Five bands that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain hated

Nirvana were a pioneering force in the American alternative scene during the late 1980s, spearheading the grunge movement, which, inspired by the punk movement of the 1970s, attacked the ideals of classic, mainstream rock.

The band was helmed by Kurt Cobain, who made an indelible imprint on music despite his premature death aged 27 in 1994. Having grown up an isolated and lonely teenager, Cobain channelled his dissatisfaction with society into Nirvana’s music, mainly driven by aggressive riffs and pummeling drums.

Soon, Cobain became the face of a generation, much to his dismay. Never afraid to be outspoken, the musician used his platform to attack the bands he was vehemently against. Cobain was such a passionate music lover that he couldn’t hold his tongue when he disliked a band.

From grunge contemporaries Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains to classic rockers such as Guns ‘N’ Roses, here are five bands that Kurt Cobain could never get behind.

5 bands that Kurt Cobain hated:

Pearl Jam

Despite Nirvana and Pearl Jam leading the grunge revolution that originated in Seattle during the late ’80s and early ’90s, Cobain was not fond of the band, believing them to lack originality and steadfast dedication to the grunge movement.

In an interview with Flipside in 1992, Cobain referenced Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, sharing, “Those bands have been in the hairspray/cockrock scene for years, and all of a sudden they stop washing their hair and start wearing flannel shirts. It doesn’t make any sense to me. There are bands moving from L.A. and all over to Seattle and then claim they’ve lived there all their life so they can get record deals. It really offends me.”

Despite Cobain’s comments on the band, he asserted that frontman Eddie Vedder is “a really nice person” and “We’ve never had a fight ever, I’ve just always hated his band.”

Led Zeppelin

When writing lyrics for Nirvana, Cobain took a progressive approach, unafraid to tackle hefty topics such as sexism, which made the band’s music stand out against their contemporaries. Therefore, Cobain was never too fussed over listening to classic rockers Led Zeppelin, as he struggled to ignore the blatant sexism and objectification of women in their lyrics.

He said, “I really did enjoy some of the melodies they’d written, it took me so many years to realise that a lot of it had to do with sexism. The way that they just wrote about their dicks and having sex. I was just starting to understand what really was pissing me off so much those last couple years of high school.”


For similar reasons, Cobain couldn’t get on board with rockers AC/DC. Nirvana’s manager Danny Goldberg once shared, “I think he was torn: I think he liked the music. He liked Led Zeppelin’s music—and AC/DC. But the lyrics were not something that he felt comfortable with.”

The feeling was mutual, with AC/DC’s Malcolm Young sharing in 2016 that he was never a fan of the band, “Naaaaah. Singer’s a blond feller. Bit of a poser.” Cobain wasn’t strictly against AC/DC’s music; after all, ‘Back in Black’ was the first song he learnt to play on guitar. He just couldn’t get on board with the band’s lyrical treatment of women.

Guns’ N’ Roses

Cobain famously feuded with Guns’ N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose during the ’90s, once stating, “We’re not your typical Guns’ N’ Roses type of band that has absolutely nothing to say.” This offended Rose, who made heinous comments towards Cobain and Courtney Love’s baby, Frances Bean, saying, “If the baby is born deformed, I think they both ought to go to prison.”

Speaking in 1993 to The Advocate, Cobain criticised Rose again, saying, “The guy is a fucking sexist and a racist and a homophobe, and you can’t be on his side and be on our side.”

The Grateful Dead

Cobain was not a fan of hippie culture, seeing them as “giving up” rather than actively fighting for what they believed in, as did many punks. The musician frequently expressed an intense hatred for The Grateful Dead. For one photo shoot, Cobain sported a t-shirt that read “punk’s not dead” and “Kill The Grateful Dead.”

He was also quoted saying, “I wouldn’t wear a tie-dyed tee-shirt unless it was dyed with the urine of Phil Collins and the blood of Jerry Garcia.” The beginning of ‘Territorial Pissings’, where Krist Novoselic seems to poke fun at the hippie anthem ‘Get Together’ by Chet Powers, further alludes to the fact that Cobain and co. were not fans of the music associated with much of the hippie movement.

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