Kurt Cobain Played Mosrite Guitars

Kurt Cobain

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Kurt Donald Cobain was best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana.

Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene, having its debut album Bleach released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989. After signing with major label DGC Records, the band found breakthrough success with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from its second album Nevermind (1991). Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled "the flagship band" of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as "the spokesman of a generation". Cobain however was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to media attention. He challenged Nirvana's audience with its final studio album In Utero (1993).

During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression, his fame and public image, as well as the professional and lifelong personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love. On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The circumstances of his death have become a topic of public fascination and debate. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, has sold over 25 million albums in the US alone, and over 50 million worldwide.

Dave Grohl stated that Cobain believed "Music comes first, lyrics come second".[citation needed] Cobain focused, foremost, on the melodies of his songs. Cobain complained when fans and rock journalists attempted to decipher his singing and extract meaning from his lyrics, writing "Why in the hell do journalists insist on coming up with a second-rate Freudian evaluation of my lyrics, when 90 percent of the time they've transcribed them incorrectly?" While Cobain would insist of the subjectivity and unimportance of his lyrics, he was known to labor and procrastinate in writing them, often changing the content and order of lyrics during performances. Cobain would describe his lyrics himself as "a big pile of contradictions. They're split down the middle between very sincere opinions that I have and sarcastic opinions and feelings that I have and sarcastic and hopeful, humorous rebuttals toward cliché bohemian ideals that have been exhausted for years."

Cobain originally wanted Nevermind to be divided into two sides: a "Boy" side, for the songs written about the experiences of his early life and childhood, and a "Girl" side, for the songs written about his dysfunctional relationship with Tobi Vail. Charles R. Cross would write "In the four months following their break-up, Kurt would write a half dozen of his most memorable songs, all of them about Tobi Vail". Though "Lithium" had been written before Cobain knew Vail, the lyrics of the song were changed to reference her. Cobain would say in an interview with Musician that "some of my very personal experiences, like breaking up with girlfriends and having bad relationships, feeling that death void that the person in the song is feeling. Very lonely, sick." While Cobain would regard In Utero "for the most part very impersonal", on the album he dealt with the childhood divorce of his parents, his newfound fame and the public image and perception of himself and Courtney Love on "Serve the Servants", with his enamored relationship with Love conveyed through lyrical themes of pregnancy and the female anatomy on "Heart-Shaped Box". Cobain wrote "Rape Me" not only as an objective discussion of rape, but a metaphorical protest against his treatment by the media. He wrote about fame, drug addiction and abortion on "Pennyroyal Tea", as well as women's rights and the life of Seattle-born Frances Farmer on "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle".

Cobain was affected enough to write the song "Polly" from Nevermind, after reading a newspaper story of an incident in 1987, where a young girl was kidnapped after attending a punk rock show, then raped and tortured with a blowtorch. She managed to escape after gaining the trust of her captor through flirting with him. After seeing Nirvana perform, Bob Dylan would cite "Polly" as the best of Nirvana's songs, and was quoted as saying about Cobain, "the kid has heart". Patrick Süskind, whose novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer inspired Cobain to write the song "Scentless Apprentice" from In Utero. The book is an historical horror novel about a perfumer's apprentice born with no body odor of his own but with a highly developed sense of smell, and who attempts to create the "ultimate perfume" by killing virginal women and taking their scent.

Cobain immersed himself in artistic projects throughout his life, as much so as he did in songwriting. The sentiments of his art work followed the same subjects of his lyrics, often expressed through a dark and macabre sense of humor. Noted was his fascination with physiology, his own rare medical conditions, and the human anatomy. Often unable to afford artistic resources, Cobain would improvise with materials, painting on board games and album sleeves, and painting with an array of substances, including his own bodily fluids. The artwork seen in his Journals would later draw acclaim as being of a high artistic standard. Many of Cobain's paintings, collages, and sculptures would appear in the artwork of Nirvana's albums. His artistic concepts would feature notably in Nirvana's music videos; the production and direction of which were acrimonious due to the artistic perfectionism of his visions.

Cobain would contribute backing guitar for a spoken word recording of beat poet William S. Burroughs' entitled "the "Priest" they called him". Cobain regarded Burroughs as a hero. During Nirvana's European tour Cobain kept a copy of Burroughs' Naked Lunch, purchased in a London bookstall. Ana Finel-Honigman, in her introduction to an interview with the artist Stella Vine on the Saatchi Gallery website, described Vine's art as bitterly honest in the same way Cobain's songs were; "acid outrage over adult lies and injustice", Holden Caulfield's observations about "a world filled with phonies", and Sylvia Plath's poetry an "over-heated anger and bitterness at the world's betrayals".

Cobain has been remembered as one of the most iconic rock musicians in the history of alternative music. He was ranked by Rolling Stone as the 12th greatest guitarist and 45th greatest singer of all time, and by MTV as 7th in the "22 Greatest Voices in Music". In 2006, he was placed at number twenty by Hit Parader on their list of the "100 Greatest Metal Singers of All Time". Reflecting on Cobain's death over ten years later, MSNBC's Eric Olsen wrote, "In the intervening decade, Cobain, a small, frail but handsome man in life, has become an abstract Generation X icon, viewed by many as the 'last real rock star' a messiah and martyr whose every utterance has been plundered and parsed".

In 2005, a sign was put up in Aberdeen, Washington, that read "Welcome to Aberdeen – Come As You Are" as a tribute to Cobain. The sign was paid for and created by the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee, a non-profit organization created in May 2004 to honour Cobain. The Committee planned to create a Kurt Cobain Memorial Park and a youth center in Aberdeen. Because Cobain was cremated and his remains scattered into the Wishkah River in Washington, many Nirvana fans visit Viretta Park, near Cobain's former Lake Washington home, to pay tribute. On the anniversary of his death, fans gather in the park to celebrate his life and memory.

In 2006, Cobain took the place of Elvis Presley as the top-earning deceased celebrity, after the sale of the Nirvana song catalogue. Presley reclaimed the spot in 2007.

Controversy erupted in July 2009 when a monument to Cobain in Aberdeen along the Wishkah River included the quote "...Drugs are bad for you. They will fuck you up." The city ultimately decided to sandblast the monument to replace the expletive with "f---", but fans immediately drew the letters back in. The monument and bridge have become popular places for fans to leave tributes.

Gus Van Sant loosely based his 2005 movie Last Days on the events in the final days of Cobain's life. In January 2007, Courtney Love began to shop the biography Heavier Than Heaven to various movie studios in Hollywood to turn the book into an A-list feature film about Cobain and Nirvana. The video game Guitar Hero 5 features Cobain as a playable character.[100] However, the inclusion of Cobain incensed surviving bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl and wife Courtney Love, expressing their dismay at the ability to use Cobain with any song.

 

 


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