Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain
Charles R. Cross
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In Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain, Charles R. Cross, author of the New York Times bestselling Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven, examines the legacy of the Nirvana front man and takes on the question: why does Kurt Cobain still matter so much, 20 years after his death?
Kurt Cobain is the icon born of the 90s, a man whose legacy continues to influence pop culture and music. Cross explores the impact Cobain has had on music, fashion, film, and culture, and attempts to explain his lasting and looming legacy.
the image of Kurt in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video clip, with hair in his face and a striped T-shirt on, had been the indelible vision of 1991 on MTV, 1992 looked like a rocker in cutoff jean shorts, a flannel shirt, and a pair of Doc Martens. This is exactly the outfit that actor Matt Dillon wears in Cameron Crowe’s movie Singles, which came out in 1992. The film was a worldwide success, spawned a hit soundtrack album, and forever wedded Seattle to Grunge. Singles detailed the lives of a
teenage girls. It was only after the song was recorded, and on its way to being a monster hit, that he found this out. He was astounded that he’d written a song—one that would go on to become Nirvana’s anthem, his own signature piece—without knowing that the title referred to a product. When the song became a hit, sales of Teen Spirit deodorant skyrocketed. The brand, produced by Mennen, added new fragrances to capitalize on the attention. The year after Nevermind was released, Colgate-Palmolive
essentially kicked out of every four-star hotel in Seattle. They rented a house in northeast Seattle for the next year, which was to be their most permanent Seattle domicile. It wasn’t until January 1994 that they bought their mansion in the Denny-Blaine neighborhood of Seattle. It was the first home Kurt ever owned, and it would be the last: he would die in the greenhouse-type room above the garage just three months after purchasing the house. Seattle was in many ways ideally suited to Kurt’s
headline, ten times bigger than the band names, that read FROM SEATTLE. It seemed absurd to me that three unknown bands could tour the Midwest as long as they made their home address bigger on a poster than their names. In early 1992, even Kurt Cobain couldn’t legitimately put “From Seattle” on a Nirvana poster, but in the public’s mind that little detail hardly mattered. He was “Seattle’s Kurt Cobain” already, and would remain so. FIVE HAPPENS EVERY DAY Addiction & Suicide Kurt
trying to figure out his ailments. Kurt wrote in his journal once that he wanted his own disease named after him. In a way, that’s come true. But sometimes even thinking about Kurt’s medical problems makes me feel melancholy, simply because there’s a sadness in armchair quarterbacking a life that has already been lost. I’m nearly certain that if Kurt had been treated with a medical “whole body” approach—with all his issues tackled by a talented team—his drug addiction may have been easier to