How Kurt Cobain Influenced Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly explains to Kerrang! how Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was an idol for him growing up.

How Kurt Cobain Influenced Machine Gun Kelly
Jonathan Weiner

Ahead of the release of his highly-anticipated pop-punk album Tickets To My Downfall on September 25, Machine Gun Kelly has revealed to Kerrang! how Kurt Cobain’s emotion-fuelled guitar playing inspired him – both growing up, and on record.

Discussing the power of three simple chords and why technical proficiency should never overpower the feel of a song, he jokes, “Not all of us are born with fingers that move like fucking Ferraris, homie.

Read this: Machine Gun Kelly: From rap devil to pop-punk god

“Some of us are just fuck-ups who look normal and wear shitty clothes because we can’t afford good ones, and we’re angry and we just wanna take out our angst and shit with a guitar. I’m not inspired by how good you are, it’s almost like the opposite. I wanna feel you.”

Praising the Nirvana frontman and his influence directly, MGK continues: “Kurt didn’t give a fuck how he sounded, he gave a fuck how he felt. He was like, ‘Dude, my stomach hurts today. I feel like shit. I hate this song that you all love so much. I’m gonna play it terribly. I’m not even gonna sing the right lyrics to this shit. Fuck you!’

“That is how I felt when I was 13, waking up and my dad’s still asleep in bed, and the kids that I went to school with fucking hated me, and I’d worn the same clothes for five days, and I was tall, skinny and didn’t fit in. I was a basement; where the fuck was I going to learn how to play like Steve Vai? I couldn’t! I was broke. No-one gave a fuck about me. Give me three chords, though, and tell me to show you how I feel, and I bet you I will.

“Fuck the people who think that your technicalities are what defines you,” he adds. “You know robots can do things really fucking good, right? But a robot can’t make you feel. I bet you a robot can play the most technical guitar solo than anybody on this fucking planet, but it can play it better than Kurt at the Reading Festival in [1992].”

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