Noel Gallagher and Kurt Cobain, on the surface, have little to nothing in common despite being two of the most iconic faces of music from the 1990s with Oasis being born out of a kickback at the age of grunge bands such as Nirvana. Despite the clear musical differences between the two characters, Gallagher holds a strong affinity with the late Cobain.
This is a change in attitude somewhat from the High Flying Birds man who previously labelled ‘Live Forever’ as the antidote to Nirvana, a suggestion that he didn’t find a kindred spirit in Cobain at the time. “At the time it was written in the middle of grunge and all that,” Gallagher said in 2013. “I remember Nirvana had a tune called ‘I Hate Myself and Want to Die’, and I was like ‘Well, I’m not fucking having that.’ As much as I fucking like him [Cobain] and all that shit, I’m not having that.
“I can’t have people like that coming over here, on smack, fucking saying that they hate themselves and they wanna die,” he added. “That’s fucking rubbish. Kids don’t need to be hearing that nonsense. Seems to me that there was a guy who had everything, and was miserable about it. And we had fuck-all, and I still thought that getting up in the morning was the greatest fuckin’ thing ever, ’cause you didn’t know where you’d end up at night. And we didn’t have a pot to piss in, but it was fucking great, man,” he recalled fondly.
Even though the two musicians had different outlooks on life and their music triggers different receptors in the brain, there was something about Cobain that Gallagher couldn’t help admiring, which he even mentions in his criticism of Nirvana. “I always had an affinity with him because he was left-handed, he had blue eyes, he was a Gemini and he was into The Beatles and that’s what I was so I was like fucking hell,” Noel passionately said to NME about the icon in 2017.
“Mark Coyle, who co-produced Definitely Maybe, at that time, he was also doing monitors for Teenage Fanclub when they went on their world tour with Nirvana,” Gallagher stated. “I said ‘what’s he like?’ and he said ‘you’d fucking love him, he’s great. He’s crazy as fuck but he’s great’. Then I remember signing for Creation and meeting Teenage Fanclub and them saying he’s a really fucking cool guy.
“I’m gutted that he died before I met him, I’d have loved to have shot the fucking shit with him. All the great albums like Nevermind The Bollocks, Nevermind and The La’s, they just get greater with time. They start off being the album of the year and then they just never date. They never, never, never date,” the former Oasis man lovingly maintained.
“If you listen to Nevermind, it still sounds like the future of rock, the same for ‘Fools Gold‘ by The Stone Roses, somebody could record that tomorrow and it would still sound like the most contemporary piece of music ever. That’s why Definitely Maybe has never dated, it wasn’t by design all these things happen by accident,” Gallagher said after not being able to resist bringing the conversation back around to his own greatness.
Cobain’s death remains one of rock music’s greatest tragedies and, given that his career was still so young, who knows what the future could have held. The Gallagher’s were perhaps the British equivalent to Nirvana, on a cultural level rather than sonically, both giving the youth of their country a voice, making them feel a part of a movement and found themselves at the front of a subculture which changed thousands of lives for the better through the power of music.