NIRVANA- In the Court of King Kurt
Face, September, 1993
PAGE: 4 | back
"I know so many people like that," Kurt says, laughing at the cartoon's inane humour. "I grew up with people like that. Literally. To the tee. I mean, carbon copies. I've sat on couches with people like that and smoked pot with them while they critiqued television shows for hours and hours." If it was so unbearable, why subject yourself to it? "A lot of times, I put myself in those situations when I was buying marijuana. I had to be around people like that every once in a while while I was waiting for the marijuana to show. People like that are a majority in Aberdeen."
Kurt felt as though he had something special to offer the world. Encouraged by his mother to paint - he spent his childhood travelling between his mum and dad's after they got divorced - he decided to become a commercial artist, and won various awards before winning a scholarship to go to art school. "I knew I was better than anyone in my school but then I realised there were bigger schools, larger cities and people who were going to be a lot better than me. I lost interest. I quit school in the last month. I also didn't want to go to college in Texas or New York, it was too frightening for me. And I realised I liked music a lot more."
He dropped his abstract drawings, his "dreamland, stoner art" and soon after moved to nearby Olympia. The town had a few more things going for it than Aberdeen: a liberal college, a music scene centred around Calvin Johnson's K Records label and regular punk gigs. "Living there taught me a lot. It was great, a really nice place to live. Then, after about four years, I had grown tired of it. I became just as depressed as I was in Aberdeen. I'd used up everything it had to offer."
AS HE SAYS EARLIER, Kurt Cobain's wife and child keep him from teetering over the edge. But the self-destruct mechanism, the notorious heroin indulgences - how much has Kurt really changed in the year since Frances Bean was born? "It has completely changed my whole outlook on everything. I don't know..." He drifts off. His eyes well up. "It's nice to know that we can have the luxury of a nanny. It's great that she's never ignored. And she's learning to have relationships with people. " I point out that she's the antithesis of her parents, she's so trusting. Kurt laughs. "When we were young, Courtney and I were both very trusting and naive. But we learnt. " Would you have lost it somewhere along the way if you hadn't had a child? "No, because I started to heal my negative attitude when we got married. just fmding a marriage partner, a soulmate, I never expected it to happen. I wasn't nearly as self-destructive as has been sometimes reported. I was doing drugs for a while. But I knew that would get old as I'd done every other drug. Heroin was the last drug to tamper with. "
Kurt readily admits that he's had problems with heroin; he even refers to himself as a junkie. "It's a part of my life that I'm not too proud of. It's been going on for years. Then I slowly decided not to self-destruct. I wasn't familiar with what heroin does to people. I did it first in 185/186 in Aberdeen. I'd wanted to try it for ever. I wanted to be a junkie for a few months after 'Nevermind' and the tour. It was a really stupid idea. I didn't understand how evil it is, how hard it is to get off it. It's the most addictive thing I've ever tried. It's an ongoing dilemma. I still have problems with it. This year I've fucked up a few times. But I'm not addicted any more. I haven't had any drug dealings for a long time. I couldn't fool myself or anyone else that I won't do it again; I'll always be a junkie. I've had to excommunicate my drug-taking friends and focus on my family and my music."
Has experimenting with heroin made him feel more mortal? "That's a weird question. I don't know. I've never thought of that. I'm still not any more easily amused. I don't know. There are certain privileges that I can use, and I'm grateful for that. " Money or not, at the end of the day, do you still feel you can live forever? A long pause. Does he want a different question? "No. No, I like this question. But I don't know the answer." What about life after death? "Sure. I believe if you die you're completely happy and your soul somehow lives on and there's this positive energy. I'm not in any way afraid of death." When did you start to think like that? "0h, forever. For as long as I can remember." He clears his throat. "I'm afraid of dying now, I don't want to leave behind my wife and child, so I don't do things that would jeopardise my life. I try and do as little things as I can to jeopardise it. I don't want to die. I've been suicidal most of my life, I didn't really care if I lived or died, and there were plenty of times when I wanted to die, but I never had the nerve to actually try it. " Why did you want to die? "Because everything was hopeless and I thought I knew everything when I was young. "
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