Kurt Cobain was born on February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington, a small logging town. As a child, Cobain had a keen ear for music and was artistic. When their parents divorced, he was separated from his younger sister Kim. As a nine-year-old, Cobain moved in with his father, who eventually remarried, further straining their relationship. Cobain said later that the divorce had a profound impact on his life, while his mother observed that his personality changed dramatically; he became defiant and withdrawn.
As he stated in a 1993 interview:
I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents. I couldn’t face some of my friends at school anymore, because I desperately wanted to have the classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents for quite a few years because of that.
During this period, Cobain was rude to adults and began bullying another boy at school. His father took him to a therapist who concluded that a single-family environment would be best for him. Both sides of the family tried to bring his parents back together, but no avail. Cobain’s mother granted full custody to his father on June 28, 1979. Cobain’s teenage rebellion quickly became overwhelming for his father, who placed his son in the care of family and friends. He became devout and regularly attended church services while living with the born-again Christian family of his friend Jesse Reed. He later renounced Christianity, engaging in what was described as “anti-God” rants. The song “Lithium” describes his experience living with the Reed family. Religion remained an essential aspect of his life and beliefs.