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Nirvana Quotes About the 90s Alternative Rock Legends

These Nirvana quotes include some insightful words about the band from all the members and even their producer.

Nirvana was an American rock band formed in 1987 who grew to immense popularity in the 90s. Kurt Cobain, the lead singer and guitarist, along with bassist Krist Novoselic, founded the band in Aberdeen Washington.

Kurt Cobain wrote visceral lyrics that connected with fans. These Nirvana quotes contain some of the best lyrics from their most popular songs, including Smells Like Teen Spirt. This song was their first single on the band’s second album, Nevermind (1991).

The band went through a series of drummers before recruiting Dave Grohl. He helped complete the band’s unique sound, which relied on ‘dynamic contrasts.’ These contrasts often included quiet verses coupled with loud and heavy choruses.

Nirvana Quotes About the 90s Alternative Rock Legends

Their music still has a popular following and influenced our modern rock-and-roll culture, with the band often being heralded as the figurehead band of Generation X.

Keep reading to learn more about what happened to Kurt Cobain and the controversy surrounding the band.

Don’t forget to also check out our collection of The Rolling Stones quotes from their legendary songs and bandmates.

Nirvana quotes from Kurt Cobain, lead singer 

1. “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ― Kurt Cobain

2. “Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem. They’re no good at all.” ― Kurt Cobain

3. “We have no right to express an opinion until we know all of the answers.” ― Kurt Cobain

4. “I’d rather be hated for who I am, then loved for who I am not.” ― Kurt Cobain

5. “A friend is nothing, but a known enemy.” ― Kurt Cobain

6. “There’s good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too f****** sad.” ― Kurt Cobain

7. “I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me.” ― Kurt Cobain

8. “Practice makes perfect, but nobody’s perfect, so why practice?” ― Kurt Cobain

9. “Birds scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth, but sadly we don’t speak bird.” ― Kurt Cobain

10. “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” ― Kurt Cobain

11. “They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same.” ― Kurt Cobain

12. “There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life.” ― Kurt Cobain

Nirvana quotes from Smells Like Teen Spirit

13. “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us. I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now, entertain us.” ― Nirvana

14. “Load up on guns, bring your friends; it’s fun to lose and to pretend.” ― Nirvana

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15. “She’s over-bored and self-assured. Oh no, I know a dirty word.” ― Nirvana

16. “I’m worse at what I do best. And for this gift, I feel blessed.” ― Nirvana

17. “Our little group has always been. And always will until the end.” ― Nirvana

18. “And I forget just why I taste. Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile.” ― Nirvana

19. “I found it hard, was hard to find. Oh well, whatever, never mind.” ― Nirvana

20. “A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido.” ― Nirvana

Nirvana quotes from other famous song lyrics

21. “I’m so happy ’cause today I found my friends, they’re in my head.” ― Nirvana (Lithium)

22. “Sunday morning is every day for all I care… And I’m not scared. Light my candles, in a daze. Cause I’ve found god.” ― Nirvana (Lithium)

23. “Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint.” ― Nirvana (Heart-Shaped Box)

24. “She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak. I’ve been locked inside your Heart-Shaped box for weeks. I’ve been drawn into your magnet tar pit trap. I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black.” ― Nirvana (Heart-Shaped Box)

25. “Teenage angst has paid off well. Now, I’m bored and old.” ― Nirvana (Serve the Servants)

26. “What else could I say? Everyone is gay. What else could I write? I don’t have the right. What else should I be? All apologies.” ― Nirvana (All Apologies)

27. “I’m not like them, but I can pretend… The day is done and I’m havin’ fun. I think I’m dumb; maybe just happy.” ― Nirvana (Dumb)

28. “He’s the one who likes all our pretty songs, and he likes to sing along, and he likes to shoot his gun. But he knows not what it means.” ― Nirvana (In Bloom)

29. “I don’t care what you think unless it is about me. It is now my duty to completely drain you. I travel through a tube and end up in your infection.” ― Nirvana (Drain You)

30. “Underneath the bridge; the tarp has sprung a leak. And the animals I’ve trapped have all become my pets. And I’m living off of grass and the drippings from the ceiling. It’s okay to eat fish, ‘Cause they don’t have any feelings’.” ― Nirvana (Something In The Way)

Revealing Nirvana quotes from all the band members

31. “I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band—or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.” ― Kurt Cobain, speaking about Smells Like Teen Spirit

32. “…one of those songs I actually did finish while trying to write it instead of taking pieces of my poetry and other things.” ― Kurt Cobain, speaking about Lithium

