If you grew up listening to Nirvana, you probably pictured frontman Kurt Cobain - who was born 50 years ago today - as a morose songwriter who was more likely to shed a tear than crack a joke. After all, many of his songs touched on themes like alienation, drug abuse and suicide. But Dave Grohl says that the band's image was never in keeping with the actual group
In an interview with Off Camera in July 2013, Cobain's former bandmate said that the group was a lot different than the grunge stereotype.
“A lot of people never really understood,” he said. “I think a lot of people imagined it to be sort of like this darker more depressive sort of Joy Division trip or something like that, it really wasn’t, it was more like [Monty] Python, it was insane. The sense of humor was just so bizarre and abstracted and, off that it was fucking hilarious. It was fun to be in that band.”
So the band's aesthetic was completely misunderstood by its own fans. How very grunge.
Looking back, you can see evidence of the group's sense of humor in interviews. Like in September 1992, when the band joked about teaching swear words to Kurt's newborn daughter (Frances Bean Cobain) and using her for leverage when renegotiating their record contract.
Of course not everyone bought into Nirvana's image. When the band was skyrocketing up the charts, Weird Al Yankovic reached out to them and asked permission to do a parody of their monster hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. And the trio happily obliged. "We said 'yes' -- I mean, it's Weird Al Yankovic," Grohl told Jimmy Fallon back in 2014. "And it turned out great!"
In case you haven't heard it by now, here's Smells Like Nirvana, which turns 25 this year.
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