Gone but not forgotten, Kurt Cobain left his mark
On April 8th 1994, an electrician named Gary Smith arrived to install a security system at a home on Lake Washington Boulevard in Seattle. He discovered Kurt Cobain dead in a room above the garage with a shotgun and a suicide note addressed to Cobain's imaginary childhood friend “Boddah”. The letter quotes Neil Young's famous lyric “it's better to burn out than to fade away”. Cobain had already been dead for days, it's estimated he actually died April 5th.
In early 1994 Cobain was troubled. His life and health were unravelling. His mixed feelings about stardom, chronic stomach pains, fatherhood, his addictions and several failed attempts at rehab were all taking their toll. In March in Rome, Cobain had overdosed on champagne and rohypnol. Unresponsive, he was rushed to a hospital and released 5 days later. His wife Courtney Love who was with him has said this was Kurt's first suicide attempt.
On March 18th in Seattle, Love called the police saying Cobain had locked himself in a room with a gun and was suicidal. Cobain insisted he wasn't suicidal and all he wanted to do was get away from Love.
A week later on March 25th, Love arranged an intervention with 10 musician friends, record executives and one of Cobain's closest friends Dylan Carlson. As expected Cobain was not happy, but by the end of the day had agreed to check into detox in Los Angeles where he arrived March 30th. He spent the day speaking with councillors and playing with his daughter Frances Bean, leaving no indication that he was such a troubled soul. It was the last time he would see his daughter.
The following night he stepped out for a cigarette, climbed the fence and flew back to Seattle. On the flight he sat next to Duff McKagen of Guns N' Roses. McKagen has said that he instincts told him that something was terribly wrong with Cobain. Cobain's family at this point had no idea where he was.
On April 2nd and 3rd, Cobain was spotted at several locations around Seattle. On the 3rd, still with no news of him, Love contacted a private investigator to find Cobain. Amidst rumours of Nirvana breaking up, the band pulled out of the Lollapalooza festival on April 7th. His body was found the next day.
Due to Nirvana's incredible success, Kurt Cobain became the biggest rock star of his generation, and consequently a reluctant figurehead. Even after success, he was a man who was still occasionally homeless and living in the back seat of his car. He couldn't seem to come to terms with who he had become.
As it is with many legends, in just a few short years he left an indelible mark and influenced the course of rock and roll in ways that have been seldom seen.
Off Rock contributor Mike Lang has worn out several copies of Nevermind. @theemikelang
Before the fame, Nirvana in 1988.