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12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Kurt Cobain

Educate yourself on some of the Nirvana frontman's stranger stories

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Kurt Cobain Wore Leopard Print Briefs the First Time He Slept With Courtney Love

Getty Images

Kurt Cobain is a surprising man; 23 years after his death and we're still learning things about the guy everyday. One of the better pieces of folklore surrounding the Nirvana frontman is that when he first slept with wife Courtney Love, he wore leopard print briefs. Ms. Love was so turned off by it that after the deed was done, she told him to invest in boxers. (He did.)

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Before Forming Nirvana, Kurt Auditioned to be in the Melvins

Fans of either band are pretty familiar with Kurt's Melvins obsession. When the group was looking for a new guitarist, Cobain stepped up to the plate. He was denied, but we're all better because of it: He went on to form a little band called Nirvana.

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Kurt Almost Joined the Navy


So goes the all too real American tale: Kurt didn't finish high school and was kicked out of his mother's house, so the logical next step was to enlist, right? He almost joined the Navy but ended up changing his mind. What a different world we would live in! 

4 / 12

Kurt Started Using Heroin to Relieve His Chronic Stomach Pains

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 14: Photo of Kurt COBAIN and NIRVANA; Kurt Cobain performing live onstage at Colisuem  (Photo by Ebe
Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Cobain suffered from intense stomach pains much of his life. He was prescribed a slew of medications (none of which, the singer has famously stated, actually worked) so he started using heroin. “So I decided, if I felt like a junkie, I may as well be one," he wrote in his diary.

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International Pop Underground Festival in Olympia Turned Down Nirvana Because They Were Too Famous

Of his native Washington state, Olympia's music scene was Cobain's favorites. Bands like Beat Happening and Bikini Kill were born there, and there was the forward-thinking Evergreen College population, too. The capital city organized an International Pop Underground music festival and when Kurt asked if Nirvana could play, he was turned away. The band had apparently become too famous.

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Cobain and Krist Novoselic Made Out on SNL but NBC Refused to Air the Footage

After performing "Territorial Pissings" on Saturday Night Live in 1992, Cobain and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic made out. NBC never aired the footage. 

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In Childhood, Cobain Had an Imaginary Friend Named "Boddah"

NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 25: HILVERSUM  Photo of NIRVANA and Kurt COBAIN, Kurt Cobain, recording in Hilversum Studios, with aco
Michel Linssen/Redferns

Cobain wrote a bit about "Boddah" in his diary and often mentioned him in interviews. The imaginary buddy sort of symbolizes Cobain's creative, loner spirit from a young age.

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In High School, Cobain's Father Enrolled His Son in Wrestling

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana (Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive 1/WireImage)
Kevin Mazur Archive 1/WireImage

When Cobain hit the mat, he would just sit there and refuse to fight. 

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"About A Girl" Was Written About Girlfriend Tracy Marander

Before Courtney Love, Cobain had other love interests. The most famous of which was probably Tracy Marander, who financially supported the singer for a while and attempted to make him get a real job. When that didn't work and they went their separate ways, Cobain penned "About A Girl" about her. It's also assumed she took the photo that would later become the cover of their debut LP, Bleach.

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"Smells Like Teen Spirit" Was Inspired by Kathleen Hanna

Kurt Cobain was a well-known feminist, probably due in large to riot grrrl icon and Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna. The singer/activist/badass can also be credited with inspiring "Smells Like Teen Spirit": One night at Kurt's apartment, she spray painted "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on his apartment wall, referring to the type of deodorant his girlfriend wore. The rest is history.

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Nirvana Almost Wasn't Called Nirvana

Frankfurt 1991
Paul Bergen/Redferns Ltd via Getty Images

Alternative names Kurt was flirting with include Skid Row, Pen Cap Chew, Bliss and Ted Ed Fred. Some were taken, some are just horrible. It's all part of the band naming process!

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Nirvana Almost Toured With Guns N' Roses and U2

Getty Images

The days leading up to Kurt Cobain's suicide in April 1994, Nirvana turned down tour offers with Guns N' Roses and U2. They would also say no to headlining Lollapalooza the same year.

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