Release date: November 22, 2022
kurt cobain remains one of the most fascinating and legendary figures in music. Critics and fans are still obsessed with figuring out who he really was and why his life was so short by separating his songs and dissecting his life. Many look to interviews to help piece together the pieces, but Cobain was known to be obtuse, elusive and fickle with reporters, leaving us wondering what was actually true. Yet, we can still learn something about Cobain from these rare moments. The final entry into Melville House’s Last interview book series highlights the elusive nature of Cobain and his evolution throughout Nirvana career.
Kurt Cobain: The Last Interview and Other Conversations not only features what is purported to be Cobain’s final interview, but it includes seven other interviews, three of which have not previously been published. While few of the interviews are groundbreaking on their own, the collection as a whole shows Cobain’s ever-changing nature on things like punk rock, being on a major label, his musical “rivals” and Moreover. And that’s where the book really shines.
It is well known how much Cobain has spoiled the truth in interviews. It’s no surprise that the man who claimed to have lived under Young Street Bridge in Aberdeen (although many claimed he didn’t) played the unreliable narrator in his interviews. We’re starting to see these inconsistencies in his early interviews beforeNot serious. Interviews from 1990 portray Cobain as someone who insists on his punk rock cred to the point of rejecting any major label interest (we know how that turned out).
Later interviews conducted in 1993 and 1994 give us insight into Cobain’s state of mind during this time. Whereas before he was cynical and dismissive of his grunge peers, here he is more relaxed and not interested in bashing them in the press. Rather than complaining about sportsmen and Normans who are now Nirvana fans, he came to terms with it. What is most interesting is the frequency with which he brings up his family in these interviews. He is very outspoken that he is happy with his wife Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean in his life. And just by reading his words, you can tell he’s in a better mood, which makes it particularly tragic how Cobain’s story would end a few months later.
As for the final interview itself, honestly, there’s nothing monumental about it. This is a casual chat with Chuck Crisafulli for Frontline Fender Charger. Spanning just four pages, Cobain reflects on his work with Nirvana, showing his pride in what the band has accomplished. Still, he remains ambivalent about the band’s future, unsure how long it will be able to continue. It ends with Cobain once again expressing the joys of being a family man and playing music. He even jokes about being the opening act of a revival tour for the Temptations and Four Tops once Nirvana is over. Although the line was said in jest (and highlights Cobain’s wicked sense of humor), it now seems sad that he never got that far.
Kurt Cobain: The Last Interview is a small collection of interviews that will interest old and new Nirvana fans alike. While he doesn’t drop any new bombshells on Cobain or Nirvana, he does show an interesting evolution from the leader of Nirvana’s initial lineup to post-Not serious fame and family life. It’s disappointing that no interview from the 1991-92 Nirvana summit is featured. This would have further highlighted Cobain’s inconsistencies and contradictions. And it would have further shown how Cobain changed his mind on certain subjects within a few years. But with the interviews presented, we can attempt to piece together who Cobain really was.
Kurt Cobain: The Last Interview and Other Conversations is out now.
Kurt Cobain: The Last Interview