NIRVANA- In the Court of King Kurt
Face, September, 1993
PAGE: 5 | back

"Everyone kept telling us: 'You guys really ruffled the streets of the music industry.' I found it hard to believe 'cause, you know, how could three fucking losers from the nowheresville make a dent in rock'n'roll"
DAVE in funny suit Dave Grohl,
Nirvana's drummer boy-next-door type playing at being a jungle cowboy. The youngest member of the Seattle-based band, he's simply having a blast

You can't help feeling that no matter how rich or successful he is, no matter how much he loves and is loved by Courtney and Frances Bean, that Kurt Cobain will never find an inner peace. Especially while he's a rock star. He will always be leaning on the self-destruct button in a way that's become almost masochistic. Like he's been on the edge for so long that he's addicted to hatred, misery and frustration. But then if he woke up happy and in control one day, he'd lose his touch of genius.

KURT COBAIN LIKES PLAYING the flippant rock star. He calls "Nevermind" a fluke and doubts "In Utero" will sell as well unless Geffen gives it the same push. He claims that he never wanted to be famous in the first place. "I don't give a fuck. So to put out music now is even easier 'cause I'm not worried about it. I don't think I was ever worried about reviews, except for in [indie rock 'zine] Flipper. I'm so glad to put out this album now - it's totally, exactly what we wanted to do. At least a handful of people will accept it and we'll still be able to tour, even if we have to go back to clubs. "

Why so defensive? Being signed to a major label is at odds with his "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" punk ethic. He likes selling records and making money, but he won't conform. And all the pre-release speculation about "In Utero" didn't help. When their Geffen A&R heard the Steve Albini mixes, Kurt says, he thought it sounded terrible, he couldn't listen to it, he didn't like the songwriting. In short, he didn't think there was much going for it. Kurt wanted to work with Albini because of his work with The Pixies and The Breeders but now has few good words for him. They remixed two songs with REM producer Scott Litt and managed to "cure" the other tracks. The bad vibes may not have stopped the band from believing in the product, but they have been made to wonder if their importance in the music world will continue to be reflected by record sales.

Sub Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman told Jeff Giles in the Newsweek article: "Nirvana ushered in a cultural revolution and made the Geffen company millions. If they want to make an album of hand claps, they have earned the right. " But Kurt, for all his defiance, admits that's he's beyond spiting everyone for making him famous. "I'm really glad we didn't put out a purposefully bad record. I would've done it for sure a year ago, but now I've learned to ignore everything, all that celebrity thing."

I TELL KURT THAT I was wandering around his hotel lobby for the past few days singing one of the tracks on "In Utero" before really realising what I was doing. "Rape Me" opens with the same chords as "Teen Spirit" and could be taken as a response to the immediate fame which the single brought. Kurt says it's not. "I was so tired of talking about sexism in interviews. I realised that I'm not making a big enough impact. There are still macho meatheads in our audience. I dunno... if you want to say something, it has to be so direct and obvious that in a way it's a mockery. That's why I wrote an anti-rape song called 'Rape Me'. It's not poking fun at rape in any way, it's poking fun at the way those issues have to be so obvious; to really succeed, you have to have simple facts on pieces of paper, you have to hand them out to each person who walks into your show."

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