The amazing highlights from Frances Bean’s interview about her dad, Kurt Cobain
For two decades we’ve been wondering what type of woman Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of rockstars Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, would grow up to be. Would she follow in her parents’ footsteps and pursue music? Would she become an artist? A model? While we knew a few things here and there about Frances, she has led a pretty private life, and tried to stay out of the spotlight. But now, we’ve finally been given a glimpse into the mind of the brilliant Frances Bean Cobain, and we’re in awe. Born in the wake of brilliance and tragedy, Frances has flourished into exactly what I imagined: an insightful, poetic gem, wise beyond her years and an artist in her own right.
In an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, David Fricke sat down with the 22-year-old to talk about her father and the new HBO documentary on his life, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (of which she is the executive producer). From beginning to end, the interview is poignant, raw, and incredibly smart. Here are some moments that stand out as breathtakingly touching, inspiring, and curiously cathartic:
On her father’s suicide:
“Kurt got to the point where he eventually had to sacrifice every bit of who he was to his art, because the world demanded it of him, I think that was one of the main triggers as to why he felt he didn’t want to be here and everyone would be happier without him. In reality, if he had lived, I would have had a dad. And that would have been an incredible experience.”
What it was like as the daughter of such a well-known musician with such a well-known, tragic fate:
“I was around 15 when I realized he was inescapable. Even if I was in a car and had the radio on, there’s my dad. He’s larger than life. And our culture is obsessed with dead musicians. We love to put them on a pedestal. If Kurt had just been another guy who abandoned his family in the most awful way possible . . . But he wasn’t. He inspired people to put him on a pedestal, to become St. Kurt. He became even bigger after he died than he was when he was alive. You don’t think it could have gotten any bigger. But it did.”
The importance of work ethic and wanting more out of artists than they can give:
“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.”
On creativity and creating as a habit:
“The hardest part of doing anything creatively is just getting up and doing. Once I get out of bed and get into my art room, I start painting. I’m there. And I’m doing it.”
The way she calls her legendary father by his name, the time she’s spent — decades — contemplating his life and death, the tranquil and accepting stance she takes on her life and legacy, all weave together in this interview to create the clearest image of Frances Bean Cobain we’ve seen yet, as well as another side to her father. It’s undeniable that Kurt Cobain would have been proud of his courageous, complex daughter and how she’s come to thrive in her world.