The Best 25 Kurt Cobain Quotes

If you look up the word “frontman” in the dictionary, chances are the tome is going to have a picture of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. The handsome, blonde, growling singer and figurehead of the grunge group Nirvana was everything the role called for.

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Sadly, Cobain died by suicide on April 5, 1994. But before he left us, the songwriter and performer helped bring some of the best rock songs to life, including the all-time hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

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It should come as no surprise based on Cobain’s songwriting talent, that he had a lot of interesting things to say outside of his music. Our list of quotes below illuminates Cobain’s thoughts on gender identity, enduring chronic illness, his favorite Beatle, and so much more.

1. “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”

2. “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

3. “Punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster’s terms, ‘nirvana’ means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that’s pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.”

4. “Looking back on the production of Nevermind, I’m embarrassed by it now. It’s closer to a Motley Crue record than it is a punk rock record.”

5. “I started being really proud of the fact that I was gay even though I wasn’t.”

6. “A friend is nothing but a known enemy.”

7. “I was looking for something a lot heavier, yet melodic at the same time. Something different from heavy metal, a different attitude.”

8. “My songs have always been frustrating themes, relationships that I’ve had. And now that I’m in love, I expect it to be really happy, or at least there won’t be half as much anger as there was.”

9. “I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me.”

10. “We’re so trendy we can’t even escape ourselves.”

11. “Rap music is the only vital form of music introduced since punk rock.”

12. “I’m not well-read, but when I read, I read well.”

13. “I’ve had this terrible stomach problem for years, and that has made touring difficult. People would see me sitting in the corner by myself looking sick and gloomy. The reason is that I was trying to fight against the stomach pain, trying to hold my food down. People looked me and assumed I was some kind of addict.”

14. “I didn’t know how to deal with success. If there was a Rock Star 101, I would have liked to take it. It might have helped me.”

15. “John Lennon was definitely my favorite Beatle, hands down.”

16. “I have to admit I’ve found myself doing the same things that a lot of other rock stars do or are forced to do. Which is not being able to respond to mail, not being able to keep up on current music, and I’m pretty much locked away a lot. The outside world is pretty foreign to me.”

17. “My body is damaged from music in two ways. I have a red irritation in my stomach. It’s psychosomatic, caused by all the anger and the screaming. I have scoliosis, where the curvature of your spine is bent, and the weight of my guitar has made it worse. I’m always in pain, and that adds to the anger in our music.”

18. “I’ve always wanted male friends that I could be real intimate with and talk about important things with and be as affectionate with that person as I would be with a girl.”

19. “Ever since the beginning of rock and roll, there’s been an Axl Rose. And it’s just boring. It’s totally boring to me.”

20. “Every time I see documentaries or infomercials about little kids with cancer, I just freak out. It affects me on the highest emotional level… Anytime I think about it, it makes me sadder than anything I can think of.”

21. “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.”

22. “I definitely feel closer to the feminine side of the human being than I do the male—or the American idea of what a male is supposed to be. Just watch a beer commercial and you’ll see what I mean.”

23. “There’s nothing better than having a baby. I’ve always loved children. I used to work summers at the YMCA and be in charge of, like, 30 preschool kids. I knew that when I had a child, I’d be overwhelmed, and it’s true… I can’t tell you how much my attitude has changed since we’ve got Frances. Holding my baby is the best drug in the world.”

24. “I’ve never been a very prolific person, so when creativity flows, it flows. I find myself scribbling on little notepads and pieces of loose paper, which results in a very small portion of my writings to ever show up in true form.”

25. “I really miss being able to blend in with people.”

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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