In his book Heavier Than Heaven A Biography of Kurt Cobain, Charles R. Cross writes: Kurt had always believed that recognition for his talent would cure the many emotional pains that marked his early life; becoming successful had proven the folly of this and increased the shame he felt that his booming popularity coincided with an escalating drug habit.
Kurt Cobain and his band, Nirvana, changed the face of Rock’n Roll in 1987 when they hit the big time with the track Smells Like Teen Spirit. This song took Cobain from a man sleeping under a bridge in a box to Rock superstar. Ironically Cobain would come to loathe the song and would later refuse to play it in Nirvana’s sets. This conflict of the contradiction between what his fans expected of Nirvana and what Kurt wanted from Nirvana caused him to spiral into a deep depression and excessive drug use. He expressed these feelings about the music and his band members when he said weeks before his death “I hate it….I can’t play with them anymore.” Many believe his deep depression along with the chronic drug use drove Kurt to take his own life on April 5, 1994. Others believe it was a murder, but that is a subject for another day. Below is a one month series of incidents that lead up to the Cobain’s death:
March 3, 1994 – Courtney Love joins Cobain in Rome, Italy where he is convalescing from a sudden internal throat injury. They enjoy a nice dinner with champagne. During the night of March 3 Cobain slips into a drug induced coma. Love finds him on the floor at 5:30 am unresponsive. He was taken to a local hospital where it was found he had consumed 50 pills of the drug Rohynol, (roofies or date rape drug) a drug 10 times more potent than Valium. Cobain’s stomach was pump and he regained consciousness.
March 18, 1994 – Police officers respond to a call from Love. She told them that Cobain had locked himself in a room with a 38 caliber revolver and was threatening to kill himself. The police were able to convince Cobain to come out and turn over the weapon. They confiscated the weapon and a variety of unidentified pills.
Soon after this incident, Cobain’s friends and family members began preparation for a full scale intervention.
March 25, 1994 – Friends, band members, and Love attempt the intervention. Love and Cobain’s band members threaten that if he didn’t go to rehab, they would break up the band.
March 30, 1994 – Cobain goes to a Seattle gun store and request the purchase of a 20 gauge shotgun. When asked why he was requesting the gun he said that he was protecting himself against trespassers. He was granted his request for the purchase and left the gun shop with the 20 gauge and a box of shells.
The local police believe that Cobain dropped off the gun and ammo at his Seattle home and proceeded to check himself into a rehab clinic in Del Ray, California.
April 1, 1994 – Cobain calls Love from rehab and says “I want you to know whatever happens, I want you to know that you made a really good record”. An hour after that call Cobain went out for a smoke and proceeded to jump over a 6 feet brick wall to escape from rehab.
Once Love found out he had left the rehab clinic, Love cancelled his credit cards and hired a private investigator to track him down. (Remember I will address any questionable activity on the part of Love in future posts)
Police have said that they believe Cobain wandered around the town for 2 days. Locals reported seeing him in a local park looking ill and wearing shabby clothes.
April 5, 1994 – Cobain walked to his Seattle home and climbed the stairs to the greenhouse above his garage. He removed the hunter’s cap that he was wearing for disguise. He propped a stool against the greenhouse entry french doors. He then wrote his one page suicide note in red ink. He took a chair to a window that overlooked the Puget Sound. He places his belongings on the floor, including his wallet with his Washington driver’s licence clearly exposed. He then went to the chair by the window with his newly purchased 20 gauge shotgun in hand. He sat at the window with the barrel of the gun against his head and his thumb on the trigger.
April 8, 1994 – An electrician contracted to install a security system for Cobain’s home enters the greenhouse above the garage and finds Cobain lying on his back on the floor. At first the electrician thought Cobain was asleep but he then saw his face. Cobain could only be identified by his finger prints.
One of the excerpts from Cobain’s suicide letter found near him on the floor read: “Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concerns during the past years. I’m too much an erratic, moody, baby! I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”