K.C. Jeebies
April 8, 2015 7:16 PM   Subscribe

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.
Excerpts from an interview with Frances Bean Cobain for Rolling Stone's cover story in anticipation of the HBO documentary Montage of Heck.
posted by mannequito (50 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
my bad, haven't made a post in awhile and forgot to check - Previously
posted by mannequito at 7:18 PM on April 8, 2015


I really hate that photo.
posted by escabeche at 7:24 PM on April 8, 2015


I do to but I love her saying "I don't really like Nirvana".
posted by thelonius at 7:28 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean, it's Dad rock.
posted by thelonius at 7:28 PM on April 8, 2015 [49 favorites]


The photo is pretty bad but seems about par for the course for David LaChapelle anymore.

And of course Rolling Stone descends even further into pointlessness.
posted by vuron at 7:34 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh holy cats she's 22 now.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:34 PM on April 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


So every time her name is mentioned, FBC is identified as a 'visual artist'. Other than a few sketches from 2010, I can't find examples of her works anywhere online. Anyone have any links to more recent stuff?
posted by item at 7:38 PM on April 8, 2015


Oh, wow, LaChapelle did that? I thought the photo was ok, but I assumed it was by some random unknown.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:43 PM on April 8, 2015


I'm not super into celebrity gossip type stuff, but I'm totally fascinated by Frances Bean. Like, she has a unique take on the whole situation that's not the same Love/Grohl stuff we've been hearing for decades. But her view is one based on tremendous loss. I dunno, what she has to say is just very interesting to me.

And yeah, that LaChapelle photo is typically LaChapelle level bad.
posted by dogwalker at 7:45 PM on April 8, 2015


item - frances bean provided a piece for amanda palmer's theatre is evil in 2012.
posted by nadawi at 7:47 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tired of people that don't want to be the voice of their generation.

As if they had a choice.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:58 PM on April 8, 2015


I really hope that--instead of being all pain and angst--at least some of Montage of Heck recalls how fucking funny Kurt Cobain was. Because he really was.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


I thought this was a pretty good video busting the Kurt Cobain tortured poet myth. I agree with fat Wolverine on a lot of the points he makes at the beginning, anyway, despite my own predilection for Nirvana's music. Cobain and Love were hopeless junkies and shitty parents and it's sad to see that Bean has been pressured into being another repeater station for her dad's myth.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


LL Bean? Is that some kind of abstract joke I don't get, or just autocorrect run amok?
posted by axiom at 8:02 PM on April 8, 2015


(oops)
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:04 PM on April 8, 2015


it seems she specifically isn't interested in being a repeater station for her dad's myth.
I don't want the mythology of Kurt or the romanticism.
[...]
If Kurt had just been another guy who abandoned his family in the most awful way possible...
[...]
(interviewer):a guy who said Montage of Heck was a very interesting film about people he didn't like.
(frances bean) [Laughs] That's a pretty good description.
[...]
For me, the film provided a lot more factual information about my father – not just tall tales that were misconstrued, misremembered, rehashed, retold 10 different ways.
posted by nadawi at 8:07 PM on April 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


"Oh holy cats she's 22 now."

AKA about the last age where you can really be into Tropic of Cancer and not think, "Goddamn, Miller was a misogynistic fuck."
posted by klangklangston at 8:15 PM on April 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm excited to see this film. It seems to me a more respectful look into his life than the release of his journals.
posted by cobain_angel at 9:33 PM on April 8, 2015


I don't want Kurt Cobain to be the voice of my generation either, given that I could never understand a word he sang and neither could anyone else I knew.
posted by orange swan at 9:33 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


are you weird al
posted by klangklangston at 11:09 PM on April 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


Oh, wow, LaChapelle did that? I thought the photo was ok, but I assumed it was by some random unknown.

I loved LaChapelle in his day, he did some crazy shit and made some great portraits, but editorial photography in general has gone a different direction and this just looks dated as hell. Like a bad production still from a lost Greg Crewdson shoot. Definitely not his best work.
posted by bradbane at 11:21 PM on April 8, 2015


I went through the 102 tracks "ranked" (by RS no less!) and heard a couple new ones and reminded of some old ones I like. I think their ranking sucked.

I liked "fat wolverine"s point about how it wasn't that Nirvana was speaking to us (we had punk, etc...) but to the masses who were disaffected... Kurt was no saint. He was a pained junkie. It's sad. But I can't deny that it was that pain (whether it was because "he wanted to keep a secret" as that guy said or not) that drove some of the most compelling and raw material that still speaks to people today.

Interesting he compared Know You're Right to AiC, especially when you consider where Layne ended up so many years later :(

I am looking forward to this.

That line in the article about Courtney crying and apologizing...
posted by symbioid at 11:36 PM on April 8, 2015


Also - I think I might be related to fat wolverine. The resemblance is...

