The new Kurt Cobain book ‘Serving the Servant’ is out this week, and author Danny Goldberg discussed Kurt Cobain’s feelings about Led Zeppelin and AC/DC in a new Forbes interview. Goldberg said that while Cobain loved Led Zeppelin and AC/DC’s music, he did not feel ‘comfortable’ with their lyrics at all due to his beliefs about sexism.
Espinoza: Did you share Kurt’s opinion that a lot of the mainstream rock of the ’70s and ’80s was inherently sexist and homophobic? Did you at least understand that perspective if not?
Goldberg: Oh completely! Absolutely. First of all, I agreed with him about that. Secondly, I think he was torn: I think he liked the music. He liked Led Zeppelin’s music—and AC/DC. But the lyrics were not something that he felt comfortable with, for exactly the reason that you said. And I think I quote him saying something like that in the book, and I wanted to do it because it’s central to who he was as artist.
He definitely identified culturally with the values of the punk rock communities, which were rebelling not only against Reagan and things about society that pissed people off, but they were rebelling about things the music business produced. And that was a generational statement and it was one that he shared in. But as a musician, he had a very broad appreciation: As is widely known, he loved the Beatles—not that the Beatles don’t have some sexist lyrics, they do.
You know, I love John Lennon and Kurt loved John Lennon, but I think that ‘Norwegian Wood’ though is a bit on the sexist side. But he loved the music of a lot of different artists, but culturally he identified with a moral code; and that was one of the things to me that made him such an exciting artist to know and to work with; and that included a real abhorrence of macho stereotypes and behavior.