Grunge Could Never Survive After Kurt Cobain’s Passing, Steve Lamacq Explains

During an interview with NME, Steve Lamacq shared his insights on grunge and speculated that the genre may not have been able to thrive after Kurt Cobain’s death. The radio DJ also discussed how Cobain played a role in the evolution and development of Britpop culture.

When asked about the impact of Kurt Cobain’s death on the evolution of Britpop culture, Lamacq discussed the state of grunge right after Cobain’s passing and its influence. He said:

“It’s massive, really. Without the talisman figure, grunge really struggled for direction. The fact that it all happened within days says a lot. It was days before we found out that Kurt Cobain had died in the UK [in April 1994], but that same night that he died by suicide was the same that Oasis played live for Radio One at Sound City and John Harris did his now legendary interview with them for NME.”

The DJ compared the years when Britpop gained popularity to those of grunge and mentioned the influence of the Nirvana frontman on it. He continued:

“So there were two things happening. One was that without Kurt Cobain, grunge became rudderless as no one could be a spokesperson, as no one else could be looked up to in the same way. At the same time, Britpop was ready to go. If you’d started the gestation period in March 1993, then you had a year to gather momentum.”

He added by naming a few Britpop bands and criticized one of them for their ‘terrible’ timed comeback:

“Elastica, Sleeper, Echobelly all had singles out that month and you had successful Mercury Prize nominations for bands like The Auteurs, and there was already enough there. Blur were about to make their comeback, coincidentally inspired by their terrible time in America and with something that was the complete antithesis of US culture.”

Lamacq finished by discussing how the timing of Cobain’s passing away had an impact on the development of Britpop:

“In that era, people really wanted pop music they could believe in, and here was something ready to go. Had Kurt Cobain died a year earlier, then I don’t think Britpop would have been ready to take that place – things would have happened very differently.”

Both genres have experienced highs and lows, and some consider the grunge movement to have ended with the passing of the Nirvana frontman, while Britpop emerged as a new movement. Despite many grunge bands carrying on with new or remaining members, Britpop appeared to be on the fall right until this year. Blur, Oasis, and Pulp have all announced their comeback to play shows.