Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were two figureheads of 1990s culture who came together as one when they married in 1992 but, somewhat surprisingly, the two only ever shared the stage in public on one occasion.
That occasion, which arrived on September 8th, 1993, saw Cobain make an appearance during Love’s acoustic set at Club Lingerie in Hollywood and he did so for a very important cause which was extremely close to the Nirvana frontman’s heart—which was an anti-rape benefit.
Cobain’s comments on rape were so ahead of their time and society had not treated the despicable act with the gravitas that it is thankfully met with today. That said, when the Nirvana leader was speaking out about when the topic was very much a taboo.
Sexual assault was the subject of Nirvana’s song ‘Rape Me’ from In Utero, a number which was Cobain’s attempt to write an anti-rape anthem. He explained the meaning behind the track to Spin: “It’s like she’s saying, ‘Rape me, go ahead, rape me, beat me. You’ll never kill me. I’ll survive this and I’m gonna fucking rape you one of these days and you won’t even know it’.”
A couple of years later, in a 1993 interview, Cobain delved deeper into where his passion about equality for women came from: “I couldn’t find any friends (at school), male friends that I felt compatible with, I ended up hanging out with the girls a lot. I just always felt that they weren’t treated with respect. Especially because women are totally oppressed.”
This was a bold stance to take back in the early nineties when musicians and politics were not as aligned as they are today, a topic which shows how ahead of his time Cobain was and how he was not just a trailblazer because of his music, but because of his refreshing attitude towards how society should function.
The Rock Against Rape Benefit at the intimate LA venue didn’t even include Love or Cobain on the line-up and it is unknown whether their special show-stealing appearance was pre-planned or on a whim but thank the lord it happened.
Love had performed the Hole songs ‘Doll Parts’ and ‘Miss World’ before she turned to the audience and jokingly then introduced Kurt as “my husband, Yoko“. Cobain then joined his wife for a glorious version of Nirvana’s ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ before they closed out the set with a beautiful performance of ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ — which oozed in chemistry.
Cobain was clearly going through difficulties with his mental health at this period in time but the moment he stepped on stage his problems seemed to momentarily disappear. Especially in a small venue like Club Lingerie where there weren’t tens of thousands of eyes glaring on him. Instead just he, his wife, two acoustic guitars and a building of like-minded individuals fighting for justice.
Check out the audio that thankfully exists of Love and Cobain sharing the stage, below.