NFC Nirvana Information Articles and Interviews Pied Piper

Pied Piper

Port Orchard - April 10th, 1994.

Kurt's uncle speaks about Kurt

By Larry Smith, Kurt's uncle by marriage.


I knew Kurt during his teenage years during the period of about 1979 to 1984. I was in my mid-thirties at the time. I was living in and near Montesano, Washington. My sister married Kurt's Dad, Don, and also lived in Montesano.

I would like to relate some of the memories and perceptions I have concerning this most unique, rare, and original human being called Kurt Cobain. Let me also tell you that my grandfather comprehended the intelligence and individuality in Kurt at a time when Kurt was being beaten down mentally and physically. "Gramps" often told me of his respect for Kurt's tenacity and compassion, even though in emotional pain. Shortly before Gramps died, he had been talking about Kurt. He looked at me and said words to the effect that he could see a nobility about Kurt that he had never seen in anyone in all his 70 years.

One time Gramps invited Kurt along on one of our steelhead fishing trips . We were spread out a few hundred feet apart along the Wynoochee River. All of a sudden we heard this horrendous combination of' screaming, warbling, and yodeling from Kurt, who was upstream and out of sight. Gramps told me to run up there and help Kurt, who must have hooked into a big fish. When I reached Kurt, he didn't even have his line in the water, When I asked him what was going on, he just looked at me with those piercing eyes and a huge grin. He said, "Oh, I'm just trying to thicken my vocal cords so I can scream better!" When I went back to Gramps to tell him, he just grinned and said, "It figures, We'll just let him be!" We can now say, "Thank you, Kurt, for thickening your vocal cords!" Kurt didn't fit the general mold of society in a logging town, and so he was beaten upon by people who didn't understand him. One day I heard that he was in a fight a few blocks away. When I ran to the scene, the fight was over. However, I heard from a friend that Kurt was assaulted by a burly 250 pound logger type. Evidently, Kurt did not even fight ; he just presented the bully with th the appropriate hand gesture every time he was knocked down until the bully gave up. To top it all off, Kurt just had that usual grin on his face!

A final footnote to this small remembrance of Kurt: A wonderful picture in my head comes to mind of a rare, sunny day when I peeked out the window into the yard. There was Kurt with some kind of contraption on his head that resembled a tinfoil hat, sneaking around the yard, followed by about half a dozen laughing toddlers. Kurt had that million-dollar grin on his face, and I could tell he was definitely in "nirvana". I guess you. could say he was the "pied piper" of compassion.

I hope these little examples of happiness will help to show that, even though Kurt experienced pain in his teenage years, he still did not let that pain stop him from loving life as fully as he could. We should never condemn Kurt for leaving us. We should instead look inward and thank him for loving us enough to share his feelings with us. Let us all learn that no amount of pain will ever stop us from loving life. We must all maintain respect for the significance of our won lives as well as the lives of others.