Uncanny.
posted by symbioid at 11:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


there is nothing I could say that I haven't thought before
posted by riverlife at 1:20 AM on April 9, 2015


I think part of the "shock" of passing 30 is the feeling—the realization—that all of these supposed "voices of a generation" are practically kids. Kurt Cobain was 27. When I was 27, my life had barely started. Wasn't married, no kids, no career yet. It really made me understand the whole "misunderstood youth" thing: you might be standing there, tortured, poetic, screaming: "There is nothing worthwhile in life!"—but all the adults are saying: "Uh, yes there is. Look around you. Grow up. Just be careful not to ruin it or throw it away before you get there."

It's easy to believe the former narrative while you are yourself young, and think the old people are just sell-outs, I guess.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:40 AM on April 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


I really hate that photo

What's the adjectival form of Stevie Nicks? Nicksonian?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:43 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's the adjectival form of Stevie Nicks? Nicksonian?

No kidding.... looks like a still from the title segment of American Horror Story Coven.
posted by valkane at 5:01 AM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't know of anyone who ever thought that Kurt Cobain was The Voice of a Generation, then or now. I thought he was a talented musician, I bought and listened to and appreciated Nirvana's albums, I think MTV Unplugged in New York is one of the representative albums of that time -- he makes especially those covers of Meat Puppets songs his own, and the album's still haunting all these years later. But the voice of a generation? Maybe for New York Times writers, desperate for someone to call a fallen icon in the same way that earlier fallen icons represented the 60s, "an era that my peers and I are constantly reminded we missed" (Lorraine Ali), desperate for anyone that would be a stand-in for a generation that, because of its unlucky positioning in time (and the biological fact that there are way fewer of us), basically got for the most part ignored.
posted by blucevalo at 5:18 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


AKA about the last age where you can really be into Tropic of Cancer and not think, "Goddamn, Miller was a misogynistic fuck."

Tell that to Erica Jong.
posted by layceepee at 5:33 AM on April 9, 2015


one of my favorite memories of a silly interaction with my grandfather...

i was in high school around 16 i guess and my dad came into the room and kurt was on unplugged on mtv doing whatever song and my grampa says with a grimace "that man looks like he is in a lot of pain." without missing a beat my 16 year old self looked at my grampa and said very sincerely "oh he is, grampa, he is."

my grampo appropriately rolled his eyes and resumed going whereever he was going.
posted by sio42 at 6:18 AM on April 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't know of anyone who ever thought that Kurt Cobain was The Voice of a Generation, then or now.

people experience things differently. i knew a lot of people who felt like he was a voice for them and their friends back then and i just ran into a 19 year old in a gamestop last week who is kurt's "biggest fan" and feels like he really captures something that is missing now.
posted by nadawi at 6:38 AM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Frances Bean seems to be remarkably put together emotionally for somebody who has accepted the fact that she was robbed of having a father, because her father had to give his all for his art.
posted by jonp72 at 7:09 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Still too soon.
posted by a complicated history at 7:18 AM on April 9, 2015


Frances sounds remarkably well-balanced. You'd think the odds would have been against that. Good on her!
posted by evil otto at 7:55 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think part of the "shock" of passing 30 is the feeling—the realization—that all of these supposed "voices of a generation" are practically kids.
And part of the shock of passing into your late 30s is going on LinkedIn randomly and noticing for the first time—really noticing—how goddamned old all your school friends look now (bald; grey-haired) and how they all have job titles with the world "senior" in them and then realising that the last time you got IDed buying alcohol was like 2011 or something and then trying to numb the pain by listening to some Stereolab or Lush.
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:49 AM on April 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's easy to believe the former narrative while you are yourself young, and think the old people are just sell-outs, I guess.

Which is exactly what and old sell-out would say, of course. Nice try, untrustworthy over-30!
posted by The Tensor at 9:45 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


i just ran into a 19 year old in a gamestop last week who is kurt's "biggest fan" and feels like he really captures something that is missing now.

I've seen a good number of kids wearing Nirvana shirts in recent years. Young kids, teenagers. I think they still connect with teenagers, at least in the rainy, grey Pacific Northwest.

I love her saying "I don't really like Nirvana".

I love her saying she's into Mercury Rev! See You On The Other Side was a favorite of mine in high school and I could not get any of my friends to get into it. It's been one of my Seekrit Faves always; one of those albums you play loud when no one else is around because they all have bad taste and don't get it. Good on you, Frances Bean. You get a thumbs up from a random Old on the internet.
posted by Hoopo at 10:28 AM on April 9, 2015


Frances Bean seems to be remarkably put together emotionally for somebody who has accepted the fact that she was robbed of having a father, because her father had to give his all for his art.

Is being a junkie and blowing your brains out an "art"?

Cobain was an unlucky and tragic person in lots of ways, and fame was shit for him, but surely it was his miserable life that killed him, and the fucked up decisions he made because he was in pain, not his art.
posted by howfar at 11:48 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really hope that--instead of being all pain and angst--at least some of Montage of Heck recalls how fucking funny Kurt Cobain was. Because he really was.

