Kurt Cobain’s Journals: Inside The Mind Of A Music Icon

Published January 7, 2024
Updated March 21, 2024

More than any other source, Kurt Cobain's journals reveal the music that inspired him and the problems that plagued him.

Kurt Cobain Journals
Drawings By Kurt Cobain
Writing Of Kurt Cobain
Cobain Journal
Kurt Cobain’s Journals: Inside The Mind Of A Music Icon
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In the early 1990s, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain shifted popular music away from cheesy hair bands playing stale anthems and introduced grunge and alternative rock to mainstream audiences, making heavy, distorted guitars the sound of teen angst around the world.

Listeners far and wide devoured Kurt Cobain's sound. Indeed, the band went from playing music for a few hundred people in Seattle to filling stadiums across Europe. In the course of a few years, Cobain was transformed into the voice of a generation.

This came at a price: By the time Nirvana came back to the States, Cobain went from convincing people to buy his album to doing anything he could to get people to stop worshipping him. Cobain wanted none of what his music had wrought him; the musician already suffered from depression and social isolation growing up, and eventually rejected much of his own fame.

Cobain ultimately succumbed to the emotional pain that informed much of his music, and in 1994 he died by suicide at age 27 inside his Seattle home.

"Now he's gone and joined that stupid club," Cobain's mother said when she learned her son had died (referring to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison and the others in "The 27 Club" for famous musicians who died at age 27). "I told him not to join that stupid club."

Even though Kurt Cobain's death did put him in that club, he left behind a wealth of writings and drawings from his journals, a treasure trove for those touched by his music.

Those journals (largely written between and 1989 and 1990, when he also wrote many of Nirvana's most famous songs) have since been compiled into a book, transcribed and annotated excerpts from which you can see above.

Next, learn the story behind Kurt Cobain's suicide note. Then, see some of the most haunting photos from the scene of Kurt Cobain's death and discover why some say Cobain was murdered.

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Kuroski, John. "Kurt Cobain’s Journals: Inside The Mind Of A Music Icon." AllThatsInteresting.com, January 7, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/kurt-cobain-journals. Accessed May 26, 2024.