A new book of collected interviews with Kurt Cobain, mostly drawn from magazines outside the U.S., skips some important material but is sure to interest die-hard fans.
“Cobain On Cobain”
Edited by Nick Soulsby
Chicago Review Press, $28.95
Ever since Nirvana found fame, the world has been fascinated with the story of Kurt Cobain. That’s resulted in a bookshelf of biographies (full disclosure: including my “Heavier Than Heaven”) and a slew of other books of reference material for the completist.
Nick Soulsby’s latest falls into the latter category, as “Cobain on Cobain” collects 70 interviews, mostly from overseas. Though the book lacks important interviews from Rolling Stone and The New York Times, die-hards will still want to read every word Cobain uttered, even to an Italian fanzine. Some of those words are memorable. Here are my 10 favorite quotes, in chronological order, followed by the date and publication in which they appeared.
On influences (September 1989; Rockerilla): “We are nothing other than a shadow of what was already there. Every time I write a riff, I can’t help but realize it is an imitation of some other piece, that it’s not original.”
On DJ culture (October 1990, Metal Hammer): “That’s the music of the future. There’s going to be DJs who do nothing but bring back new dance mixes of old hits. People will be considering them rock gods.”
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On Guns N’ Roses (February 1991, BigO): “I think Guns N’ Roses are promoting the wrong values, like sexism and the way they do drugs. I mean, what are they rebelling against? I don’t think this is rebellion. Rebellion is standing up to people like Guns N’ Roses.”
On fame (March 1991, Flipside): “When you’re in the public eye, you have no choice but to be raped over and over again — they’ll take every ounce of blood out of you until you’re exhausted.”
On the Sub Pop record label (March 1991, Offbeat): “We cut our hair and they dumped us … If they weren’t such scammers they’d be cool.”
On “Nevermind” (September 1991, Hype): “I wanted it to sound like a studio, like a Pretenders album or something like that. I wanted it to sound very tight.”
On Pearl Jam (September 1991, Monk): “I’m bowing down gracefully and taking off my crown and I’m giving it over to Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. He’s now the representative of the youth of America.”
On his band’s rising stardom (November 1991, TuttiFrutti): “I’m not aware of the music executives’ intentions, but we most probably will be coming back to play here at much bigger venues. That’s for sure, even though we do like the atmosphere of cozy little clubs.”
On the press (August 1993, RTL2): “There are no protection laws against false things that are written about celebrities. Libel suits are a complete farce. Basically, a libel suit is just a challenge between two people who have a lot of money, and you know whoever has the most money will win it.”
On the future (February 1994, Fender Frontline): “I don’t know how long we can continue as Nirvana without a radical shift in direction. I have lots of ideas and musical ambitions that have nothing to do with the mass conception of ‘grunge’ that has been force-fed to the record buying public.”
(Note: Kurt Cobain died in April 1994.)