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33. “… did infuse some of my personal experiences, like breaking up with girlfriends and having bad relationships.” ― Kurt Cobain, speaking about Lithium

34. “I was trying to wait for [bassist] Krist Novoselic and [drummer] Dave Grohl to come up with something but it just turned into noise all the time.” ― Kurt Cobain, speaking about Heart-Shaped Box

35. “…something that Kurt wrote on [a] 4-track in our apartment in Olympia.” ― Dave Grohl, speaking about All Apologies

36. “I remember hearing it and thinking, ‘God, this guy has such a beautiful sense of melody, I can’t believe he’s screaming all the time.’” ― Dave Grohl, speaking about All Apologies

37. “…just about people who’re easily amused, people who not only aren’t capable of progressing their intelligence but are totally happy watching 10 hours of television and really enjoy it.” ― Kurt Cobain, speaking about Dumb

38. “I’ve met a lot of dumb people. They have a shitty job, they may be totally lonely, they don’t have a girlfriend, they don’t have much of a social life, and yet, for some reason, they’re happy.” ― Kurt Cobain, speaking about Dumb

39. “…so tired for the last year of people taking us so seriously. I wanted to fuck off and show them that we have a humorous side to us.” ― Kurt Cobain, speaking about In Bloom

40. “Kurt and I wanted the drums to be very understated. Dave was used to playing much louder; plus, it can be very difficult to go back and lay drums over an acoustic guitar track, as the meter may vary a bit.” ― Producer Bruce Vig, speaking about Something in the Way

‘What is Nirvana’ quotes that might explain the band’s name

41 “Your mind is nirvana.” ― Bodhidharma

42. “Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

43. “Nirvana is right here, in the midst of the turmoil of life. It is the state you find when you are no longer driven to live by compelling desires, fears, and social commitments, when you have found your center of freedom and can act by choice out of that. Voluntary action out of this center is the action of the bodhisattvasjoyful participation in the sorrows of the world. You are not grabbed, because you have released yourself from the grabbers of fear, lust, and duties.” ― Joseph Campbell

44. “Nirvana; closing the eyes to see the world inside.” ― Vikrmn

45. “Nirvana is too simple an experience to be depicted by diagrams.” ― Abhijit Naskar

46. “Nirvana is entire body experience of complete knowingness that our lives are enriched with abundance in the present moment and that it will continue to be going forward.” ― Matthew Donnelly

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47. “Nirvana is what I describe as being in a state of worship; you see, you go beyond just feeling happy and grateful, and you enter into a state of mind that allows you to worship what you have been given or what you have attained or achieved, or whatever circumstance you are in that is making you happy.” ― C. JoyBell C.

48. “Enlightenment, or Nirvana, is nothing other than the state beyond all obstacles, in the same way that from the peak of a very high mountain one always sees the sun.” ― Namkhai Norbu

49. “Nirvana is not a paradise or some special place of happiness, but is in fact the condition beyond all dualistic concepts, including those of happiness and suffering.” ― Namkhai Norbu

50. “When the Buddha declares there is escape from sorrow, the escape is Nirvana, which is not a place, like heaven, but a psychological state of mind in which you are are released from desire and fear. And your life becomes harmonious, centered and affirmative. Even with suffering.” ― Joseph Campbell

Which of these Nirvana quotes is your favorite?

Kurt Cobain was a rock legend in the making, but during the last years of his life, he struggled with heroin addiction. He also developed chronic health problems, including depression.

He seemed at war with himself and the pressures of fame, as evidenced by some of his lyrics from Serving the Servant. The song also alludes to his tumultuous relationship with his wife, fellow musician Courtney Love.

On March 1, 1994, Cobain was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis, following a tour stop at Terminal Eins in Munich, Germany. He flew to Rome for treatment where Courtney Love met him on March 3, 1994.

The following morning, Love woke up and discovered that Cobain had overdosed on a combination of champagne and Rohypnol. He spent five days in the hospital, and Love later claimed the incident was a suicide attempt.

On March 18, 1994, Love called the Seattle police stating that Cobain was suicidal and had locked himself in a room with a gun. Cobain insisted he had locked himself in the room to hide from Love and was not suicidal. However, police did confiscate several guns and a bottle of pills.

A few weeks later, on April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle. He was another rock star who sadly became known as part of the “27 Club.” An interview with his mother showed this had been a fear of hers, and she had begged him “not to join that stupid club.” Police concluded he had died on April 5 from a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. There are many conspiracy theories about Cobain’s death, but the official ruling is suicide.

He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Nirvana bandmates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. Let us know your favorite Nirvana quotes and songs in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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