GW: You can't duck it.
COBAIN: That's what I've done all my life, though. I've always quit jobs without telling the employer that I was quitting; I just wouldn't show up one day. I was the same in high school-I quit with only two months to go. I've always copped out of things, so to face up to my father although he chose to seek me out-was a nice relief.
GW: Have you written about this stuff at all? The lyrics on "Serve the Servants" sound autobiographical.
COBAIN: Yeah. It's the first time I've ever really dealt with parental issues. I've hardly ever written anything that obviously personal.
GW: What was it like for you growing up?
COBAIN: I was very isolated. I had a really good childhood, until the divorce. Then, all of a sudden, my whole world changed. I became antisocial. I started to understand the reality of my surroundings, which didn't have a lot to offer. Aberdeen was such a small town, and I couldn't find any friends that I was very fond of, or who were compatible with me, or liked to do the things that I liked. I liked to do artistic things and listen to music.
GW: What did you listen to then?
COBAIN: Whatever I could get a hold of. My aunts would give me Beatles records, so for the most part it was just the Beatles, and every once in a while, if I was lucky, I was able to buy a single.
GW: Did you like the Beatles?
COBAIN: Oh, yeah. My mother always tried to keep a little bit of British culture in our family. We'd drink tea all the time! I never really knew about my ancestors until this year, when I learned that the name Cobain was Irish. My parents had never bothered to find that stuff out. I found out by looking through phone books throughout America for names that were similar to mine. I couldn't find any Cobains at all, so I started calling Coburns. I found this one lady in San Francisco who had been researching our family history for years.
GW: So it was Coburn?
COBAIN: Actually it was Cobain, but the Coburns screwed it up when they came over. They came from County Cork, which is a really weird coincidence, because when we toured Ireland, we played in Cork and the entire day I walked around in a daze. I'd never felt more spiritual in my life. It was the weirdest feeling and I have a friend who was with me who could testify to this I was almost in tears the whole day. Since that tour, which was about two years ago, I've had a sense that I was from Ireland.
GW: Tell me about your high school experience. Were people unpleasant to you?
COBAIN: I was a scapegoat, but not in the sense that people picked on me all the time. They didn't pick on me or beat me up because I was already so withdrawn by that time. I was so antisocial that I was almost insane. I felt so different and so crazy that people just left me alone. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had voted me Most Likely To Kill Everyone At A High School Dance.
GW: Can you now understand how some people become so alienated that they become violent?
COBAIN: Yeah, I can definitely see how a person's mental state could deteriorate to the point where they would do that. I've gotten to the point where I've fantasized about it, but I'm sure I would opt to kill myself first. But still, I've always loved revenge movies about high school dances, stuff like Carrie.
GW: When did you first hear punk rock?
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