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Proof Cobain Was Ahead of His Time: Read His Liner Notes

He instructed racists, homophobes, and sexists not to be Nirvana fans
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2019 9:33 AM CDT
This Dec. 13, 1993, file photo shows Kurt Cobain of Nirvana performing in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Robert Sorbo, File)

(Newser) – The last time Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg saw Kurt Cobain, the musician was "really stoned"—as might be expected at an intervention. Seven or eight people had gathered to plead with the Nirvana frontman to enter treatment for heroin addiction. Cobain was "not happy, and feeling invaded," but "I was in a hurry to get home, and I let an impatience and brittleness get into my tone," Goldberg tells Yahoo. "You just go over in your head: 'Is there something I could've done?'" But "I think this was a mental illness that nobody knew how to cure." A week later, after a make-up phone call with Goldberg, Cobain committed suicide on April 5, 1994. "I'll never get over it," says Goldberg, who just released the memoir, Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain. Here's how others are marking the 25th anniversary of Cobain's death:

  • Gay rights hero: At the Washington Post, Aaron Hamburger writes that Cobain's "'oh well, whatever, never mind' attitude about sexual identity … changed the course of my life." He lists examples, including one buried in the liner notes of the album Incesticide. “If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us—leave us the f--- alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.” Another on the In Utero album echoed the sentiment. Goldberg notes this came at a time when AIDS jokes and the term "fag" were common.
  • Ahead of his time: Cobain was "often way ahead of the music industry curve" when it came to cultural issues, per UDiscoverMusic.com. The site reports he promoted women in music, and also addressed toxic masculinity and sexual assault through his songs.
  • A wallflower: A woman tells CNN of seeing Cobain backstage at a show two weeks after the release of 1991's Nevermind. She left "mesmerized" but sure Cobain "wasn't comfortable as the center of attention."
  • The basics: More on Cobain is available via the New York Times, which compiles books, journal articles, and videos offering a "deeper" look at Cobain's story.
(Read more Kurt Cobain stories.)

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