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Frances Bean Cobain Speaks About Her Father,… But Not To Us


Francés Bean Cobain

Frances Cobain, daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, has just done her first interview about her father, and of course she did it with Rolling Stone. She was an intern in the NY offices of the magazine when she was just 15, so why not? As we all know, she is an executive producer of the new HBO documentary,’ Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck’, and the timing is perfect for her to speak up, since, to my knowledge she has never publicly talked about her father.

So here she is, all grown-up and malnourished, looking very hot in a weird picture that artfully evokes her father — the lyrics written on the wall, the hospital stretcher. She is a bold young girl who dyes her hair very dark and wears bondages… isn’t it the case for every young woman right now?

The title of the article immediately shocked me ‘Frances Bean Cobain on life after Kurt’s death’… really? She didn’t know her father, she can’t remember him at all since he died when she was barely 2 year-old! For Frances, there was not a life before and after her father’s death, there was just life without her father, period… and whatever she has heard of him has to come from her mother (the worst source you can imagine) or his bandmates, friends, family… She calls her father Kurt, and this tells a lot, he is just a poster on her wall, a voice singing his songs, and talking about Love, Rolling Stone proudly advertises ‘speaks publicly for the first time about her father, her complex relationship with Courtney Love’ but Frances doesn’t speak about the damn woman at all, and that’s disappointing.

But here is the main point to prove that the poor girl has been fed with everything but the truth: ‘Kurt got to the point where he eventually had to sacrifice every bit of who he was to his art, because the world demanded it of him,’ she said during the Q&A. ‘I think that was one of the main triggers as to why he felt he didn’t want to be here and everyone would be happier without him.’ Obviously, she truly believes he committed suicide without any doubt, and that’s another disappointment for me. Doesn’t she know that her parents were about to divorce when Kurt died? May be didn’t want to be here,… here with Courtney?

But she has a lot to say about the new documentary Montage of Heck’:

‘It’s emotional journalism. It’s the closest thing to having Kurt tell his own story in his own words – by his own aesthetic, his own perception of the world. It paints a portrait of a man attempting to cope with being a human. When Brett and I first met, I was very specific about what I wanted to see, how I wanted Kurt to be represented. I told him, “I don’t want the mythology of Kurt or the romanticism.” Even though Kurt died in the most horrific way possible, there is this mythology and romanticism that surrounds him, because he’s 27 forever. The shelf life of an artist or musician isn’t particularly long. Kurt has gotten to icon status because he will never age. He will always be that relevant in that time and always be beautiful.

There is, with any great artist, a little manic-ness and insanity. Tropic of Cancer is one of my favorite books. And [author] Henry Miller had this work ethic, where he would get out of bed every day and force himself to write five pages. It taught me that if you do the work, you progress. So many people are content to settle. My dad was exceptionally ambitious. But he had a lot thrown on him, exceeding his ambition. He wanted his band to be successful. But he didn’t want to be the fucking voice of a generation.’

She is evidently smart and thoughtful, and also very honest (or is she?) when she admits not being a fan of Nirvana:

‘I don’t really like Nirvana that much [grins]. Sorry, promotional people, Universal. I’m more into Mercury Rev, Oasis, Brian Jonestown Massacre [laughs]. The grunge scene is not what I’m interested in. But “Territorial Pissings” [on Nevermind] is a fucking great song. And “Dumb” [on In Utero] – I cry every time I hear that song. It’s a stripped-down version of Kurt’s perception of himself – of himself on drugs, off drugs, feeling inadequate to be titled the voice of a generation.’

Voice of a generation comes back a lot in the conversation, Kurt was this reluctant hero and Frances gets this part of her father right. And this must be so hard to be the product of a psychopath mother and a music icon who died at 27,… so, after all, she isn’t doing so bad. Except that the words that comes from her mouth sometimes could have directly come from her mother’s mouth, words like: ‘If Kurt had just been another guy who abandoned his family in the most awful way possible’… abandoned?… Even if she totally believes he committed suicide, at least she could have some consideration for a guy who endured her mother’s insanity and incessant controlling behavior for years.

There’s also a part of Frances that wants to be close to her father, ‘His speaking voice is sort of similar to mine’… They [Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear] look at me, and you can see they’re looking at a ghost. They were all getting the K. C. Jeebies hardcore. Dave said, “She is so much like Kurt.” They were all talking amongst themselves, rehashing old stories I’d heard a million times. I was sitting in a chair, chain-smoking, looking down like this [affects total boredom]. And they went, “You are doing exactly what your father would have done.’

She sounds part annoyed by the fact that she looks like him, or she wants to appear that way, but at the end she probably likes this very much… Has she become more like her mother than her father? Is she a poser like her?

Tom Grant, who has been investigating Cobain’s death for 21 years, had this reaction on Facebook: ‘In response to recent articles regarding comments from Kurt’s daughter, Frances, I want to make it clear that Frances is an innocent victim here. The real questions is; What does Frances really KNOW as opposed to WHAT SHE’S BEEN TOLD?’ Exactly!

1 Comment

  1. Bre on May 14, 2015 at 1:31 am

    I have been very recently curious about the same thing. And at the same time sad for her, because of well all the things you just sad. I really think courtney had some hand in it. And I cant imagine how hard that would be to face for a daughter but at the same time… I would personally investigate the shit out of that if it was my family ya know? Does any of that make sense?

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