The other day I was thinking about Kurt Cobain, thinking about this project of Nirvana covers we’re working on, and watching this old interview. It’s one of my favorites. Kurt seems so open, so at peace.
I’ve looked up to Kurt Cobain for over half my life. From the time I was 11 years old, he’s been my idol. He made great music that affected me deeply, but he was also a kind, open-minded, sensitive, intelligent man.
While I was watching that interview, I had an unsettling thought: I’m now older than Kurt Cobain was when he died.
The first half of the quote (from “Serve The Servants”) that we picked for the title sounds kind of glamorous: “Teenage angst has paid off well.” Kurt capitalized—big time—off of years of pent up anger, hard times, and frustration. He channeled it through his music, and kids related. It made him a star. He was one of the few human beings on the planet to truly shift culture.
But the second half of that quote is: “Now I’m bored and old.”
Kurt wasn’t old; he was 27. And he never got to see is the lasting impact he had. It’s heartbreaking. Kurt wasn’t just capitalizing on a generation of disillusioned slackers—he was speaking to every single young person who has ever wanted to say, “Fuck it,” and he was shaping the adults they’d become. As corporate greed festers, consumer mentality becomes even more hyperactive, and intolerance continues to plague humanity, his messages are as relevant as ever. But it’s starting to feel like we’ll never see another rockstar like Kurt Cobain.
I’m older than Kurt was when he died, but there are little pieces of him that live inside of me, and inside everyone who looked up to him. Getting old is hard. It’s easy to get bored and disillusioned, and to settle into a routine of mind-numbing monotony. But every now and then, you do something that matters, something that makes a difference, and it all seems worth it. Impacting other people’s lives makes everything feel more meaningful. Maybe it’s just one person. Maybe it’s a daughter or a son. Maybe it’s your city. Maybe it’s an entire generation.
I wish he would have experienced getting old and seeing the difference he made. I wish that it would have provided him some comfort. But then again, maybe this sense of comfort is what makes me, and most people, different from Kurt Cobain.
Kurt died at 27, and he’ll remain forever young in the minds of all the kids who grew up looking up to him. A lot of us are starting to feel old now, but we’ll always carry a little bit of Kurt Cobain with us, and hopefully that teenage angst won’t ever completely fade away.
Rest in peace, Kurt Cobain. You are deeply missed by people who didn’t even know who you were when you were alive. You won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Today is Kurt’s birthday; he would have turned 48. To celebrate, we asked a bunch of our favorite artists to cover a Nirvana song. The result is this album, Teenage Angst Has Paid Off Well. Thank you so much to all the artists who took part. Listen/download below.