The MTV 1992 VMA’s story of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain having an argument with Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose has been around for a long time. Former GNR manager Doug Goldstein shared some new details on how he believes Cobain behaved like a coward in a new Guns N’ Roses Central interview. Goldstein’s comments differ from other eye witnesses out there who previously spoke about the incident. Goldstein said the following.
“Look, Axl loved Kurt and wasn’t necessarily a big fan of Courtney. So me, Axl, and Stephanie Seymour are walking across the area where everybody is sitting and eating, and you hear is, ‘Oh look it’s Expletive Rose and his supermodel girlfriend!’ It was Courtney. Axl just went over and told Kurt, ‘Look, shut up your girlfriend or I’ll knock you out.’ None of the band members of Nirvana said anything until they walked out onstage, and Krist Novoselic is trying to make himself look like a tough guy. Really Kurt, where were you? You never came to our dressing room? If you have that much of a problem dude, bring it up.”
Below are excerpts from a Louder Sound retrospective on the incident.
Kurt Cobain: He [Axl] came strutting by with five of his huge bodyguards and a person with a movie camera.
Amy Finnerty: When Courtney saw Axl, she said: “Axl, Axl, do you wanna be the godfather to our child?” She was taunting him. You could tell by the tone of extreme sarcasm.
Kurt Cobain: Everyone laughed. We had a few friends around us, and he just stopped dead and started screaming…
Amy Finnerty: Axl came up right behind Kurt and I. He was genuinely mad.
Kurt Cobain: These were his words: “You shut your expletive up, or I’m taking you down to the pavement.” [laughs] So I turned to Courtney and said: “Shut up, expletive!” So I guess I did what he wanted me to do – be a man.
Amy Finnerty: Kurt’s tone was very sarcastic, so everybody laughed… at Axl basically, for making such a comment about a woman… especially because anybody who knew Kurt and Courtney knew that a) Kurt wasn’t that type of person and b)nobody could ever keep Courtney in line, so what was he thinking? I’d say Kurt handled that situation perfectly. He knew exactly what he was doing by turning to Courtney and saying that. It really lessened the tension in the room, allowed the rest of us to laugh a little bit. Then [Axl’s then girlfriend] Stephanie Seymour asked Courtney: “Are you a model?” and Courtney replied: “No. Are you a brain surgeon?” Axl didn’t seem to know how to respond, so he walked off. I leaned over to Kurt and said: “Wow, that was weird!” And he said: “I was really scared.” He wasn’t kidding. It was, like, scared of being beat up.
Tabitha Soren: Shortly afterwards, I walked through the backstage area. I saw a bunch of very large, muscular bodyguards in all-black T-shirts restraining Axl Rose. His girlfriend was looking very shaken, but at that moment, I didn’t even know who he had had an altercation with.
Kurt Loder: It was like two worlds colliding. That was sort of an important moment in the way fashions changed, and you really saw the culture of music going in a slightly different way.