Kurt Cobain Was the Last Rock Star, Frontman's Biographer Explains

Biographer also stresses that Courtney Love isn't to blame for Kurt's suicide.

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Kurt Cobain biography author Charles R. Cross reflected on Nirvana frontman's cultural impact in his latest book "Here We Are Now," dubbing Cobain the very last true rock star so far.

Chatting with USA Today, Cross singled out several points to back up his stance, kicking off with the fact that Nirvana's music extended beyond the rock realm and into the hip-hop domain. "Jay Z's 'Holy Grail' borrows lyrics from 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.' So Kurt was nominated for best rap song [at the Grammy Awards] in 2014," he explained.

Kurt's impact on fashion comes up next, with Charles pointing out that "if you Google 'grunge' on the Nordstrom website, you'll find [dozens of] clothing items. That they're high-end items is ironic because he dressed like that out of economy and laziness."

Perhaps more importantly, Cobain helped reshape Seattle's cultural image, but was still quite humble about it. "Grunge is now part of Seattle's cultural identity," Cross added, also stressing that after the frontman's death, labels and managers offered much greater support to artists struggling with addiction.

Speaking of Kurt's death, Charles pointed out that Courtney Love isn't to blame, as "suicide, addiction and depression" simply ran in the frontman's family. "He made suicide attempts long before Courtney even came into the picture," he said. "There were also the reckless drug overdoses, of which there were many; they show a reckless disregard for living. Maybe Kurt never had a chance."

The biographer also noted that Kurt chose to be a heroin addict and had suffered from chronic stomach pain throughout his life. "In his diary, he said he made a decision to become a heroin addict, partly because it was effective in cutting off his physical pain," Cross added, also noting that interestingly enough, the number of suicides in Seattle had declined a year after the frontman's death.

Finally, the biographer concluded that Kurt was indeed the last rock star. "He was the last star to have touched an entire mainstream generation," he said. "The songs were his voice. Cobain's charisma, genius and music were all really about him. We haven't seen one that spanned everything, so he's the last in 20 years. I hope there will be another, though."

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This being the same biography author who took the liberty of writing his own fictionalised account of Kurt's final hours, despite no-one properly knowing exactly what happened, in a non-fiction book. Yeah, I'll definitely take his word for it
    I like Cross' books on Cobain but I usually take much of what he says with a pinch of salt as he holds a very obvious bias in his writing. The fact that his book 'Heavier Than Heaven' relies on Love recounting her side of the story while he failed to even interview Grohl or Cobain's mother says it all.
    So there hasn't been a rock star since 1993? Are you kidding me? What a shame people have to read crap like this.
    You misunderstand - Of course there have been a great deal prominent rock-figures and stars since then, but none to the same extent Cobain became. We are talking about common household names, peoples names whom a vast majority have heard of, even if they have never heard their music before, or even the band they played in (presuming they weren't solo artists). If you go out on the street of NYC you would find that most people, teens, adults, elderly have heard the name Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, David Bowie, Ozzy Osbourne, Freddie Mercury, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain before. However, if you say names like Jack White, Thom Yorke, Josh Homme, Damon Albarn, Serj Tankian, Alex Turner, Maynard J. Keenan, or Matthew Bellamy you probably would find a lot of people would go "huh?". I can only imagine the first three artist would perhaps garner a larger response because of their massive exposure, yet it can be argued that they haven't really reached the level of general awareness of the "legendary" rockstars - Of course it's important to stress that this is a subjective case - In many cases it depends on what you've been exposed to, but when regarding western media which millions, probably billions are subjected to on a daily basis, you've probably stumbled upon the name Kurt Cobain a dozen times, if not more before you hear the name Jack White. TL;DR Yes, there have been rock stars since then, but not to the same extent of general awareness Cobain reached.
    I like Kurt and Nirvana's music,but to say he is the last rock star is a spit many other great artist that came after him. I think it's really ignorant when people say these kinds of things.
    There hasn't been a musician with as wide an influence as Cobain. I'll concede that the biographer is a tool, but at least he has a point here.
    I guess you could call him a "chisel"... ..."Tool with a point"? ...I'll go now...
    Kurt and Nirvana made good music but c'mon. There were/are tons of other great bands and frontmen. Get over yourselves.
    I really just don't care about Cobain anymore. He made his music, it sucks that he's dead, but why do we keep getting so much news about him? It's not like anything NEW is really happening. Courtney says this. Dave says this. Let's move on.
    In terms of charisma there's been others since. In terms of doing crazy stuff there's been others since. In terms of being a knob there's been others since. I like Nirvana and Kurt Cobain but damn people suck their proverbial dick way to much
    I guess it depends on what "rock star" is defined as. There have certainly been popular and charismatic frontmen since Cobain, but in terms of a single person influencing music and really the world, no one has come close since Cobain. As far as I'm concerned, guys like John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, maybe mid-60s Bob Dylan are in their own category that very few (if any other than those 3) are a part of.
    I actually agree. I haven't really seen a face of rock music as high up as Kobain. The genre since then has been more leveled out without one figurehead. Keep in mind there's not really an inherent problem with there not being a rock star.