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Kurt Cobain

By Doost May 31, 2006 1679 Words
"I had a good marriage, and for that I'm grateful...but I've become hateful toward all humans in general only because it seems so easy for people to get along that have empathy." Kurt Cobain, in his 'suicide note', found next to his corpse on Friday, April 8th 1994, stated his hatred towards human society. Dead at 27, he remains among one of the most monumental and controversial lyrists in history. In spite of his tempestuous marriage with drug addict, Courtney Love, reckless drug abuse, and a childhood drained of emotion, Cobain escalated to become the epitome of a rockstar - an alluring misfit who spent every waking minute under surveillance by either drug officers or the Time magazine paparazzi. Kurt indeed lived the life of a punk rock fantasy and continues to be remembered as he was publicized: the last genuine rockstar.

Wendy, Kurt's mother, gave birth to her first son on February 20th, 1967 ("Kurt Cobain"). Wendy was a stay-at-home wife while her husband, Donald, worked at the local gas station in Aberdeen, Washington. In spite of Kurt's impoverished home-life, he stated that his childhood was full of happiness. Kurt received nothing but kisses and hugs as a child, was as if the Cobain's focused on affection, the family's main philosophy (Gracie 7). Aside from his relationship with his parents; however, came his association with music – the two components which formed Kurt's personality. "Since the age of two", his Aunt Mari began, "he's been singing…He would sing the Beatles' songs like "Hey Jude"…He had a lot of charisma at a young age". Kurt received his first percussion instrument for his third birthday: a bass drum. Yet, this is only because he was entirely too impatient to play the guitar (Gracie 8). As Kurt grew older, his impatience increased and he grew to be extremely overactive. And by the age of seven he was diagnosed with an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, shortened to ADHD. To assist Kurt's energy levels he was prescribed Ritalin, which, when broken down, is a form of Speed. This makes up for the scientific hypothesis that Ritalin causes addictive behavior in life; however, if the person who does have an ADHD disorder and is not prescribed, then the person is more likely to become a drug addict (Cross 29). As an adult, Kurt commented to a reporter about his Ritalin and explained, "When you're a kid and you get this drug that makes you feel good, where are you going to turn when you're an adult...it was something that gave you that [euphoric] feeling as a child – isn't that a memory that is going to stick with you?"

However, everything seemed to alter for Kurt when his mother filed a divorce against his father on March 29th, 1975 (Grace 9). To Kurt, the divorce was a hell that shaped his personality into what he became (Cross 21). On June 7th of 1976, Kurt wrote on his bedroom wall, "I hate Mom, I hate Dad. Dad hates Mom, Mom hates Dad." – the of his parents was lost (Cross 21). Kurt went into a state of denial and depression; he both needed his family, and at the same time did not. He was shuffled in and out of his parents' new homes, giving the impression that he was, truly, a vagabond. But the tension between Kurt and his parents eased when Don received custody on June 8th, 1978 (Cross 27). The same year, however, Don remarried, and all the positive attention focused on him was shifted towards Kurt's new stepmother (Cross 34). Kurt withdrew, and his father simply could not bear his own son any longer. By 1982, Kurt was lodging with his Uncle Jim, a drug addict (Cross 39). That summer, Kurt started getting into heavier rock music and began listening to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, yet his favorite band at the time was Journey. At age 14, to get in tune with the new music genre, Kurt decided to give up playing the drums and began taking guitar lessons.

At Aberdeen High School, Cobain soon lost his interest in sports and his preppy classmates (Cross 41). Kurt also disregarded most academics, focusing mainly on his art and music courses. His most recognized was his friendship was with a gay student, led to bullying at the hands of homophobic students ("Biography Kurt Cobain"). That friendship, along with his rather delicate stature, led some students to believe that he himself was gay. Kurt also disregarded most academics, focusing mainly on his art and music courses (Cross 42). He often drew during classes, including objects associated with fetuses and the human body (Cross 42). By this time Kurt's life revolved around music. He joined a local musical group known as ‘The Melvins', which soon inspired Kurt to form a band of his own when Kurt flunked out of high school six weeks before graduation ("Cobain, Kurt"). Because his mother wanted nothing to do with a failure, she gave him one of two options: "Get a job, or get out" ("Cobain, Kurt"). So a week later Kurt left his house, holding nothing but what he could carry within two trash bags.

