Michael Stipe Reveals ‘Transition’ Kurt Cobain Was Going Through Just Before Death

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Former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe discussed Kurt Cobain in a new Dazed article. Read an excerpt below:

Having flown the college rock flag for a number of years, and crystalised their alternative rock credentials on Out of Time, Automatic for the People found R.E.M. at their nuanced and restrained best. Despite the odd contrarian fan jumping ship, the band’s evolution from southern US alternative heroes to major league masters was complete. Stipe’s good friend Kurt Cobain was just one artist who recognised the legitimacy of the band’s metamorphosis. Speaking to Rolling Stone in early 1994, the Nirvana frontman said, “I know we’re gonna put out one more record, at least, and I have a pretty good idea what it’s going to sound like: pretty ethereal, acoustic, like Automatic for the People. If I could write just a couple of songs as good as what they’ve written… I don’t know how that band does what they do. God, they’re the greatest. They’ve dealt with their success like saints, and they keep delivering great music.”

While Nirvana never managed to make that album, Cobain’s affirmation spoke volumes. “I had forgotten that he’d said that,” Stipe says. “I really wished that he had lived. Kurt was a great songwriter and he was also in a steady transition. As an artist, he had reached the end of one thing and was ready to explore the next phase. But he didn’t make it, sadly.”