Quotes About Kurt Cobain

  • Genius is a weird and inappropriate word, and hard work is underrated, but Kurt Cobain had a distinct and personal take on the world, and generally, when someone strikes a chord with his audience, that’s what people respond to…I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly a fan of Nirvana when I was asked to work on In Utero, but during the course of making the record I came to appreciate that they were genuine about their band and their music, that Kurt was capable of sophisticated thinking, and that they and their music were unique.
    • Steve Albini, quoted in “Steve Albini Drops Anonymity, Answers Questions In Poker Forum”, Stereogum (2007-10-06).
  • He had a touch most guitarists would kill for.
    • Chuck Berry, according to Kurt Cobain by Christopher Sandford, Orion Press, 1995.
  • Nirvana were like…power-chord music with the occasional Sonic Youth-y flip-out in it. But the power of that band is Kurt Cobain’s voice, which is just fucking caramel–a beautiful rock voice.
    • Lou Barlow, quoted by Marc Hawthorne in “Interview: Dinosaur Jr.”, The A.V. Club (2005-07-20).
  • People were trying to call me to do interviews on the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. They want me to say some poignant shit about some poor guy who blew his head off. It’s just like, “Give me a fuckin’ break, man”…Just say the guy made some good records, and let’s get on with it.
    • Frank Black, quoted by Scott Gordon in “Interview: Frank Black”, The A.V. Club (2006-10-19)
  • I remember watching Kurt come through and thinking, “God, this music is nuclear,” This is really splitting the atom. They raised the temperature for everybody. Manufactured pop never looked so cold as when that heat was around. Nirvana made everything else look silly.
    • Bono, quoted in Lorraine Ali, “Cries From The Heart,” Newsweek (2002-10-28).
  • I was simply blown away when I found out that Kurt Cobain liked my work, and I always wanted to talk to him about his reasons for covering “Man Who Sold The World.” It was a good straightforward rendition and sounded somehow very honest. It would have been nice to have worked with him, but just talking would have been real cool.
    • David Bowie, quoted in “A Fan’s Notes,” SPIN (1995-04).
  • Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost.
    • William S. Burroughs, according to Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle by Carrie Borzillo.
  • I’m sorry I couldn’t have spoken to the young man. I see a lot of people at the Zen Center, who have gone through drugs and found a way out that is not just Sunday school. There are always alternatives, and I might have been able to lay something on him. Or maybe not.
    • Leonard Cohen, quoted by Peter Howell, Addicted To Noise (1995-08-06).
  • That kid has heart.
    • Bob Dylan, after hearing the Nirvana song “Polly”, according to Heavier Than Heaven by Charles R. Cross, Hyperion, 2001.
  • The only person I have any respect for as a songwriter over the last 10 years is Kurt Cobain. He was the perfect cross betweenLennon and McCartney. He belted it out like Lennon, but his melodies were so Paul McCartney. They were dead bouncy up and down – jolly melodies – but he was a miserable fuck at the same time.
    • Noel Gallagher, quoted in Guitar World (1996-05).
  • A couple weeks ago, one of my students gave me a mixed tape of Kurt Cobain and there was a version of “Black Girl” of great artistry. Great vocal control and subtlety, it’s almost as good as Leadbelly’s.
    • Allen Ginsberg, quoted by George Petros in “ALLEN GINSBERG. GROOVIN’ GURU. Beat laureate ALLEN GINSBERG goes bananas,” Seconds, Issue 28 (1994).
  • He’s the most talented person I ever worked with because he was talented in so many different ways. He’s a guitar player and a lead singer and he wrote all the songs. He did everything for Nirvana that it took Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to do for Led Zeppelin. Kurt also designed the album covers and wrote treatments for the videos. He even designed the t-shirts. He was really a comprehensive genius when it came to the art of rock and roll.
    • Danny Goldberg, quoted by Stephen Elliott in “The Shorty Q&A with Kurt Cobain’s Former Manager Danny Goldberg”, The Rumpus, (2009-01-30).
  • I suddenly realized Michael [Pitt] was much taller than Kurt, and much more buff, actually. Kurt was a wee little man, with these big piercing blue eyes and this tremendous smile — and that’s one thing that nobody can replicate.
    • Kim Gordon, quoted by Rodrigo Perez and Courtney Reimer in “Sonic Youth Revisit Their Friend Kurt Cobain In ‘Last Days’”,MTV.com (2005-07-22).
  • I still dream about Kurt. Every time I see him in a dream, I’ll be amazed and I get this feeling that everyone else thinks he’s dead. It always feels totally real, probably because I’m a very vivid dreamer. But, in my dreams, Kurt’s usually been hiding – we’ll get together and I’ll end up asking him, “God, where have you been”
    • Dave Grohl, quoted in “I still dream about Kurt” NME (2007-10-31).
  • Kurt really reminded me a lot of John [Lennon] in his writing, singing, and guitar playing. More attitude than technique, but he had incredibly strong rhythm and a great solo sense.
    • Jim Keltner, according to Classic Rock Albums: Nevermind by Jim Berkenstadt and Charles Cross, Schirmer, 1998.
