​DIIV's Zachary Cole Smith Says Kurt Cobain Is No Longer His Role Model

The singer has opened up about his path to sobriety in a new interview
​DIIV's Zachary Cole Smith Says Kurt Cobain Is No Longer His Role Model
Photo: Zachary Chick
Earlier this year, DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith revealed that he was entering "long-haul inpatient treatment" to get clean. Now, he's opened up about the process of recovery in a new interview with the Denver Post.
He's picked up hobbies from his youth like skateboarding and Magic: The Gathering again and is working on new music, but Smith admits that his perception of one of his childhood idols has changed since entering rehab.
While the comparisons between himself and Kurt Cobain remain omnipresent (thanks to his darkly themed music, mop of dishevelled blonde hair, a high-profile rock star girlfriend, and drug use), Smith no longer considers the late Nirvana frontman a role model.
"For so long, he was a role model," he told the Denver Post. "But what kind of role model is this person who's read very few books and hasn't really changed at all in any profound way from when he was 17 years old, except to get caught up in addiction?"
He's still a fan of Nirvana's music (especially In Utero), but consciously has made a divide between the man and his art.
Elsewhere in the interview, Smith casts a critical eye on his own work, acknowledging that he'd skewed the narrative surrounding DIIV's last record, Is the Is Are, and apologized for shrugging off the realities of addiction.
"What I did on the last record really trivializes what people go through," he said. "To be like, 'Yep! I'm sober! Easy. Here's a record about that.' Getting sober and staying sober is [expletive] hard. It's [expletive] painful."
The DIIV frontman went on to say the band's next record will aim to express a more honest experience of addiction and sobriety. "It's easy to project an image on an album," he said. "But what if I just give them my actual self?"
Speaking to Exclaim! before Is the Is Are's release last year, Smith addressed the pressures of putting out music in the midst of a highly publicized personal problem.

"It was important for me though to make a good record for a lot of reasons. But mostly just to save my own name, so I wouldn't spend eternity as a footnote as the guy who got arrested for drugs," he said. "I think after that happened, if I didn't make a good record, we would have been a flash in the pan. My name wouldn't have been associated with music, it would have been associated with these more sordid things, which was a very terrifying prospect."