10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 9, 2004
Daily Arts Editor
feel guilty beyond word
things. For example, whe
sta e lights go out
ofth d begins, it t
t mei yin which it di for.
die who seemed to lov
relish and adoration for th
W tsomething I totall:
envy. The fact that I can'
y one of you, it simply isn't
or m 'worst crime I3
of wo to pull people
g it,pr as ifI m hav-
kove everybody. So much that it
s me sofucking sad."
Speaking from the tongue of
rienced simpleton who obvious
rather be an emasculated, in e
complainer, this note should be pretty
easy to understand. All the warnings
from the Punk Rock 101 courses over
the years since my first introduction to
the, shall we say, ethi ,IIyolved with
independence and emb t ofyour
community, it's prov true. I
haven'tfelt the excitem ening to
as well as creating must >ng with
really writing something, jr too many
Kurt Cobain had been missing for sxdays.
On the morning of April 8, 1994, sh' e
9 a.m., Gary Smith, an electrician wo e
area, discovered Cobain dead in hi,
Washington state. Though police, private
gators and friends were on his trail, Cobain lay
there for nearly two and half days. He was iden-
tifiable only by his fingerprints.
n March 5, 1994, Cobain awoke from a
coma after overdosing on a combina-
tion of prescription drugs and alcohol.
- ana had been touring Europe for almost
diree weeks at the time and Cobain was suffer-
ing from throat irritation, causing him to can-
cel a handful of shows in Germany. He took
jet to Rome and checked into a hotel with is
wife and 1 -month-old daughter Frances Bean.
He wa d out of the hotel unconscious
the n ng.
Th° s Rohypnol, an addictive, valium
subst being taken for his stomach, and the
drink was champagne. Nirvana anagement
was quick to squash any ideal Cobain was
attempting suicide, noting e Overdose was
strictly accidental. According to a European
ire, Cobain drifted in and out of con-
' ess for nearly 24 hours before coming
the coma completely the afternoon of
oled into grunge.
n September '93; Nirvanay for the
road again, and launched tfull tour
sn the band exploded i.Struck
by O iate success of Cobain
orig no need to tours but in
'93 again was nece sauy.
CO grown hateful towards being on
the road sit e late '91. After a disastrous show atI
Nirvana had been Pigeon
hom . intervention counsel
of' ion, Love threatene
Cob ear and Novoselic
woul e band if an didn't e
into r . V irst, Cobawilling to
admit he had a drug proble o believe
that his recent behavior h-destruc-
tive. By the end of the tense session,
however, Cobain's resolve had wea ened. He
agreed to enter a detox program in Los Angeles
t.hat day. Cobain never boarded the plane.
anwhile in Seattle, friends of Cobain's
oted that he visited his ar drug dealers
art state of incoherenc ' tler told
Rolling Stone, "he cons are my
friends against me?' while around."
He stayed in Seattle for fiveiore dys, before
finally agreeing to go to Los Angeles.
Bef he , however, he visited longtime
friend D .la lson. Cobain asked C41son for
a gun, -there had been tresp
his pr o rtnrecent days and want
protected if they should come back.
told the Seattle Times, "He looked normal. 14c
loaned him guns before; I figured he didn't
want to buy one because the cops would confis-
cate it from him." Calson tok Cobain to buy a
shotgun, which he later stashed in the house.
Cobain spent a dizzying week in L.A. before
returning to Seattle, and friends and family were
quick to notice something was wrong. When he
returned to Seattle, he was a wreck, according
to eyewitnesses. Two separate sightings, accord-
ing to the Sattle Times, put Cobain in a park
near his hdme wearing a large jacket and hat.
Investigators reported that Cobain also spent
time at his second home in Carnation, Wash.
There, they found a sleeping bag with an ash-
tray and single piece of paper next to it. On the
paper was a drawing of a sun with the phrase,
"cheer up" underneath. The ashtray contained
In the year leading up to his death, Cobain Chicago's Ar room, Cobain sat down
and his band Nirvana went through more than with Rolling S fisher David Fricke for an
most bands would endure in a lifetime. By the historic interviP 'ed by bad acoustics and
time of his death in '94, Nirvana had pushed technical failures, the show set Cobain off, and
millions of units, sold out venues across the as a result, he took out his anger on the Chicago
country and become bigger than anything crowd. He yelled, he spit and he refused to do
Cobain had ever imagined ... or wanted. The what they cheered for: the hits. During the int
year preceding his death would prove to be view, Fricke asked Cobain why he didn't
unreasonably difficult for Cobain as his drug their most well-known single, "Smells Likee
habit escalated, his band would undergo intense Spirit," to which Cobain prsponded, "I'm '
criticism and his relationship with wife Courtney iterested in that kind of stuff ae it got main-
Love would deconstruct. sqram, it was over. I'm just tied of being
embarrassed by it."