  • And he could be a real grumpy bastard, but that was part of his power. You know, without saying a word he could make the whole room feel like shit. You know? And he also had an intense narcissism…But he also didn’t have one ATOM of rock star ego, and he needed it. He didn’t give himself enough credit. I mean, he knew he was the shit.
    • Courtney Love, in an interview with Kurt Loder, broadcast on MTV (1994-09-08).
  • Rage and aggression were elements for Kurt to play with as an artist, but he was profoundly gentle and intelligent.
    • Thurston Moore, quoted in “When The Edge Moved To The Middle,” The New York Times (2004-04-08).
  • He was a revealing symbol [of Generation X]. He called himself passive-aggressive. There was self-pity, whining. There was a diminishment, a diminution. He was sitting there in his sweater, hunched over his guitar, looking like a little lost boy. Compare that with the great figures of my generation: Jimi Hendrix. Pete Townshend. Keith Richards. The great achievements of rock–of the Sixties, in fact–were done by assertion and energy. This is why I’m worried about the future.
    • Camille Paglia, quoted in Playboy (1995-05).
  • I went to see Nirvana at a small club called the Pyramid on Avenue A in New York City. It was hard to hear the guitar, but the guy playing and singing had a vibe; he hopped around like a muppet or an elf or something, hunched over his guitar, hop hop hop, hippety hippety hop. I loved that. When he sang, he put his voice in this really grating place, and it was kind of devilish sounding. At the end of the set he attacked the drum kit and threw the cymbals, other bits and finally himself into the audience. Later I saw the same guy passing the bar. He was little, with stringy blond hair and a Stooges T-shirt. I felt proud.
    • Iggy Pop, quoted in “A Fan’s Notes,” SPIN (1995-04).
  • Cobain changed the course of where the music went. There are certain people where you can see the axis of musical history twisting on them: Hendrix was pivotal, Prince was pivotal, Cobain was pivotal.
    • Vernon Reid, quoted in The “Immortals – The Greatest Artists Of All Time”, Rolling Stone (2004-04-15).
  • In Kurt’s voice I could hear his love of bluegrass music, of Bill Monroe and Leadbelly. It’s in the twang of his voice.
    • Patti Smith, quoted by Jim Farber in “Patti Smith still doesn’t change horses midstream,” Pop Matters (2007-10-13).
  • Yeah, he talked a lot about what direction he was heading in. I mean, I know what the next Nirvana recording was going to sound like. It was going to be very quiet and acoustic, with lots of stringed instruments. It was going to be an amazing fucking record, and I’m a little bit angry at him for killing himself. He and I were going to record a trial run of the album, a demo tape. It was all set up. He had a plane ticket. He had a car picking him up. And at the last minute he called and said, “I can’t come.”
    • Michael Stipe, quoted by Jeff Giles in “Everybody Hurts Sometimes,” Newsweek (1994-09-26).
  • I was in Pioneer Square - I went to see some band, I don’t know if it was the the Melvins. Kurt was there – I think Kurt was by himself and I was by myself. I went over to tell him how much I loved Bleach. He was very quiet and subdued. He said, “Thanks – that means a lot coming from you. Consider yourself our biggest influence.”
    • Kim Thayil, quoted by Greg Prato in Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, ECW Press, 2009.
  • I mourn for Kurt. A once beautiful, then pathetic, lost and heroically stupid boy.
    • Pete Townshend, quoted in “Why he died before he got old,” The Observer, (2002-11-03).
  • And like I said I love Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, the lyrics are so deep–stuff like “The animals I’ve trapped have now become my pets”.
    • Tricky, quoted by David Trueman in “Tricky Business – An interview with Tricky” on Amazon.co.uk.
  • He’s your archetypal small guy – wiry, defiantly working class and fiery.
    • Everett True, in “Everett True Thrashes It Out With The Latest Wizards From Seattle’s Sub Pop Label Who Arrive In Britain Next Week,” Melody Maker (1989-10-21).
  • Kurt’s wounds were so deep that when the music floated to the surface after being filtered through his soul, it was incorporeal.
    • Steven Tyler, quoted in “A Fan’s Notes,” SPIN (1995-04).
  • You know, I always thought I’d go first. I don’t know why I thought that, it just seemed like I would. I mean, I didn’t know him on a daily basis – far from it. But, in a way, I don’t even feel right being here without him. It’s so difficult to really believe he’s gone. I still talk about him like he’s still here, you know. I can’t figure it out. It doesn’t make any sense.
    • Eddie Vedder, quoted in “I’m Not Your Fuckin’ Messiah”, Melody Maker Magazine (1994-05-21)
  • …With Kurt Cobain you felt you were connecting to the real person, not to a perception of who he was – you were not connecting to an image or a manufactured cut-out.
    • Lars Ulrich, quoted in “Lars Ulrich: Kurt Cobain Didn’t Want to Share the Stage with Guns N’ Roses,” Blabbermouth.net (2004-04-01)
  • 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, quoted in “Reflective Glory” NME (1995-07-15)