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Exploring Chad Cobain’s life offers a unique view into the complex dynamics of the Cobain family. Chad Cobain is the half-brother of the legendary Kurt Cobain, born and raised after Kurt’s parents’ divorce

We uncover a story of love, separation, and occasional reunions as we explore Chad Cobain’s upbringing and interactions with Kurt Cobain. 

Join us on the journey through the life of Chad Cobain, from being the brother that no one knows to being the guy who once owns Kurt Cobain’s iconic Fender Skystang I.

Kurt, his father, his stepmother, and her two children moved into a house together. Kurt initially liked his stepmother, who gave him the attention he needed. In January 1979, his stepmother gave birth to a boy, Chad Cobain.

Who is Chad Cobain?

After Kurt Cobain’s parents, Wendy Cobain and Donald Leland Cobain, divorced in 1975 when Kurt was 8, Donald married Jenny Westeby. Jenny had two children from a previous marriage, Mindy and James, and soon, a baby would born. Kurt Cobain had a happy childhood until his parents divorced. After the divorce, he was no longer the center of attention and moved to a house in Montesano, where he shared a life with a family of 6 people.

Chad Cobain was born in January 1979 and is Kurt Cobain’s half-brother from his father’s side. He was born to Donald Cobain and his second wife, Jenny. Chad Cobain is considerably younger than Kurt; when Chad was born, Kurt was a month away from turning 12. Kurt Cobain’s birthday is February 20th, 1967.

A growing frustration with authority marked Kurt Cobain’s teenage years. He clashed with adults and reportedly bullied a classmate. These struggles led his father and stepmother to seek professional help. The therapist recommended a more stable home environment. As a result, in June 1979, Kurt’s mother, Wendy Cobain, gave custody to his father. Unfortunately, Kurt’s rebellious streak proved too much for his father to handle alone. Kurt Cobain would move between family members and friends for four years.

Kurt’s relationship with his siblings and step-siblings became more balanced as he grew older. Kurt Cobain always adored his half—brother Chad because he loved babies. Kurt remained close with his sister Kim Cobain and half-sister Brianne O’Connor, but his connection with half-brother Chad Cobain was more distant. The distance stemmed from Kurt leaving his father’s home as a teenager.

Kurt Cobain and Chad Cobain’s paths only crossed briefly in 1992 at a Nirvana concert in Seattle, the first time since Frances Bean Cobain’s birth. Kurt Cobain faced a double dose of anxiety. Death threats loomed, and he also had to navigate an awkward family reunion. Chad Cobain, who was 13 then, attended with their father, Don. Though Kurt Cobain held fond memories of Chad Cobain as a young child, the time apart made reconnecting as adults difficult.

The circumstances could have been better. Kurt Cobain was surrounded by his wife Courtney, daughter Frances, and many of his mother’s relatives (many of Wendy’s siblings remained close to Don). As usual, tension crackled between Wendy and Don. This reunion, riddled with awkwardness, highlighted the years of lost connection.

Kurt signed a poster for his half-brother, introducing him to everyone backstage as “his stepbrother.” The stage where Nirvana would play was the same one where, just ten years before, Kurt Cobain attended his first rock concert—Sammy Hagar with Quarterflash.

Later, in December 1993, Chad Cobain attended the legendary Nirvana concert that would be immortalized with ‘Live & Loud,’ recorded in Seattle and broadcast by MTV. This was one of Nirvana’s best live performances ever.

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Earnie Bailey is known for having been Kurt Cobain’s guitar technician. About Bailey, in an MTV interview, Kurt Cobain said, “Earnie Bailey, our guitar friend….he can fix anything, a blender, a guitar…he’s great“.

Ironically, this very same Earnie Bailey interviewed Kurt Cobain’s half-brother, Chad Cobain. The interview aimed to talk a little about one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite guitars, the Fender Mustang known as “SkyStang I.”

The interview begins with Chad Cobain saying that he never experienced Nirvana as Kurt Cobain’s brother but rather as a fan of the Seattle band. Watch the interview in the video above.

Kurt Cobain’s Fender “Skystang I” Sold on Auction for  $1,587,500

Everyone remembers the famous Fender ‘Skystang I’ during the ‘In Utero’ tour. Kurt Cobain also used this guitar at Nirvana’s last show on 1 March 1, 1994, at Terminal 1 in Munich, Germany. This legendary guitar, owned by Chad Cobain, has traveled in various exhibitions and, more recently, was also on display at MoPOP in Seattle until 2023.

After Kurt Cobain died in 1994, Courtney Love, Kurt’s widow, gifted Chad Cobain a guitar previously owned by Kurt. While Chad reportedly learned guitar after receiving the gift, he acknowledged he wasn’t as skilled as his brother.

The Fender ‘Skystang I’ was sold for $1,587,500 via Julien’s Auctions in Nashville on November 18th, 2023. The winning bidder was a Japan-based businessman called Mitsuru Sato.

What Does Chad Cobain Do for a Living?

In 2024, Chad Cobain still works as a Gaming Executive Director and Partner at COLOR.

On Chad Cobain’s LinkedIn page, you can read his comments about what he does:

I’m a film school kid that likes to play video games. With no intended purpose, I somehow managed to turn that into a career where I get to create awesome marketing content for some of the biggest IPs in the game industry. I’ve been with COLOR since it’s humble beginning in 2016 where we’ve since grown to more than 100 of the most creative, inspiring, and weird people imaginable.

Most recently, I’ve taken the Executive Director role on COLOR’s burgeoning gaming division – comprised of a specialized team of creative game nerds who live and breath game culture with the intention of taking over the world.

Nirvana – MTV Live and Loud 1993 (Full Concert)

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Are There Any Documentaries or Books About Kurt Cobain’s Family?

Yes, documentaries and books have delved into Kurt’s family background and relationships, offering insights into his personal life and influences. Some notable ones include “Montage of Heck,” a documentary directed by Brett Morgen, and “Heavier Than Heaven,” a biography by Charles R. Cross.

What Were Some of the Hardships Kurt Faced as a Youth?

In addition to his parents’ divorce, poverty, and frequent moves reportedly contributed to a sense of instability. He was also diagnosed with ADHD.

What Influenced Kurt Cobain’s Music Beyond Grunge?

He was a huge fan of punk rock like The Buzzcocks and The Melvins while also drawing inspiration from classic rock giants like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

Did Kurt Cobain Express Himself Creatively in Ways Other Than Music?

Absolutely! He was a skilled visual artist, filling notebooks with drawings and paintings. Some of his artwork has been exhibited and published.

How Did Heroin Addiction Impact Kurt Cobain’s Life and Music?

The addiction caused physical and emotional pain, reflected in Nirvana’s darker music. It also strained his relationships and contributed to his later struggles.

Are There Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Kurt Cobain’s Suicide?

Some persist, but there’s no credible evidence to support them. The official investigation concluded it was a suicide.

Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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