SOMETHING INT11FWAY sthe winter of '93 Cobain had grown dis-
enchanted with the success Nevermind had gar-
In January 1993, Nirvana annot ced they nered and the effect it was having on his music.
were finishing work on their third°full-length The media, the fans and the critics had all
album. Bassist Krist Novoselic told Rolling focused so much on "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Stone, "It's not going to be as glossy and candy that it began to eclipse other, more obscure
as Nevermind. It's going to be more raw." songs in Nirvana's catalog. As a result, Cobain
Hoping to capture the raw, visceral sound of began to feel uncomfortable on stage and
March 5. They reported that his first request
was a strawberry milkshake and to "get these
fucking tubes out of my nose."
The incident in Rome was alarming to many,
including those close to Cobain who'd known
about his severe stomach pains, which he
lamed for using the combination in the first
lace. Cobain's family And friends had worried
out his depression adchronic drug use for
years and his experimentation was well docu-
mented. Cobain was a user of nearly every type
Those around Cobain claimed that he had gone
Insane. Friends and family noted an increase In
violence between Cobain and Love and their
growing distaste for each other's drug habits.
their early years, Nirvana courted producer
Steve Albini to assist with their new project. In
April, however, comments Albini made about
the album stirred up controversy. He remarked
that David Geffen-owned DGC Records, would
never release the record he had finished. He told
the Chicago Tribune, "Geffen and the band's
Cobain adamantly denied
management hate the record. I have no faith this
record will be released."
Albini painted a picture of a major music con-
glomerate that'd grasped onto Nirvana's legs and
was holding on for dear life. The mere idea of
change would inevitably sink the record. Cobain
was confident the record would be released, as it
was: Raw, energetic Nirvana that wasn't heard
on Nevermind or any of their other releases to
that point. It was a sound that wasn't marketable
at the time.
Albini put Nirvana on the spot. Despite the
huge commercial success of Nevermind, which
sold more than four million copies in its first
two years, the band remained a credible indie
act; Nirvana's next album was sure to be closely
scrutinized for any signs of commercial compro-
would often throw his guitar and walk away of drug available and was deeply involved with
during a show. heroin and painkillers.
Cobain consistently hinted at the fact that the However, it wasn't until a week after his
band was exhausted and that they had gotten to a return to Seattle that those close to him felt the
point where things were becoming repetitious. need to resort to drastic measures. Those
Cobain grew fearful of the band's longevity not- around Cobain claimed that he had gone
ing that he and his bandmates could only do so insane. Friends and family noted an increase in
violence between Cobain and Love and their
growing distaste for each other's drug habits.
rampant accusations of Love was often forced to spend nights away
from the house to escape Cobain's erratic
behavior. Cobain grew increasingly paranoid
that Love was having an affair.
His life with Nirvana was getting just as dis-
much before they realized their own limitations. oriented. According to MTV, Love said that
Unlike his idols - The Pixies, R.E.M. and The Cobain had claimed after Rome, "he couldn't
Melvins - who fused multiple genres, he and play with them anymore." She added, "he just
Nirvana had been pigeonholed into "grunge." wants to play with Michael Stipe and R.E.M."
Rolling Stone's Neil Strauss reported in '94 that
"Sometimes I have feel like I should Cobain and Stipe had a musical project in the
have a punch-in time-clock before I works, but nothing was recorded.
walk out on stage. I've tried everything On March 18, things escalated further. After
within my power to appreciate it, and I being summoned by Love, police arrived on the
do. God believe me, I do, but it's not scene of a domestic dispute. Cobain had locked
enough. I appreciate the fact that we himself in a room with a .38 caliber revolver
have entertained and effected [sic] so and claimed "he was going to kill himself."
many people. I must be one of those According to the officer's report, the gun was
narcissists who only appreciates things confiscated with a variety of other small hand-
when they're alone. I'm too sensitive. I guns and a bottle of unidentified pills.
need to be slightly numb in order to By this time, Cobain'sfamily; friends and
regain the enthusiasm4-once had as a mnageme.t begant .eprocess of getting an
two brands of cigarettes - one was Cobain's,
the other wasn't.
Sometime before the morning of April 5,
Cobain barricaded himself in the room above
his garage by wedging a chair under the door
handle. Evidence suggests that Cobain took off
his cap, the same one seen in the park, and dug
into his drug stash before penning a note. He
addressed the note to Boddah - his imaginary
friend - and placed it on a table in the room
before lying down, placing the shotgun on his
chin and using his thumb, pulling the trigger
and ending his life.
"I hada good marriage and for that
I'm grated. But, since the age of
seven, I had grown hateful of humans
in general only because it seems so
easy for people to get along with
empathy. Only because I love and feel
for people too much, I guess. Thank
you all from the pit of my burning, nau-
seous stomach for your letters and con-
cern over the past year. I'm pretty
much an erratic, moody person and I
don't have the passion anymore. Peace,
love, empathy, Kurt Cobain."
Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, spent three years in
the spotlight and released as many studio
a.albumthg heir nact , on modern music