Oh my god he was. One of my favorites quotations from him in an interview:
“With Bleach, I didn’t give a flying fuck what the lyrics were about. Eighty percent were written the night before recording. It was like ‘I’m pissed off. Don’t know what about. Let’s just scream negative lyrics, and as long as they’re not sexist and don’t get too embarrassing it’ll be okay.’
posted by General Malaise at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2015


I can tell you that amongst many of my peers in high school they very definitely felt that Kurt Cobain was the voice of their generation, enough where when he killed himself, my then boyfriend and a couple of other friends called me absolutely weeping. I was never much of a Nirvana fan despite that being firmly in my teenage years, but I am glad to see that his daughter has grown up into a decent person.
posted by Kitteh at 1:45 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oy. I lived in Seattle during the whole grunge era, remember when Seattle Center was overrun with mourners when he shot himself, know the park bench that is the main informal shrine, and I have to say, that man sure disn't speak for me in my generation.

Kurt Cobain may have died for somebody's sins, but not mine.
posted by Sublimity at 2:39 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also seriously that list of 102 top Nirvana songs, is that even in order? Because what the fuck is even 90% of that shit? It's like RS has gone full Pitchfork and found all the stuff nobody has ever heard and gone "yeah this is actually the best stuff Nirvana ever did, you had to be there tho because this is a pretty shitty recording".
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:10 PM on April 9, 2015


Well, considering they had three studio albums totaling between 35 and 39 tracks (depending on bonus tracks) and a whole lot of odd-and-sods releases, some of those 102 tracks are going to be a little obscure.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:35 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


“With Bleach, I didn’t give a flying fuck what the lyrics were about. Eighty percent were written the night before recording. It was like ‘I’m pissed off. Don’t know what about. Let’s just scream negative lyrics

And that's how "Negative Creep" was born.

Apparently when he didn't give a flying fuck about the lyrics he wrote the songs that connected with me the most. Bleach was my fave of theirs. Go figure. Though I never understood what he was talking about in most of the songs where he did give a fuck about the lyrics anyway.

I find the "voice of a generation" thing weird with him too. I liked the music but the words didn't mean anything to me. Though I suppose just screaming and wailing over angry, mopey music does require a voice. So maybe.
posted by Hoopo at 4:03 PM on April 9, 2015


"What's the adjectival form of Stevie Nicks? Nicksonian?"

Nicksian, surely.

"Tell that to Erica Jong."

Wank recognize wank.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 PM on April 9, 2015


So we are back to calling addicts "junkies" now? I'm genuinely curious - it seems strange to acknowledge that Cobain was troubled in one breath and then to use such a pejorative term in the next. Or is junkie just shorthand for "heroin addict"?
posted by Dokterrock at 12:21 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved Nirvana, they kickstarted me into finding new music and I loved and still love the whole grunge sound. I still remember, so clearly, when I heard he'd killed himself thinking that the media were going to try to turn him into a god when he was only ever just a dude. And they did. Frances knows that's bullshit; good on her for having an honest voice about her dad. Here's hoping she has a great life on her own terms.
posted by h00py at 4:16 AM on April 10, 2015


A junkie is definitely a heroin addict specifically, and pretty common for heroin users to call themselves/each other, but I do think it's more than a bit offensive to go on about what a dirty, fucked up, no good junkie he was if you haven't been there yourself.
posted by atoxyl at 5:47 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't want Kurt Cobain to be the voice of my generation either, given that I could never understand a word he sang and neither could anyone else I knew.

He wasn't the voice of a generation because his lyrics were deep, or I assume because they were awesome musicians... but there was just something about 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' at the time that somehow straddled the divide between this and that.

I recall taping it off the radio, back in the day, and playing it in class.
It was, apparently, bullshit (like Sonic Youth's Goo and all the music I played.
Within *months* these people were wearing Nirvana T-shirts.

I don't subscribe to the theory that '90s Nirvana were to music what the Sex Pistols (or Iggy/NY Dolls/Bowie) were to '70s rocks, but Nirvana sure as hell was some fresh air in a stuffy room.

And Color Me Badd... where are they now?
(Probably getting ready for a revival, sadly).
posted by Mezentian at 8:15 AM on April 10, 2015


[Not to derail, but:

"And Color Me Badd... where are they now?"

I hadn't thought about that band in a really, really long time, but they're at the core of a funny story. In 1991, I went to the Soviet Union, and my girlfriend and I made friends with a young pair of black market entrepreneurs who, somehow, finagled visas to visit the states.

Their English was pretty good, but some things tripped them up, like extremely colloquial speech. They were forever asking us to parse, say, song lyrics for them, but it was really hard to explain to them just exactly why we found their attempts to grammatically disassemble "I wanna sex you up" so goddamn hilarious.]
posted by uberchet at 11:30 AM on April 18, 2015


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