As a result of his musical talents, Kurt put together an original music band called Nirvana; a band that soon became known worldwide for intensity and originality. In the late 1980s , pop culture was at an all-time high in the United States and punk rock reigned in all of Europe. The pop culture was really only made for nothing more than commercial purposes. Legendary pop stars such as Madonna, Prince, and the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, dedicated most of their lyrics to physical and emotional love, but since love was something Kurt did not fully experience throughout the majority of his life, pop music really didn't really catch his attention ("Pop Music"). As a result, the band then looked towards punk rock – music with a fast tempo, heavy drums, light-tuned guitars, and vocals that generated from the throat ("Punk Music"). Kurt loved the lyrics punk rock had to offer; however, when he heard it for the first time, he was disappointed by the music's general melody (Gracie 10). To meet their standards, Nirvana broke people away from Michael Jackson's pop culture and twisted The Ramones' punk rock lyrics, and formed a distorted type of rock, also known as "Grunge."

Grunge music became a new genre generated from alternative rock, hard core punk rock, and heavy metal ("Grunge Music"). Grunge music, like punk rock, must consist of professional guitarists who can play strong riffs and an experienced drummer who is full of intensity. This genre generally involves slow tempos and harsh harmonies, and the lyrics usually sound angry, frustrated, saddened, scared, or depressed. Also, social issues such as poverty and social prejudice can influence the lyrics in Grunge ("Grunge Music").

Grunge was known on the west coast in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it only became commercially known between 1991 and 1994, Nirvana being the major influence (Cross 35). Kurt and Nirvana were credited for bringing the grunge into popularity. Nirvana listeners everywhere began wearing trench coats,vintage band t-shirts, and practicing bad hygiene. Grunge became so popular that the new look hit the fashion runways, and even Vogue magazine issued grunge looks in one issue ("Cross 35").

Grunge wasn't only a fashion, but also a fast moving sound that was capturing fans all across the nation. Nirvana's career album sales break down as follows: the group's 1989 debut, Bleach, which has sold 1.44 million copies to date, followed by 1991's Nevermind, estimated to have sold about 10 million. Other albums such as Insecticide sold about 1.13 million copies, and In Utero had approximately 3.58 million copies sold. Nirvana's two most recent releases, 1994's MTV Unplugged in New York and 1996's From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah have sold 4.11 million and 1.15 million copies, respectively.

Consequently, Kurt was runner-up for the Best Songwriter of 1994 in Rolling Stone Magazine's annual critics' poll, being ranked between Freddy Johnson and San Phillips ("Biography Kurt Cobain"). His latest award was given in 2003, when he was elected the 12th greatest guitarist of all-time by Rolling Stone Magazine once again. By changing the music industry, there can be little denying that Nirvana is one of the most popular and commercially viable rock groups of the last 20 years.

From ages eight to twenty-seven, Kurt's behaviors could be classified into two different categories: personal and public problems, both of which led to negative influences. His personal problems began at age seven, the time of his parent's divorce. Kurt's parents soon remarried, but since he was no longer receiving much attention, he started with small acts of retaliation: skipping school, disobeying, not doing his share of household chores, and by 8th grade, experimenting with marijuana, alcohol, and even LSD.

Kurt's drug abuse carried on through his teenage and adult years when he met Courtney Love. Love influenced Kurt's drug habits, and by the end of their first year of marriage, they were spending up to $400 dollars per day on heroin (Gracie 33). By March 3rd, 1994, Kurt had made his personal problems collide with publicity when he made his first suicide attempt in Rome with champagne and rohypnol pills (Gracie 40). By purposely overdosing on an illegal date rape narcotic, Kurt had made his suicidal tendencies public. And on the 5th of April, Kurt barricaded himself in the upstairs of his garage with a stool, loaded up on heroin, and tragically shot himself in the head with a shotgun ("Justice For Kurt"). As a result of his poor judgment, an egotistical personality, and suicidal tendencies, Kurt Cobain not only murdered himself, but the popular world of Grunge music forever.

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