What Drove Kurt Cobain’s Personality? Was It Shame?

[This is from my weekly column in the Metro papers. – AC]

“Shame. That’s what made Kurt into who he was.”

I was on the phone with a writer friend from Los Angeles discussing the new documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.

“He suffered from imposter syndrome, afraid that someone would call him out for being a fake. That came into conflict with the knowledge that he did have talent. And partly because he came from a broken home where his strong mother constantly berated his father — which explains why he was attracted to Courtney — he was never able to resolve this inner battle, even as he was being anointed the voice of a generation. Hence the shame.”

This is one of the many conclusions that might be drawn from the film’s two-and-a-quarter hours, which attempts to humanize the complicated Cobain from his birth to just before he took his own life in April 1994.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38573 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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