Revisiting the magical interview with Kurt Cobain recorded just months before death
Just nine months before Kurt Cobain sadly took his own life, the Nirvana frontman gave a 23-minute interview with Erica Ehm of Canada’s Much Music TV channel. In it, he comes across as happy, joyful and considered—especially when he talks about his love of literature.
The first nugget that Cobain divulges in the interview is that he has read the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind around 10 times which he said makes him “want to cut my nose off” before explaining it was “because I’m a hypochondriac and it just affects me.”
According to Cobain, the premise of the novel is centred around “this perfume apprentice in France at the turn of the century and he’s just disgusted, basically, with all humans and he just can’t get away from humans, so he goes on this trek, this walk of death… he goes into the rural areas where there are woods all over the place and small villages… and he only travels by night… and every-time he smells a human, like a fire from a far off way, he’ll just get really disgusted and hide. He just tries to stay away from people… I can relate to that,” Cobain says while laughing.
He went on to reveal that the book went on to inspire the Nirvana song ‘Scentless Apprentice’ which Cobain said is the first and only time he’s ever used a pre-existing story such as a book for a song.
The Nirvana frontman touched on the theme of happiness and spoke about how the thrill of finding a “little treasure” in a second-hand store meant more to him than being able to buy whatever he wanted once he became rich. He explained further: “Cause you don’t know if you’re gonna be able to afford it, and you don’t know what you’re really looking for, and when you find it it’s more special to you. Rather than having a thousand dollars and going into a store like that and just buying the whole store, it’s not as special.”
In the years before his death, Cobain was on the receiving end of a lot of unwanted media attention about his personal life. As the interview moved on to how he deals with intrusion into his private life, he said: “I think we’re just easy scapegoats. It started with something and people just pick up on it and carry it along and we turn into cartoon characters… there’s nothing I can do about it, really, y’know?”
The interview also got quite personal when Cobain was probed on whether he was worried about bringing a child into a world with it being the way it is, to which he replied: “Oh yeah! Absolutely! I really can’t describe what changed our attitude so fast, I think I was… I really was a lot more negative and angry and everything else a few years ago, but that had a lot to do with not having a mate, not having a steady girlfriend, and stuff like that… that was one of the main things that was bothering me, that I wouldn’t admit at the time… so now that I’ve found that, the world seems a lot better for some reason!”
Kurt was later asked in the interview who were his influences were and if he was influenced by bands like The Replacements, to which he responded with: “I think my appreciation for REM and The Beatles and stuff like that had more to do with it, because I really wasn’t aware of Soul Asylum and The Replacements and those bands. I mean I knew about ’em and I actually saw them live and I just didn’t get it.”