Why Kurt Cobain Never Wanted To Be Frontman In Nirvana Or Any Band?

For many rock and roll lovers, late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is considered to be one of the most influential musicians in the history of rock music. Despite having a short-lived music career, Cobain managed to create a one-of-a-kind legacy, especially with his lyrics that have a wide range of themes such as personal reflection and social issues.

There’s no doubt that Kurt Cobain today is remembered as one of the most iconic rock musicians in the history of alternative music in addition to still being regarded as one of the greatest frontmen that have ever lived. His capturing and influential songwriting skills gave birth to a number of monumental Nirvana tracks such as ‘Come as You Are,’ ‘Heart-Shaped Box,’ and last but not least, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’

After the sudden success of Nirnava thanks to their cultural phenomenon second studio album ‘Nevermind,’ the late Nirvana frontman had to deal with the spotlight that was brightly shining on him. Although he was praised as the greatest lead singer of his generation, Kurt Cobain oftentimes expressed how he resented this attention due to believing his message and artistic vision had been misinterpreted by the public.

It’s hard to believe, however, the musician even opened up about this matter once during an interview and revealed how he would prefer to be a musician in the background rather than being liked by thousands of people. Let’s take a look into Cobain’s statement and how he felt about the unwanted fame that came with Nirvana’s immense success.

Kurt Cobain Once Admitted His Desire To Blend In

In contrary to his worldwide fame, the Nirvana frontman made a surprising confession and revealed he actually never wanted to take the duties of a lead singer in any band during an interview with Rolling Stone in 1994. During that same interview, Kurt Cobain also expressed his desire to hide in the back of a band and just play his rhythm guitar.

During the interview with Rolling Stone, Cobain confessed:

I never wanted to sing, I just wanted to play rhythm guitar—hide in the back and just play. But during those high-school years when I was playing guitar in my bedroom, I at least had the intuition that I had to write my own songs.”

When it comes to the success of the Nirvana classic, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ Kurt Cobain criticised people’s endless attention to the song mainly because of the feeling after other good songs were being neglected. In that same interview, Cobain praised another song, ‘Drain You,’ and stated that he would never get tired of playing the track unlike ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’

Kurt Cobain’s statement follows:

“Everyone has focused on that song so much. The reason it gets a big reaction is people have seen it on MTV a million times. It’s been pounded into their brains. But I think there are so many other songs that I’ve written that are as good, if not better, than that song, like ‘Drain You.’ That’s definitely as good as ‘Teen Spirit.’ I love the lyrics, and I never get tired of playing it. Maybe if it was as big as ‘Teen Spirit,’ I wouldn’t like it as much.”

His statement about the band’s ‘greatest’ song does a fair job of summarizing his emotions about the fame and mainstream success. Kurt Cobain never enjoyed the extraordinary attention given by media and fans due to the feeling of shallow interpretations and the absence of a deep understanding of his art. The musician most likely saw this coming before the instant success of Nirvana, therefore, wanted to just perform his art rather than being the center of attention.

You can listen to ‘Drain You’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ below.