What Red Hot Chili Peppers song is about Kurt Cobain?

18 November 2023, 10:30

✔️🔥 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tearjerker [HQ Audio]

Anthony Kiedis and co cover topics of love, loss, addiction and salvation in their lyrics, but which of their tracks is about the late Nirvana frontman?

Red Hot Chili Peppers have their fair share of history with loss and addiction.

Anthony Kiedis and co have also dealt with many of these themes in their music, but did you know one of their songs is about the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who tragically lost his life to suicide on 5 April 1994?

Find out more about the track here.

READ MORE: Which Foo Fighters song is about Kurt Cobain?

Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis and the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain
Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis and the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Picture: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Brian Rasic/Getty Images

Which Red Hot Chili Peppers song is about Kurt Cobain?

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Tearjerker is a very personal tribute to the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and details Anthony Kiedis' reaction to his suicide just a year earlier.

If you're not a fanatic RHCP fan, you'd be forgiven for not knowing Tearkerjer as it's an album track from their sixth studio LP, One Hot Minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers' One Hot Minute album
Red Hot Chili Peppers' One Hot Minute album. Picture: Press

The ninth track on the 1995 album, Tearjerker begins by recalling the moment Kiedis finds out Cobain has died and goes on to describe his qualities and characteristics.

"My mouth fell open/Hoping that the truth would not be true/Refuse the news"

Nirvana's late frontman Kurt Cobain performs in a dress in 1991
Nirvana's late frontman Kurt Cobain performs in a dress in 1991. Picture: Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage/Getty Images

Kiedis details the first time he saw Kurt "sitting backstage in a dress" and calls him "the perfect mess", while admitting he wanted to impress the Nirvana singer.

Part-ode, part-love song, the RHCP rocker then lovingly describes Kurt's features, including his "whiskers," the "dimple in (his) chin", and his "pale blue eyes".

Nirvana's late frontman Kurt Cobain in 1991
Nirvana's late frontman Kurt Cobain in 1991. Picture: Michel Linssen/Redferns

The subject matter is, of course, incredibly sad, but perhaps the most heartbreaking part of the song is its' chorus, which touches upon both the nature of Kurt's suicide and his drug addiction.

"Left on the floor/Leaving your body/When highs are the lows/And lows are the way"

Speaking about the impact of Cobain's death in his Scar Tissue autobiography, Kiedis wrote: "It was an emotional blow, and we all felt it. I don't know why everyone on Earth felt so close to that guy; he was beloved and endearing and inoffensive in some weird way. For all of his screaming and all of his darkness, he was just lovable."

It's not difficult to see why Kurt's death may have struck such a chord with Kiedis and hit him particularly hard at that time of his life.

In 1998, the California rocker suffered the loss of his high-school friend and founding band-member Hillel Slovak to a heroin overdose. Trying heroin for the first time at 14 when he mistook it for cocaine, Kiedis continued to battle his own drug addiction issues. It was also around this time that child star and Stand By Me actor River Phoenix - who was friends with the band - had also just passed away in 1993 three due to drug abuse.

For Kiedis, Cobain's death was no doubt another blow and the song reflects this, when he asks: "What the f*** am I supposed to do? Just lose and lose."

One Hot Minute, which was released on 12 September 1995, is also notable for being the only RHCP album to feature Dave Navarro.

The Jane's Addiction rocker became the replacement for their guitarist John Frusciante, who - unable to deal with the their success after Blood Sugar Sex Magik - quit the band halfway through their 1992 tour.

After leaving the Chili Peppers for the first time, Frusciante would on go be in the grips of his own serious heroin addiction, which left him impoverished and close to death.

This - alongside Kiedis's own struggles - would have made him all too aware of the destructive cycle of escapism, addiction, loneliness and depression, which he also tackles in their My Friends single from the same album.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - My Friends [Official Music Video]

Tearjerker might be one of Red Hot Chili Peppers' lesser-known tracks, on one of their lesser-known albums, but it stands out among fans as one of Kiedis' most poignant songs of all time.

Somehow both personal and universal, the track mourns the loss of an icon, while depicting a particularly painful time in the history of the band, and sees Kiedis empathise with the depression and addiction issues that led to Kurt Cobain's untimely death.

READ MORE: How This Is A Call saved Dave Grohl after the death of Kurt Cobain

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