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  • What Would Kurt Cobain Be Up To In 2012?
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Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was not built to last. If someone had somehow prevented his suicide, which happened 18 years ago today, it’s still hard to imagine any scenario in which he’d still be alive today. He’d already tried suicide once. With his addictions, his depression, his stomach problems, and his general inability to deal with his own sudden fame, it seems likely that he would’ve tried it again, or let something else take his life. Cobain was never a Keith Richards type; he never took any visible joy in his own excesses. And with everything we know about him today, it’s possible to read just about every Nirvana song as a cry for help, or a signal that he didn’t much care for sticking around. But with the news that Will Fetters, the screenwriter for Clint Eastwood’s forthcoming A Star Is Born remake (which may star Tom Cruise), is reinventing the role and making it about an aging Cobain-type figure, the question comes up: If Kurt Cobain had somehow figured out a way to survive until 2012, what would his life look like? Courtney Love has some thoughts on the subject.

In Spin, Mark Yarm, writer of the recent grunge oral history Everybody Loves Our Town, writes that Love gave some unsolicited images of a 45-year-old Cobain in their interviews together: “We’d probably live on the Upper West fuckin’ Side now and have three fuckin’ kids. We might even have a divorce, like both be on our third marriage. I don’t fuckin’ know. He might be a playwright, [or have] his latest show in MoMA… I’d have a 16-year-old son and be his model wife. Given the money that is involved here, we could probably have had a fuckin’ yacht. We could have gone open marriage at some point. I don’t fuckin’ know.”

Courtney Love, of course, is not the most reliable source for anything at this point. Still, that image (other than the “model” part) seems as likely as anything else. What do you think the current-day Cobain would be doing? Let us know in the comments section.

Comments (121)
  1. hipster haten

    • ya id be with him fuck hipsters

    • agreed hipsters have created many awful bands and music for the last 10 years.

    • Well that’s an idiotic comment. Kurt always hated the idea that macho ‘yuppies’ were listening to his music, and spent his time hanging around bands like Mudhoney and Sonic Youth. Like it or not he was a model hipster and In Utero is an album indie kids swear by.

      Whether he still would be one now is anyone’s guess, but I think asking what Kurt Cobain would be like if he was alive is a bit pointless. It’s hard to imagine a situation where he wouldn’t have killed himself, either deliberately or because of a heroin overdose. He wasn’t a happy man, and the real world didn’t really like him, end of.

    • Dear lord, hipsters are a pain in the ass, yet funny to laugh at. I can’t wait until next month when I go to Brooklyn. If it is true that laughter makes one healthy, I will live forever!

  2. He’d probably have a reality show, Rock of Courtney Love.

  3. He’d be working with Kanye West

  4. He’d probably take one look around him at things like Beyoncé’s Tumblr and his friends’ Facebook News Feeds and kill himself.

    #HEELTURN

  5. Soup R Crackers franchisee

  6. He’d be considered washed up in 2012, and everyone would have some sort of smug comments towards any type of new material he’d put out, if he hadn’t already become a complete shut-in. Thats how we treat most of our aging rock stars, at least.

  7. “What Would Kurt Cobain Be Up To In 2012?” is just a polite way of asking “How good would the world be if the Foo Fighters never existed?”

  8. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  9. I just saw a picture of Billy Crystal, old, puffy, facelifted, caked with makeup, and smiling like a robot for he camera.

    He’d look like that.

  10. Judge on The Voice?

  11. If Kurt was alive, he’d kill himself.

    • I might agree with that, maybe.

    • No, but he would be much happier and so his music wouldn’t be as angst ridden….and when your music is less angst ridden, everyone hates on your music; and when everyone hates on your music, you end up shaving your head like Billy Corgan; and when you end up shaving your head like Billy Corgan, you give your music away one song at a time on some obscure website. Don’t be like Billy Corgan. Stay dead Kurt. RIP.
      P.S. Nice ink.

  12. He would be working on an album with Sonic Youth, Headlining Coachella with that Nirvana Reunion, and dating Alison Mosshart.

  13. He was always saying that he wanted his future music to go in the direction of having more piano and acoustic guitar. He compared the direction to a Johnny Cash feel. I bet his music would be more in the direction of Unplugged

  14. Angry Birds

  15. I think even if he weren’t musically active, he would have his own record label. He did a Hell of a lot to bring attention to great underground music in his short life.

  16. LoL @ early 90s jeans, loose in the crotchal region.

  17. Heroin?

  18. Why does anyone ever ask Courtney Love anything?

    • Because the world decided long ago that if you want to hear idiots talk, you merely have to turn on Fox news–which you can just as easily turn off again.

  19. I imagine Nirvana may have released one or two more good albums before breaking up. Afterwards, Kurt would have tried to escape the public eye for the most part, maybe releasing the occasional solo album and making occasional public appearances at music industry events and whatnot. I can’t imagine he would have stayed married to Courtney much longer.

  20. (Courtney) Love gave some unsolicited images of a 45-year-old Cobain in their interviews together: “…and be his model wife.”

  21. Scoring David Fincher films?

  22. All I know for sure is that this comment section is a hell of a lot more interesting than that lame article Chuck Klostermann wrote for Spin a few years ago.

  23. A few months ago i did a comic on this subject for a local paper. It went like this:
    In an Alternate universe Courtney love killed herself in 1994(instead of Kurt)- as of 2012: EVERYONE loves Hole, wears their T shirts, has posters of Courtney on their wall and considers Hole one of the greatest bands of all time…Kurt put out some underrated yet commercially successful albums, shows up at red carpets and on tv appearances fucked up on drugs or drunk and is treated like a joke or cautionary tale. People make fun of him claim he killed Courtney and pretend they never liked Nirvana.

