Nirvana – a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, or sense of self. A state of perfect happiness. After watching the film ‘Montage of Heck’ Kurt Cobain was far from happy. You know when you look into someone’s eyes and you can see a light dance when they are happy? The only time you ever saw a light was when he was young, maybe three or four, and then you saw it again when he was around his daughter. People see famous people and have this vision that their life is perfect. That suffering doesn’t exist in that world.
Cobain’s problems started before he was born. His parents got married young without the realization that marriage is hard work and that children are even harder work. They hadn’t really figured themselves out as individuals let alone had the ability to know who they were as a couple. At nine, Cobain’s parents got a divorce, which was difficult for Kurt because no one got divorce in those days. It seemed that he felt humiliated, betrayed, and broken. He acted out towards everyone. His mother who kicked him out and sent him to his father. His father who belittled and shamed him for his hyper-active behavior. His siblings, grandparents, and step-mother. The list continues as he was passed around from family member to family member. When Kurt would act out, he would be passed on to the next one. No one ever truly dealt with the emotional damage that had been created and was still being created.
He loved art – music, drawing, and writing. Kurt fell in love with punk rock. Punk rock was the music that understood the anger he felt, the alienation, and the loneliness. His sister Kim said, “He was in search of something that didn’t make him feel so alone. So different.” Watching the film of the intertwined rock shows, the interviews, the home movies of him as a teenager and into his twenties that he was searching for acceptance and to be loved. He was threatened by ridicule and by what others thought, but he was his own worse critic. He was a musical genius, a lyricist that always had a deeper meaning, and a mind that never took a vacation. He never wanted the fame. I think that the biggest thing he wanted was to help young people not feel so alone like him. He wanted his music to be great; to be something that people could find their own interpretations. He believed that the music spoke for itself, that the explanation was based on the individual. In the song ‘Come As You Are’ Cobain sings,
“Come as you are, as you were,
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy
Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don’t be late.
Take a rest, as a friend, as an old memory”
Those lyrics are hauntingly beautiful. Almost like he was trying to convince the world to accept themselves. Trying to convince the world to accept him. And trying to convince the man in the mirror to accept him. Being from a broken family he wanted to make sure that his immediate family (Courtney Love & Frances Bean) was never broken, but again it was broken before it started. He and Love were both addicted to heroine, never dealt with past struggles with their own parents, and now enters their child (Frances). Cobain said in an interview that Frances became the most important thing in his life. That he didn’t want her to be screwed up because of him. He would leave the band if it started to affect her in anyway. Cobain committed suicide on April 5, 1994. His daughter grew up without him. Never knowing the man that loved her more then he loved himself. He was heartfelt musician, but what a wasted talent. He died a broken man. Leaving the world with songs such as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘All Apologies.’ He helped create a whole new style of music, and introduced the 90s generation to grunge. Even though he formed Nirvana he never truly found it.
All details of Kurt Cobain’s life were found through the documentary ‘Montage of Heck’ – watch the trailer here.