Frances Bean Cobain was a wee toddler when her famous father killed himself at his home on Lake Washington Boulevard more than 20 years ago. So it is understandable that she might be sensitive to pop singers like Lana Del Rey, who, she maintains, thinks it’s cool to romanticize the death of young musicians.
A bit of a firestorm has erupted over an interview Del Rey did in New Orleans with the Guardian earlier this month that centered on her breakthrough success and her bleak new album Ultraviolence.
When the conversation turned to a discussion of her heroes, she mentioned, among others, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Jimmi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. And then, catching the interviewer, Guardian editor Tim Jonze, completely off guard, Del Rey said, “I wish I was dead already.”
“But I do,” continued Del Rey, whose previous and equally disillusioned-with-life album is titled Born to Die.
“I do! I don’t want to have to keep doing this. But I am.”
Do what? Make music?
“Everything. That’s just how I feel. If it wasn’t that way, then I wouldn’t say it. I would be scared if I knew [death] was coming, but ...”
This rather jarring exchange prompted Frances Bean to write on Twitter, “The death of young musicians isn’t something to romanticize.” More tweets followed: “I’ll never know my father because he died young, and it becomes a desirable feat because people like you think it’s ‘cool.’ Well, it’s fucking not. Embrace life, because you only get one life. The people you mentioned wasted that life. Don’t be one of those people. You’re too talented to waste it away.”
After a Del Rey fan tweeted at Bean to “leave her the fuck alone,” the grunge icon’s daughter clarified and wrote, “I‘m not attacking anyone I have no animosity towards Lana. I was just trying to put things in perspective from personal experience.”
For her part, Del Rey – even before Bean initiated her Twitter tirade – expressed regret over her comment, and blamed The Guardian’s Tim Jonze. In her own series of since-deleted tweets, she said the interviewer asked “leading questions about death and persona.”
“I regret trusting The Guardian,” she wrote. “I didn’t want to do an interview, but the journalist was persistent. [He] was masked as a fan, but was hiding sinister ambitions and angles. Maybe he’s actually the boring one looking for something interesting to write about.”