The notoriously private daughter of Kurt Cobain is finally opening up about her famous father.
Frances Bean Cobain, the only child of the late Nirvana frontman and Courtney Love, talks about how her dad has impacted pop culture in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. As an executive producer HBO’s Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the 22-year-old, who interned for the music publication when she was 15, gives a gut-wrenching interview that touches base on her personal life, her father’s legacy and Kurt’s tragic suicide.
Here’s what you should take away from it.
1. Frances Bean isn’t a fan of Nirvana’s music.
She says, “I don’t really like Nirvana that much [grins]. Sorry, promotional people, Universal. I’m more into Mercury Rev, Oasis, Brian Jonestown Massacre [laughs]. The grunge scene is not what I’m interested in. But “Territorial Pissings” [on Nevermind] is a fucking great song. And “Dumb” [on In Utero] — I cry every time I hear that song. It’s a stripped-down version of Kurt’s perception of himself — of himself on drugs, off drugs, feeling inadequate to be titled the voice of a generation.”
2. Despite not being that into Nirvana, she still can’t distance herself from her father.
“I would have felt more awkward if I’d been a fan. I was around 15 when I realized he was inescapable. Even if I was in a car and had the radio on, there’s my dad. He’s larger than life. and our culture is obsessed with dead musicians. We love to put them on a pedestal. If Kurt had just been another guy who abandoned his family in the most awful way possible . . . But he wasn’t. He inspired people to put him on a pedestal, to become St. Kurt. He became even bigger after he died than he was when he was alive. You don’t think it could have gotten any bigger. But it did.”
3. She sat across from a poster of Kurt everyday while interning at Rolling Stone.
“Yeah,” she says, “looking at my dad every day.”
4. She does think about his suicide.
“Kurt got to the point where he eventually had to sacrifice every bit of who he was to his art, because the world demanded it of him,” she explains. “I think that was one of the main triggers as to why he felt he didn’t want to be here and everyone would be happier without him. In reality, if he had lived. I would have had a dad. And that would have been an incredible experience.”
5. Frances is a lot like her father.
She recalls finding out about their similarities while hanging out with the remaining members of Nirvana, saying, “It’s very weird how genes are. Dave [Grohl], Krist [Novoselic] and Pat [Smear] came over to a house where I was living. It was the first time [the ex-Nirvana members] had been together in a long time. And they had what I call the ‘K. C. Jeebies,’ which is when they see me, they see Kurt. They look at me, and you can see they’re looking at a ghost. They were all getting the K. C. Jeebies hardcore. Dave said, ‘She is so much like Kurt.’ They were all talking amongst themselves, rehashing old stories I’d heard a million times. I was sitting in a chair, chain-smoking, looking down like this [affects total boredom]. And they went, ‘You are doing exactly what your father would have done.'”
6. She hears Kurt often — within his music and her own voice.
“I’ve been hearing his voice forever, through his music,” she says. “His speaking voice is sort of similar to mine. It’s sort of a monotone. The depth to it is similar to the way I speak. I don’t know what the fuck that is. I wasn’t even talking when he was around.”
7. Frances thinks Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck is possibly the realest documentary about her father.
“It’s emotional journalism. It’s the closest thing to having Kurt tell his own story in his own words – by his own aesthetic, his own perception of the world. It paints a portrait of a man attempting to cope with being a human,” she explains. “When Brett [Morgen] and I first met, I was very specific about what I wanted to see, how I wanted Kurt to be represented. I told him, ‘I don’t want the mythology of Kurt or the romanticism.’ Even though Kurt died in the most horrific way possible, there is this mythology and romanticism that surrounds him, because he’s 27 forever. The shelf life of an artist or musician isn’t particularly long. Kurt has gotten to icon status because he will never age. He will always be that relevant in that time and always be beautiful.”