Michael Stipe Says Kurt Cobain Was Flying A Little Too Close To The Sun
R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe was interviewed by Ryan Dombal from Pitchfork. During the conversation, he gave an insight into some memorable moments from his life, including his childhood and family life. He also reflected on his relationship with Kurt Cobain and his suicide.
Accepted as one of the most talented musicians, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain saddened millions of fans with his death. It is a known fact that Cobain struggled with substance abuse and depression. Unfortunately, his situation didn’t improve in time, and considering his last years, many suspected he would make such an attempt.
Michael Stipe met Cobain in the early 1990s, and they were close friends until his death. In addition to their intimate friendship, they also supported each other as musicians. Stipe always showed his support for Cobain during his difficult times, and Stipe even offered to perform a duet to prevent him from committing suicide. Stipe previously stated in an interview that he did everything he could to improve Cobain’s mental health, but it was a futile attempt.
During the interview, Stipe expressed that their love for music created a strong bond between him and Cobain. Stipe stated that the artists are sort of outsiders, and art allows them to express themselves in a better way. However, the journey comes with a swift and hectic life, which is hard to handle. He thinks that the reputation and success Nirvana gained in a short time could be one of the reasons Cobain committed suicide.
Here is what Stipe said about Cobain:
“Peter had moved to Seattle and started a family, and Kurt and Courtney bought the house next door. So suddenly, we were spending a lot more time in Seattle. Kurt and I bonded over a love of music. We felt like contemporaries, although I had 10 years on him. We were doing what we did, and there was a lot of crossovers there.
People who are pushed toward the arts are sometimes flying a little too close to the sun. A lot of them are outsiders with a desire to express themselves or their position. And a big part of the job is that you find yourself on tour and performing in this adrenalized state that is sustained for, in my experience, a year and a half or two years at a time. When you’re moving at that velocity, stopping is a mighty, horrid crash. It’s devastating. And immense depression comes from that. Kurt was dealing with that.”
Stipe’s words show how he empathizes with Cobain and understands the tough times he went through. Even though it must have been rough for the musician to lose such a close friend, it seems like he found a way to overcome his pain and understand the amount of pressure Kurt Cobain was under.