    • That sounds fucking cool man. Id love to see it

    • I just don’t know what to say. That is very creative…. I wouldn’t wish that on Kurt….I have to admit though I have wondered if Courtney died instead of Kurt, how he would have raised Frances Bean. I absolutely LOVE Kurt, but I wonder if he was the only parent to her if he would have straightened up his drug use and maybe hired someone to wash a dish or two!

      • I wouldn’t wish that on either of them. I love them both. I am honestly- a bigger fan of Courtney as a person than I Kurt as a person. I’m a really love Hole. I really love Courtney. Obviously I wouldn’t want her to kill herself ever ever ever ever.

        I do not like Kurt martyrdom very much… singularly I hate when people villainize Courtney.

        The whole idea was to reverse the roles that the two have played as pop culture subjects in the past decade plus

  24. He would spend all his time commenting on Stereogum, calling the Foo Fighters “malicious gay faggots” and receiving the second worst comment of the week

  25. Not much, I’d say. The occasional public appearance to confuse people, and that’s it.

  26. He’d settle his differences with Katy Perry inside Hell in a Cell, I’m sure.

  27. can’t for one second picture him today…sooo out of place. Since rock is dead…he would have probably retired after the 90′s and would probably be the worlds coolest dad

    • he be like “ya…i will drive you little shits to soccer practice…but then im gonna smoke weed by myself and then pretend to interact with the other parents”

  28. He would be wearing a shirt with this on it:

  29. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Just because you had a great week last week, it doesn’t mean you can just coast this week. Step up your game, you lazy son of a bitch. You’re gonna need one hell of a funny picture to make up for this. Or a way more thoughtful unpopular comment.

  30. He’d be so fucking pissed off about Nickleback. Possibly Twitter warring with them.

  31. For some reason, Cobain reminded me a lot of Andy Kaufman. I’m pretty sure if good ‘ole Kurt was still around, he’d be making appearances as alter egos and starting feuds with his own other selves, one of which being an elaborate trick in which one of his alter egos stole Courtney, voiding her rights to his fortune via the prenup. Good ‘ole Kurt.

    And no offense to Marilyn Manson, but isn’t it a shame that Marilyn Manson has been fucking all the chicks that Kurt Cobain should have been fucking if he were still around? Somehow I just can’t bring myself to live vicariously through Marilyn Manson.

    • Interesting comparison between Kaufman and Cobain. Makes you think whether it was coincidence or not that Love was cast as Kaufman’s wife in Man on the Moon.

  32. I’d imagine he’d go a similar route as Billy Corgan. He’d become kind of a has-been and an easy target for jokes but he’d still be touring with a five-piece backing band called Nirvana of which he is the only original member. The band would feature the now grown-up naked baby from the Nevermind cover on bass.

  33. Nirvana breaks up. Hole continues to record music suspiciously similar in sound. Hole breaks up. Kurt & Courtney release a duets album of sunny ’70s AM pop under the moniker Him & She. Courtney continues to fuck Billy Corgan. Divorce. Cobain loses relevancy until his solo folk albums are seen as an inspiration to burgeoning indie folk scene after being referenced in an non-ironic context by Fleet Foxes. Cobain reunites with Nirvana to headline Coachella. Hole reunites to headline LA-area VFW hall.

  34. He’d be on VH1 list shows talking about how much he likes Anthrax.
    Also pooping, he’d be pooping daily.

  35. Wow what a belittling little article about the fact that Kurt tragically committed suicide. Makes me almost glad he did considering how douchey this article was written. A tremendous lack of respect for someone who was clearly gifted but yet not “built to last”. That’s on the whole really insensitive. Also the quote of Courtney is TERRIBLE. It actually makes it all the more worse. Thanks for your “insight”, douchebag!

  36. Would there even be a Stereogum without this man? Maybe, but it would probably suck.

  37. Jack Bauer never poops, so why should Kurdt?

    Honestly, I can’t imagine that Nirvana would’ve lasted much longer: 2 more albums, tops. I like to think pop music would be be different, but I’m not sure how. “You Know You’re Right” sounded way better than anything on commercial rock radio when it was released, but I don’t know what that means. He probably would have been in a few movies by now, maybe even collaborating with Radiohea– *faints*

  38. I like it…….he and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood would have just completed a collaboration project that would eventually be compared with Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon……

  39. He’d be Ariel Pink, for sure.

    • Exactly! Ever since Before Today came out I’ve been saying that if Kurt were alive today he’d be Ariel Pink. They both have the exact same influences and personality, plus they look the same.

  40. FUCK THIS SHIT OF STEREOGUM

  41. He’d be forming an acoustic supergroup with J Mascis and Thurston Moore.

  42. This reminds me I saw th Melvins play in Philly that night 18 years ago. This is probably a pretty idea of what he’d be doing.
    http://pabsttheater.org/show/melvins2012

  43. Being a total bitch.

  44. he’d be washed up and fucking Patty Berglund.

  45. I’d like to think he’d follow the lead of Paul Westerberg.

  46. Divorce Courtney for sure. Nirvana would’ve broken up in 1998. Since then, Kurt released 4 solo records, been to rehab 6 times and opened a second hand clothing store in Olympia.

  47. am i the only one who clicked on this post thinking it was about thor from the avengers?

    • Sadly, you are. The actor who play Thor has vivacious eyes that hunger for life cause he’s vacuously attractive and talentless, fitting perfectly into his Hollywood environs. Kurt has dead eyes that reflect the reality that someone who see’s the world like he saw the world can’t last. More so now than ever. Just look into the eyes and you’ll never make that mistake again.

  48. Playing Pixies covers at a dive bar.

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