KURT COBAIN

FEBRUARY 20, 1967 - APRIL 5, 1994

                                        “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.”                                                                          -Kurt Cobain

Where were you on April 8, 1994? Our parents can all say where they were when they heard that JFK had been shot.  I can still remember the heart sinking moment when the radio announcer let us know that Kurt Cobain had died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.

A snapshot. A moment of life that passed before our eyes that made no sense, and yet made perfect sense.  Not that he was as important as a president, or that his impact on the world and the way he left it should be remembered as a lifetime event, but to me and my peers, it was just that.  We grew up in that era.  We felt the changes from the 70s to the 80s, and were reaching adulthood at a time when the future was uncertain and not as bright as we were being told. No one knew why they were feeling the angst of change. The illusion of happiness that we were encouraged to portray throughout our lives felt fake and contrived.   

Hollywood and MTV sold us a vision of spandex and makeup that they marketed based on an archaic system of nepotism and record company greed...until one voice, a single human voice shattered the glass menagerie and said…

 

With the lights out/It’s less dangerous/Here we are now, entertain us/I feel stupid/And contagious/Here we are now, entertain us.

One song broke open an avalanche of contagious acceptance.  One album turned the record industry on its head. Like a machine gun, it cut all of the posing monuments of the rock industry down at the knees.  It was real. It was honest.  It was something that we all felt instinctively, without having to say a word.  It was something that our whole generation could identify with, regardless of whether or not that was the intended result of the creator.

Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic formed Nirvana in Seattle, Washington in 1987.  They were joined a couple of years later by drummer Dave Grohl.  Affected by divorce and unstable living conditions, Kurt had a rough childhood.  His anger and depression reflected the stormy grey and gloomy weather that the Pacific Northwest is known for.  The PNW is also geographically diverse. Bodies of water and mountains created different isolated music scenes that thrived, and eventually grew together through fanzines and DIY movements. This diversity created a rich subculture of many different styles and subgenres of punk, metal and rock.  It’s hub was Seattle.

 

Seattle in the 90s

Seattle in the 1990s was a mecca of sorts for disillusioned artists who were tired of the commercialism and the status quo of record company dominated music. The earthy and bohemian existence combined grey moody weather with artistic integrity and really great coffee, to create a safe haven for all sorts of artistic endeavors.   The talent that had joined forces in this timeless city was undeniable. Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, The Gits, Mudhoney, and Mother Love Bone all building on the foundation built by Heart and the immortal Jimi Hendrix. This made Seattle a pretty easy destination for artists looking to make a name for themselves without having to sell their souls. Where else should Hollywood look to manipulate the next big scene?  They came fast and hard, and the person they caught in their crosshairs was the the impenetrable blue eyed frontman of the quickly ascending band Nirvana.

 

Oh Well Whatever Never Mind

The band and Butch Vig, their producer, had created something magical. And as near to perfection as a major label release could be. The melodies were effortless and perfect. The instruments were compressed and thumping.  The sentiment was spot on.  The look, the angst, the power of honesty - all were so believable that the world took notice.  Seemingly overnight, Nirvana went from clubs, to arenas, to stadiums.  Kurt was dubbed the voice of Generation X, and put in a spotlight, that also became a microscope. His highly scrutinized relationship with wife Courtney Love, as well as their drug dependency while trying to raise their daughter Frances Bean, became unbearable to Kurt. This led to his complete disillusion with being a rock star. He found it impossible to feel, and his numbness and bouts with dependency and depression led him to take his own life. His body was found in a greenhouse on his Seattle property adjacent to the palatial house he seldom stayed at. It was a home he never felt comfortable in.  He was 27 years old.

THE DESIGN

The world of fashion and pop culture was heavily influenced by the Seattle Grunge scene and the music coming out of the Pacific Northwest. Spandex and ripped t-shirts gave way to flannel shirts, baggy jeans, and an all around necessity in the region...the beanie.

For our Kurt Cobain inspired piece, we started with a simple, clean and dual use black beanie. We’ve added buttons made from drum cymbals to reflect coming together, and the unity Kurt had unintentionally created through his honest and unflinching approach to creating art.  His integrity and commitment to his vision are reflected in the clean lines of square buttons placed uniformly around the hat.

To add to the versatility of the hat, we have added a patch of vintage flannel with various shaped buttons to be visible when folded up.  The buttons represent the diversity of the scene and the different lifestyles and artists who influenced Kurt.  The vintage flannel is for the longevity of his work, and how each individual song is still applicable, relevant, and listenable to this day.

These hats are handsewn so each piece is a unique item that is a labor of love from us at CHIME to you.  They will be on sale for $27 through All Hallows Eve!