‘Shut your b***h up’ Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose’s awkward behind stage battle

Nirvana perform 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' on TOTP 1991

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Despite being two of the defining bands of the 1990s, Nirvana and Guns N Roses couldn’t have been further apart. GNR’s lead singer, Axl Rose started out as a fan of his rival’s group, but the love wasn’t mutual. Cobain continually threw shade at the band during interviews, leading to Rose infamously calling him out as a “f*****g junkie” during a gig. It reached a boiling point in 1992 when the pair met backstage with their wives in tow.

Nirvana had been on the scene for a couple of years but exploded into popularity when they released the album Nevermind in 1991. It drew the attention of the rock world and beyond – including Rose.

He was a big fan of Nirvana and was keen to see the two groups collaborate. However, Cobain didn’t want anything to do with GNR and Rose’s repeated attempts at a collaboration seemed to aggravate him even more. At this time, he was taking countless interviews and in many of them he called out Rose’s group.

In one infamous statement, he said: “We’re not your typical Guns ‘N’ Roses type of band that has absolutely nothing to say.”

Cobain was critical of GNR’s lyrics, as they didn’t align with his progressive and feminist views. Eventually, Rose hit back. 

On stage, he called out the grunge icons, particularly Cobain and his wife Courtney Love. He brutally called them “f*****g junkies” and even said: “If the baby is born deformed, I think they both ought to go to prison.”

During the 1992 MTV Music Video Awards, the two stars bumped into each other backstage. They were joined by Love and the Paradise City singer’s wife Stephanie Seymour. 

Mocking Rose, Love asked him if he would be the godfather to their new baby, Francis Bean Cobain. At first, the ensuing confrontation was between the singer’s wives, but it quickly escalated to the rockstars themselves.

Rose responded with threats: “You shut your b***h up, or I’m taking you down to the pavement!” 

Cobain couldn’t help but respond. 

The Nirvana singer turned to his wife and joked: “Shut up, b***h!” 

But the night’s awkward encounters didn’t end there. 

Later during the show, GNR’s bassist Duff Mckagan and his security repeatedly harassed Nirvana’s drummer and bassist, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, respectively.

Clearly taunting the other group, Grohl then sang “Hi Axl,” into his mic during their performance of Lithium.

Regardless of their issues, Rose still wanted the two groups to put aside their differences and come together.

There were plenty of opportunities for the legendary bands to reconcile, as well, with Rose even inviting Nirvana to go on tour with them despite the feud.

Looking back, years later Grohl recalled: “Guns N Roses was about to do this massive stadium tour with Metallica, and they wanted us to open. So Axl had been calling Kurt nonstop. One day we’re walking through an airport and Kurt says, ‘Fuck. Axl Rose won’t stop calling me.’ I think it represented something bigger. Nirvana didn’t want to turn into Guns N’ Roses. So, Kurt started talking s**t in interviews, and then Axl started talking back. It went back and forth like tenth-grade bulls**t.”

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