain was ahead of his time in his views on equality, once stating he wished he was gay, just to annoy homophobes.
“If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of a different colour or women please do this one favour for us – don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.”
Cobain’s worldview was decidedly jaded. He never spared anyone, including himself, from his sweeping generalisations about humanity’s hypocrisy. He believed that something was fundamentally wrong with our generation.
“I’m disgusted by my own and my generation’s apathy. I’m disgusted at what we allow to go on, by how spineless, lethargic and guilty we are of not standing up against racism, sexism and all those other ‘isms’ that the counterculture has been whining about for years while they sit and enforce those same attitudes every night on their televisions and in the magazines.”
‘Nirvana’ is the Buddhist concept that Cobain describes as “freedom from pain, suffering, and the external world”. On April 5th, 1994, Cobain shot himself through the chin.
Cobain’s suicide note has been thoroughly examined in the years following his death. He expresses his appreciation for his fans and music, but states that it’s “not enough”. He urges Courtney to keep going, “for Frances”.
“I can’t stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I’ve become.”
Early this morning Frances Bean, now 24, Instagrammed her best to her father.
Though his life was short, he left his mark on the world. Grunge rocker, loving father, voice of a generation – rest in peace, Kurt Cobain.