Machine Gun Kelly on Kurt Cobain’s influence on him: “He didn’t give a fuck how he sounded, he gave a fuck how he felt”

Machine Gun Kelly has spoken about Kurt Cobain’s influence on him, saying the Nirvana frontman resonated with him as a teenager.

The rapper and singer, whose real name is Colson Baker, spoke in a new interview about how the late grunge icon proved being technically proficient wasn’t the most important thing in music.

“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,” he told Kerrang. “I’m not inspired by how good you are, it’s almost like the opposite. I wanna feel you.


“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!”

Machine Gun Kelly. CREDIT: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Speaking about how he related to Cobain when he was young, Baker explained: “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 [living in] 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.”

He added that being technically skilled shouldn’t define a musician, arguing: “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].”


Machine Gun Kelly is set to release his new pop-punk album ‘Tickets To My Downfall’ next Friday (September 25). Earlier this month he was forced to change the record’s artwork after the artist commissioned to design the sleeve referenced a photo by Sen Mitsuji without approval from the photographer.