NFC Nirvana Information Articles and Interviews All Dressed Up

All Dressed Up

Melody Maker - December 12th, 1992.

Kurt Cobain explains why wearing dresses can be cool.


MM: Why did you wear a dress in the new video for "In Bloom"?

KURT: I really donít know why. I like to wear dresses because theyíre comfortable. If I could wear a sheet, I would. I donít know what to say Ö if I said we do it to be subversive then that would be a load of shit, because men in bands wearing dresses isnít controversial anymore.

Basically, we wanted to make the video, with as little fuss as possible, in as short a time as possible, for a few thousand dollars. There was no hidden agenda Ė the dresses only came about at the last minute. We wanted to be like The Beatles Ė no, The Dave Clark Five, I was wearing glasses Ė we would never make fun of The Beatles.

Thereís nothing more comfortable than a cosy flower pattern.

MM: But in your particular context Ė an MTV hard rock band who sell millions of records Ė surely itís a subversive act?

KURT: It may be subversive as far as a very small amount of people go, whoíve never seen men in dresses before or who arenít comfortable with the concept, but I donít give a shit about those people, anyway. Itís not subversive. Thereís no point in being subversive in rock anymore, thereís no way you can be Ė unless you ram a stick of dynamite up your ass. We havenít had any bad reaction to that video.

Queen dressed up in drag all the time. Male bands do it all the time. It just feels comfortable, sexy and free wearing a dress. Itís fun.

MM: What do you feel about the suggestion that your fans are called "fags", for liking such a (presumably) effeminate hard rock band?

KURT: I love it. Knowing that gives me as much pleasure as when I used to dress up as a punk at high school and rednecks driving by in trucks would yell "Devo" at me. Itís good to have a nice, healthy battle going on in high school between the Guns Ní Roses jocks and the Nirvana fans. It vibes up the kids who are more intelligent, and at least it brings the whole subject of homosexuality into debate. Itís very flattering our fans are thought of as "fags".

Actually, Iíve heard a lot of stories about kids being beaten up for wearing Nirvana tee-shirts. It reminds me of when I used to support strange or weird or subversive bands at high school who were that little bit more dangerous because they werenít accepted by the mainstream. Devo were a great example Ė a Top 10 act who were far more off-the-wall than us.

MM: Do you approve of cross-dressing?

KURT: Of course I do. Of course. Men shouldnít wear a dress because itís feminist, particularly, but because itís comfortable. Sometimes my penis will literally fall asleep or feel as if itís dropped right off because itís been constricted by wearing tight Leviís, and Iíll have to wear baggy pants or a dress instead.

MM: How about men wearing make-up?

KURT: Sure. If itís applied in a real gaudy fashion and makes you look like a TV evangelistís wife.

I go through an eyeliner phase, about one month every year. Pete Townshend did, too, but it didnít last very long. I know all about rock stars who used eyeliner. It never lasts very long. Supposedly, it burns into the eyes during shows under the bright lights. Maybe you should tattoo the eyeliner on.

Cross-dressing is cool. Iím sorry I canít come up with any better reasons for why we wore dresses for our video shoot, itís just that I wear them all the time Ė round the house, wherever. Iíd just as soon as wear a bathrobe or a sheet with a hole in. Itís not particularly because itís a womanís dress.