Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’ Lyrics May Have A New Meaning
Written by Tom Williams on 26th March, 2014
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A possible new origin of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain‘s famous lyric “come as you are”, taken from the 1992 song of the same name, have been revealed for the first time by a leading Nirvana expert.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nirvana expert Charles R. Cross, author of the book Here We Are Now: The Legacy of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, announced the discovery at a reading of the book in Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington on Thursday, 20th March.
A local resident reportedly brought to the reading an 1940s advertisement for Aberdeen’s Morck Hotel, whose motto was, “Come as you are.” “The Morck has been dilapidated for years, but it was one of the many places in Aberdeen where Kurt’s friends told me he crashed during his ‘homeless’ teenage era,” Cross said after being shown the advertisement.
“Whether Kurt directly took something from that, or whether it simply stayed in his subconscious a few years later when he wrote the song, is unknown,” said Cross. “But it’s a fascinating twist, and perhaps an explanation of the genesis of the title of one of Nirvana’s greatest songs.”
After getting in a fight with his mother at the age of 17, Kurt Cobain left home and spent roughly four months sleeping in buildings he snuck into around Aberdeen. He would sometimes unscrew a hallway light bulb to make it dark, set up his bedroll and catch some shut-eye before leaving quickly in the morning as to not disturb the residents. Many of his songs, including Something In The Way, discuss the feeling of abandonment which accompanied him at that stage of his life.
Cobain did sleep at the Morck Hotel, and it is where he met his beer connection, an obese alcoholic he called ‘Fat Man’, who became one of the first outsider heroes discussed in Cobain’s early songwriting. When Cobain bought ‘Fat Man’ a John Denver album and a toaster one Christmas, ‘Fat Man’ wept.
The phrase “Come As You Are” also appears on a sign greeting visitors to Aberdeen, which installed a controversial new statue of a weeping Cobain at the town’s History Museum last month. Seattle Police recently reviewed the Kurt Cobain suicide case, and a Kurt Cobain Museum crowdfunding campaign has now been launched.
Watch: Nirvana – Come As You Are
Image via THR