5 Things You Didn't Know About Kurt Cobain

American rock icon Kurt Cobain was a defining voice of the music of the 1990s. On April 5, 1994, Cobain died by suicide at his home and was found three days later. Here are five fascinating facts you didn’t know about Kurt Cobain...

ADVERTISEMENT

Two of His Uncles Committed Suicide Kurt’s cousin Beverly confirmed that there is a history of mental illness in the family, and that two of Kurt’s uncles had ended their lives with guns. She suspected that bipolar disorder may have contributed to Kurt’s decision to commit suicide. Kurt was always very open about his own mood swings, and while the highs and lows of a stressful lifestyle and the toll of addiction played a role, his predisposition to depression may have also been a factor.

Kurt Cobain Had a Lifelong Imaginary Friend Like many children, Kurt Cobain had an imaginary friend as a child. This imaginary friend, whom he named Boddah, remained part of his life until the very end. It was actually Boddah to whom he addressed his suicide note. Boddah had been a comfort to Cobain during times when Cobain dealt with depression and frustration. A French novel, Le Roman de Boddah, is written from the imaginary friend’s point of view.

ADVERTISEMENT

He Used to Work as a Janitor at the High School He Dropped Out Of One of the key images from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video is that of a dancing janitor, who is the last figure shown in the video, cleaning up the mess of the mock concert. This was no random image because before becoming known worldwide, Cobain worked as a janitor at an Aberdeen, Washington high school. And it just happened to be the very high school that Cobain attended before dropping out. 

He Wanted to Name Nirvana’s Final Album “I Hate Myself And Want To Die” When asked how he was doing, Kurt often joked “I Hate Myself And Want To Die.” It was in line with his sarcastic sense of humor, and after his own mental state came into question, he used this as a sort of defense mechanism to make the matter one that wouldn’t be taken so seriously. He wanted to name the band’s 1993 album I Hate Myself And I Want To Die, but bassist Krist Novoselic convinced him that it was a bad idea. They settled on In Utero.

An Early Nirvana Gig Was Booked by the Medical Examiner Who Ruled on His Death. Dr. Nikolas “Nik” Hartshorne, a medical doctor, was also a punk promoter. Hartshorne, who had been friends with Kurt Cobain’s wife Courtney Love since the 1980s, was the person responsible for booking an early Nirvana gig at the Central Tavern in Seattle. In an interesting coincidence, Hartshorne was also the medical examiner who was called upon after Kurt Cobain’s death. Hartshorne was also an avid B.A.S.E jumper and died in a jumping accident in 2002.