Throughout his tumultuous adult life, Kurt Cobain battled depression, chronic bronchitis, a severe stomach condition and addiction. In his final years, he also struggled with the pressures of fame, upholding a public image and heroin addiction. Cobain certainly had enough physical and emotional ailments to consider ending his life.
Although there is much controversy surrounding the musical legend’s death on April 5, 1994, he left behind a note that further supported his unhappiness with fame as well as his preoccupation with living an authentic life.
Like Holden Caufield, J.D. Salinger’s cynical protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye, Kurt Cobain despised phonies and feared that deep down he might have been one himself.
Here is an excerpt from Cobain’s suicide letter: “When we’re back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins, it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy.
The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage. I’ve tried everything within my power to appreciate it (and I do, God, believe me I do, but it’s not enough). I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. It must be one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they’re gone. I’m too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child.”
The five quotes we selected, have one thing in common; they reflect Kurt Cobain’s disdain for phoniness and concern of becoming a hypocrite:
5) I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.
4) Punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster’s terms, ‘nirvana’ means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that’s pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.
3) I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn’t.
2) We have no right to express an opinion until we know all of the answers.
1) I really haven’t had that exciting of a life. There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life. So I pretty much like to make it up. I’d rather tell a story about somebody else.