During the band’s recent Valentines Day live stream concert, punk icon and The Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne told a story of Kurt Cobain getting arrested for graffiti while the two were teenagers in their hometown of Aberdeen, Washington. Osborne, who grew up with Cobain in Aberdeen, explained he and Cobain met while in grade school and became fast, mischievous friends.
As Osborne tells it, the pair were spray-painting graffiti around town with their friend and eventual Melvins drummer Matt Dillard during their teen years before the trio were famous musicians. “We were out spray painting graffiti all over town,” said Osborne. “You try to think of something that’s gonna really burn all these people there.” After making several marks on different locations, Osborne explains the trio soon realized they were surrounded by police and ran their separate ways. “All of a sudden, we heard [car screech] around the corner,” the Melvins rocker recalled. “They had nabbed Cobain somehow. Like he was hiding somewhere. And he went to the joint.”
Osborne went on to reveal that a young Cobain spray painted the phrase “Ain’t got no how whatchamacallit,” and ultimately wound up spending the night in a local jail. During his recollection of the story, Osborne added that Cobain was a formidable artist with natural talent that was often conveyed in his street art, which typically came with dark, offensive humor.
Cobain would of course go on to become one of the most iconic American musicians of all time, and was a key pioneer in the famed grunge music scene of the 1990s as frontman and songwriter of the legendary band Nirvana. Today, the sign that welcomes visitors to Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen reads “Come as you are,” a clear reference to the Nirvana track that Cobain wrote for the band’s classic 1991 album, Nevermind.
Photo credit: Mauricio Alvarado