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Frances Bean Cobain of course wishes that her dad had been around when she was growing up—but she has been doing her best to get to know him now, 21 years after his death.
"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," the only child of Courtney Love and the late Kurt Cobain tells Rolling Stone in a new interview. "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."
"In reality, if he had lived," Frances Bean added, "I would have had a dad. And that would have been an incredible experience."
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The Nirvana frontman, who struggled with drugs and depression, committed suicide on April 5, 1994, shooting himself at his home in a suburb of Seattle. He was 27.
And now his 22-year-old daughter is an executive producer on the upcoming HBO documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, "the closest thing to having Kurt tell his story in his own words."
"When [writer-director-producer Brett Morgen] and I first met, I was very specific about what I wanted to see, how I wanted Kurt to be represented," she says. "I told him, 'I don't want the mythology of Kurt or the romanticism.' Even though Kurt died in the most horrific way possible, there is this mythology and romanticism that surrounds him, because he's 27 forever. The shelf life of an artist or musician isn't particularly long. Kurt has gotten to icon status because he will never age. He will always be that relevant in that time and always be beautiful."
But Frances Bean knows that her father didn't see himself as anything more than a toiling musician—no matter what other people saw and felt when they listened to Nirvana.
"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--king voice of a generation."
However, don't count Frances Bean among the legions of Nirvana fans who still worship at the altar of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
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"I don't really like Nirvana that much," the burgeoning filmmaker and artist admitted (though "Dumb" and "Territorial Pissings" do strike a chord). "Sorry, promotional people."
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck premieres May 4 on HBO.