Kurt Cobain & William S. Burroghs

People are prone to romanticizing Keroac and Ginsberg, but it’s the influence of Burroughs that is as unrivaled among the Beatniks as it is unspoken. In general, you will be hardpressed to find another writer from the 20th century to have had as wide ranging an impact, in and outside of literature, and to have been as profoundly influential on as many other iconic figures as Burroughs was.

From figures of the counterculture, also highly influential yet underappreciated, such as Robert Anton Wilson and the flagship creators of the graphic novels that sparked the comic book film adaption industry e.g. Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, to the most influential musicians in modern music in western civilization – the figures who’s cite his writing as a key influence is astounding (The Beatles, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Bon Dylan, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, and Thome Yorke)

“I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.” The two exchanged presents — Burroughs gave him a painting, while Cobain gave him a Leadbelly biography that he had signed. Kurt and music video director Kevin Kerslake originally wanted Burroughs to appear in the video for “In Bloom.”

– Carrie Borzillo, Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle

“(Cobain killed himself on 5 April 1994.) In Lawrence, meanwhile, William Burroughs sat poring over the lyric sheet of In Utero. There was surely poignancy in the sight of the eighty-year-old author, himself no stranger to tragedy, scouring Cobain’s songs for clues to his suicide. In the event he found only the “general despair” he had already noted during their one meeting.

“The thing I remember about him is the deathly grey complexion of his cheeks. It wasn’t an act of will for Kurt to kill himself. As far as I was concerned, he was dead already.” Burroughs is one of those who feel Cobain “let down his family” and “demoralized the fans” by committing suicide.

— Christopher Sandford, Kurt Cobain

Check out the link below for more information on their relationship and collaboration (which is included in the first video link). The second video is Kurt discussing William S. Burroughs influence.