The problem AC/DC’s Malcolm Young had with Nirvana

Throughout the 1990s, Nirvana led a rock movement that helped define a new phase for music. Frontman Kurt Cobain had a deep contempt for the heavy music of the decade that had come before, and like most great bands, the Seattle grunge titans sparked an emotional reaction to the kind of performers that had come before them.

Despite their hard sound, Nirvana had a heart and denounced the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that catered to sexist preconceptions. Though many of the bands who followed this trend did it in a lighthearted manner and did not take themselves seriously, it offended Cobain, who found the sexist themes in their lyrics repulsive.

When Cobain released Nirvana, he vowed to himself to make his music accessible to everyone, a choice that at first set the band apart from the competition. The leader made sure he was a force for good in a dark world by using his lyrics to speak out against injustices like sexual assault.

However, while lacking a deeper sense of significance, AC/DC makes up for it with a lot of vigor and intensity. Even though he recognized the musical side of the band’s craft, Cobain didn’t like their lyrics, which prevented him from developing a deep appreciation for the group. He also thought the same thing about Led Zeppelin.

When discussing Kurt Cobain’s musical preferences, former Nirvana manager David Goldberg noted the following two bands:

“I think he was torn: I think he liked the music. He liked Led Zeppelin’s music—and AC/DC. But the lyrics were not something that he felt comfortable with.”

Malcolm Young of AC/DC was just as antagonistic about Nirvana. After the release of their breakthrough album Nevermind in 1992, the grunge band became the buzz of the world. When questioned about Kurt Cobain’s band in an interview with Metal CD, Young was less than kind.

When asked what he thought of the current condition of contemporary music, Young said he’d “seen a few of them bands on MTV” and then fell silent. Then he continued, saying: “Well, my daughter listens to that band,” before revealing them to be Nirvana. However, he was less than kind to Cobain when asked whether he was a fan, stating: “Naaaaah. Singer’s a blond feller. Bit of a poser.”

Poser was not one of the many things that could be said about Cobain. He was a true original who never wavered from his beliefs to win over the people. Nonetheless, given that Nirvana and Young were on opposite sides of the rock spectrum and had nothing in common, Young’s derisive remarks about the latter group shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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