People don't suspect KURT COBAIN is secretly alive the way they do with Elvis or 2Pac.  But I'll tell you this:  If Cobain IS still alive, he's probably not hiding in plain sight by working at Denny's.

Early Monday, police in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina found a man drunkenly passed out in the hallway of a hotel.

When they woke him up, he told them he was KURT COBAIN.  And actually, he does kinda look a little like Kurt Cobain.

But when the cops searched his wallet, they found he WASN'T actually Cobain.  He was 22-year-old Ernest Evens of Conway, South Carolina . . . who works at a DENNY'S and not as the frontman of one of the world's most legendary bands.

Ernest was arrested for public intoxication AND for providing police with a false name.