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Posted on Mar 18, 2014 11:53 am
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."