"Kurt was jealous of Dave": Nirvana's official biographer explains why Kurt Cobain was "condescending" towards Dave Grohl

Nirvana, 1991
(Image credit: Niels van Iperen/Getty Images)

Kurt Cobain was "jealous" of his Nirvana bandmate Dave Grohl, according to Nirvana's official biographer Michael Azerrad.

Azerrad is publishing a 30th-anniversary deluxe edition of Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, his official biography of Nirvana on October 24. The updated text, The Amplified Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, is described as "a truly unique book-within-a-book featuring hundreds of extensive new essay-like annotations that deepen our understanding of this legendary band and the time in which it existed."

To publicise the book, and to talk about the 30th anniversary of Nirvana's In Utero album, Azerrad recently appeared on Rolling Stone's Music Now podcast, with writer Brian Hiatt. One topic under discussion is the relationship between Cobain and Dave Grohl, with Azerrad, in the original Come As You Are book, having quoted Cobain as describing Grohl's guitar riff to In Utero's Scentless Apprentice as "boneheaded".

"I thought that was a little condescending, frankly," Azerrad admits. 

Brian Hiatt then makes mention of another Cobain quote, where he says of his bandmate, "Dave is the most well-adjusted boy in the whole world."

"I think Kurt partly was mocking Dave for being fairly together, and normal," says Azerrad. "He’s a popular, well-adjusted guy, he really is. And I think partly Kurt was making fun of that because he wasn’t a freak, like Kurt. And he also was jealous. I think Kurt was a little bit jealous of Dave because Dave did have his act together."

The author once shared a story about Cobain talking about firing Grohl in 1993, a story Grohl himself referred to in a 2021 interview with Vulture, although his version of the story was slightly different.

"We were on our way to Los Angeles to start production rehearsals for the In Utero tour, and I was sitting a few rows ahead of Kurt and Krist," Grohl recalled. "I could hear Kurt saying, 'I think we need a drummer that’s more rudimental, along the lines of [Mudhoney's] Dan Peters,' who was the guy they almost hired when I joined the band. I was really upset because I thought things were okay. I talked to Krist, and I said, 'Is that really what you guys want to do? Because if that’s what you want, maybe just let me know, and we can call it a day.' I eventually talked to Kurt about it, and he said, 'No. That’s not what we want to do.' I just felt like, It’s up to you guys what kind of drummer you really want, and they decided I should stay."

Listen to the full Rolling Stone Music Now podcast below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.