It's been over two decades since Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home, but his loss is still felt today — most personally by his own family. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Frances Bean Cobain, the only child of the Nirvana frontman and wife Courtney Love, opens up about how she interprets his loss, embraces his legacy, and lives within his pop culture presence.
"Kurt got to the point where he eventually had to sacrifice every bit of who he was to his art, because the world demanded it of him," Frances, 22, says of her father, who took his own life in 1994. "I think that was one of the main triggers as to why he felt he didn't want to be here and everyone would be happier without him."
Frances seems acutely aware of her father's role within music history, and just how very much he is admired by fans, artists and journalists. She is an executive producer of the new HBO documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, which focuses on the musician's life and work.
"It's the closest thing to having Kurt tell his own story in his own words," she explains, "by his own aesthetic, his own perception of the world. It paints a portrait of a man attempting to cope with being a human."
Publicly addressing her father is not a new role for Frances: she's had to deal with her father's legacy since she was a child. In fact, she recalls interning at Rolling Stone several years ago, where she had to work in a cubicle which featured a giant wall painting of Kurt and "looking at my dad every day."
Since then, Frances has had time to digest her father's life and how he tried to balance his desire for artistic integrity within the music industry. "My dad was exceptionally ambitious," she says. "But he had a lot thrown on him, exceeding his ambition. He wanted his band to be successful. But he didn't want to be the f**ing voice of a generation."
Frances does, as many others have before her, take issue with the romanticism surrounding her father's suicide, a sentiment which she specifically did not want included in her HBO project.
"Even though Kurt died in the most horrific way possible, there is this mythology and romanticism that surrounds him, because he's 27 forever," she says. "Kurt has gotten to icon status because he will never age. He will always be that relevant in that time and always be beautiful."
While Frances admits she doesn't listen to Nirvana much and that she's not all that interested in grunge, she does acknowledge the loss of her father, and the hole it's left within her family: "If he had lived, I would have had a dad. And that would have been an incredible experience."