In the lead up to the release of the new, authorised Kurt Cobain documentary Montage Of Heck, Cobain and Courtney Love’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain has opened up in a new interview about her father’s life, death and her complex relationship with his legacy.
As one of the documentary’s executive producers, the 22-year-old visual artist spoke candidly and thoughtfully with Rolling Stone about her father and the public’s relationship with him, giving insights into issues explored in the upcoming film and providing a glimpse at what it’s like to move through life being the daughter of a complicated cultural icon.
Below are some of the interview’s most intriguing and revealing moments.
Watch: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Trailer
Frances Bean is not actually a fan of Nirvana, but still has her favourite songs.
“I don’t really like Nirvana that much. Sorry, promotional people, Universal. I’m more into Mercury Rev, Oasis, Brian Jonestown Massacre. 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.”
Kurt Cobain was ambitious but struggled with fame.
“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 said. “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.”
“My dad was exceptionally ambitious. But he had a lot thrown on him, exceeding his ambition. He wanted his band to be successful. But he didn’t want to be the fucking voice of a generation.”
‘Montage of Heck’, she says, is the most factual representation of her father and his story made thus far.
“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.
“When Brett [Morgen – the film’s writer/director] 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.”
On why Kurt Cobain’s legacy lives on.
“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.”
She causes something called the “K. C. Jeebies” in Dave Grohl.
“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’.”
‘Montage Of Heck’ will premiere in Australia on May 7th, with a limited theatrical release.