The bittersweet smells of teen spirit are once again filling the hallways.
Newsweek has published excerpts from the heartfelt, but alternately scathing, witty, insightful, self-loathing, silly, downcast and disillusioned entries from Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s journals in its October 28 issue, which hits newsstands Monday (October 21).
Next month, hundreds of Cobain’s handwritten journal entries will be published in a book called “Journals” (see “Cobain Diaries Will Be ‘Huge,’ Says Publisher Who Got Sneak Peek” ), which will arrive on the heels of a greatest-hits disc featuring the previously unreleased song “You Know You’re Right” (see “Embattled Nirvana Track Surfaces Online As Hits LP Nears Release” ), due October 29.
The book will include diary entries, letters, band memos, drawings and lyrics written by Cobain. Intensely personal and unflinching, Cobain wrote about his dysfunctional childhood, the evolution of Nirvana, his various relationships including his marriage to Courtney Love, becoming a parent, his distaste for stardom, his disinterest in the “grunge” bands that rose to popularity after Nirvana, his chronic, debilitating stomach pain and how it led to his addiction to heroin, and his inability to cope with the demands he and others placed upon him.
Publisher Riverhead Books paid the Cobain estate upwards of $4 million for the journals, Newsweek reported.
After Cobain ended his life in April 1994, Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson gathered his friend’s journals and stowed them away safely to prevent them from getting stolen the way many of Cobain’s other belongings had been, according to the magazine.
Some of the entries ramble, such as the following:
“I like punk rock. I like girls with weird eyes. I like drugs. (But my body and mind won’t allow me to take them). I like passion. I like playing my cards wrong. I like vinyl. I like to feel guilty for being a white, American male. I love to sleep. I like to taunt small, barking dogs in parked cars. I like to make people feel happy and superior in their reaction towards my appearance. I like to have strong opinions with nothing to back them up with besides my primal sincerity. I like sincerity. I lack sincerity.”
Then there are the more confessional and tragically prophetic passages that illustrate how conflicted and unhappy Cobain was when he reached the peak of his career:
“I’ve read so many pathetic second rate, Freudian evaluations from interviews from my childhood up until the present state of my personality and how I’m a notoriously f—ed up heroin addict, alcoholic, self destructive, yet overtly sensitive, frail, fragile, soft spoken, narcoleptic, neurotic, little pissant who at any minute is going to O.D. jump off a roof wig out blow my head off or all 3 at once. Oh Pleez Gawd, I can’t handle the success! The success! And I feel so incredibly guilty! For abandoning my true comrades who were the ones who are devoted who were into us a few years ago. And in 10 years when Nirvana becomes as memorable as Kajagoogoo, that same very small percent will come to see us at reunion gigs sponsored by Depends diapers, bald fat still trying to RAWK at amusement parks. Saturdays: puppet show, rollercoaster & Nirvana.”
In addition to expressing his disinterest in the mainstream, “Journals” conveys Cobain’s frustration at being credited with the creation of the grunge sound and leading the Seattle hard rock movement:
“If we were going to be ghettoized, I’d rather be in the same slum as bands that are good like Mudhoney, Jesus Lizard, the Melvins and Beat Happening rather than being a tenant of the corporate landlords regime … There are a lot of bands who claim to be alternative and they’re nothing but stripped down, ex sunset strip hair farming bands of a few years ago. I would love to be erased from our association with Pearl Jam or the Nymphs and other first time offenders.”
While many Nirvana fans are looking forward to reading Cobain’s most intimate thoughts, some argue that the material was culled from private notebooks and never meant for public disclosure. In one entry, Cobain himself suggests he would never have wanted the journals published:
“Within the months between October 1991 through December 92, I have had four notebooks filled with two years worth of poetry and personal writing … The most violating thing I’ve felt this year is not the media exaggerations or the catty gossip, but the rape of my personal thoughts. Ripped out of pages from my stay in hospitals and airplane rides hotel stays etc. I feel compelled to say f— you F— you to those of you who have absolutely no regard for me as a person. You have raped me harder than you’ll ever know.”