27 Club – Episode 2/6: Kurt Cobain


Episode 2 – Kurt Cobain: The hypersensitive prince of the Grunge music scene of Seattle!

On April 5th, 1994, Kurt Cobain has passed away. It’s been now 20 years that he left us orphans, us, the children of the rock music and the grunge scene. 20 years, during which we kept wearing ripped jeans, listening to Nevermind and the MTV Unplugged Live in New York over and over, just to remind us that a great hypersensitive and depressed artist with evocative texts, went away that day.
The mystery still remains around his death. Even if the theory of a suicide by gunshot is the one adopted by the police investigators of Seattle, many fans still refuse to believe it and call it a murder, an orchestrated assassination of the singer.

The last days!

To understand this dark story, we have to go back in time, one month before Kurt’s death, on March 2nd, 1994, in Munich. The singer flew to Rome to get a treatment for his bronchitis and laryngitis. In the morning of March 4th, Courtney Love, his wife, found Kurt lying on the floor. He OD’d. Sent to the hospital, he spent the day in a coma. Courtney Love, in an interview for Rolling Stone magazine, said that this was his first suicide attempt. Theory still to this day refuted and denied by relatives, the doctors of the American hospital in Rome and the managers of the star.

On March 18th, 94, a new situation occurs in Seattle. Courtney calls 911 to report that Kurt was locked in a room with a gun and would have suicidal tendencies. Dispatched to the scene, the police confiscated several weapons and drugs belonging to the singer. Cobain at the time loudly proclaimed that he was not suicidal and had locked himself up just to escape his wife. Questioned by the police, Love admitted that she had never seen Kurt with a weapon or that he mentioned being suicidal.

kurt cobain

On March 25th, 94, still concerned about Kurt’s health, Love organizes an intervention to reason the singer on his drug addiction. Few friends of Cobain, members of his record label and Danny Goldberg his manager are present that day. At the end of the day, Kurt agrees to go to rehab even if he denied the need of it and also denied his state of self-destruction.

On March 30th, Kurt goes to a detox centre in Los Angeles. Just arrived, Cobain escape the detox centre and takes a plane to Seattle. On April 3rd, Courtney decides to hire a private investigator, Tom Grant, to locate the singer.

On April 8th, 1994, the lifeless body of Kurt Cobain was found at his home near Lake Washington in Seattle. He was found by an electrician named Gary Smith, hired by Love, who came by that morning, to install a security system. He thought that Cobain was asleep. The body was lying on the floor, a shotgun on the chest, the investigators quickly concluded to a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head, preceded by a massive consumption of heroin. The death certificate estimated the death of Kurt Cobain on the 5th of April 1994, at the age of 27. Nirvana’s lead singer pushes the doors of the 27 Club and enters the legend!

The murder theory is advanced!

Despite the official status of the singer’s death by suicide with a shotgun, many people can’t help but raise the argument of the murderous plot. There is enough strange evidence to suggest that Kurt did not commit a suicide but would have indeed been murdered.

There was the first the suicide note addressed to Boddah, his imaginary friend (see here the letter and its transcription).
Tom Grant, the private investigator hired by Courtney, had access to this letter. After studying it, Grant says that the singer had the desire to leave his wife, the city of Seattle and to stop the music. According to him, the letter was in no way a suicide note. Only the last lines, separated from the main text, might suggest a suicide note. Some noted the difference of handwriting on the last lines. Those lines would have been added post-mortem to disguise the murder as a suicide. Others confirm that the letter was entirely written by the singer. The official report will keep the second version.
We can note that Kurt’s letter cites the lyrics of a song by Neil Young “Hey Hey, My My”: “It’s better to burn out than fade away”. Prophetic message?
kurt cobain in front of a message board from a church
A second approach in the theory of the murder lies in the fact that Cobain had begun a divorce procedure which excluded Courtney of his will and wanted to leave his entire fortune to his daughter Frances. This is where Eldon Hoke steps in, an American musician. He is suspected of being involved in Kurt Cobain’s murder. He says in his latest interview that Love, in December 1993, would have come to see him at his record store and would have offered him $ 50,000 to kill Kurt. Passed to a lie detector, he obtained a score of 99.7% attesting the truth of his words. Two days after that interview, he was hit by a train in the middle of the night and killed. There were no witnesses to his death.

A final theory is advanced by Tom Grant. According to him, Michael Dewitt, the babysitter of Frances (daughter of Kurt and Courtney), would have killed Kurt because he was upset with the way Cobain treated Courtney.

None of these theories have been proven. Seattle police still officially maintains the suicide theory. However, there is a list of evidence and relatively strange facts that seem to confirm the theory of contract killings. Here are some examples:

* No prints were found on the shotgun even though Kurt was not wearing any gloves.
* An audio tape of Courtney Love was found, in which the latter mentions that the profits of Nirvana will increase after the singer’s death.
* No fingerprints on the pen which helped to write the suicide note.
* The shotgun was too long for Kurt to put it easily into his mouth.
* In a toxicology report it was mentioned that the level of heroin in Cobain’s blood was 1.52 milligrams per liter, more than 3 times the lethal dose. Also according to Tom Grant, with such a dose of heroin in the blood, Cobain would not have been able to pull the trigger. The dose was too strong, it would have served to neutralize the singer to shoot him and then disguise the murder as a suicide.
* A police report says that the singer had barricaded himself, but the electrician hired by Courtney, when he discovered the body, simply had to turn the handle of the door.

Whatever happened, suicide or murder, the case is apparently far from having revealed all its secrets. We will maybe never know the end of the story. Yet one thing is certain, on that April 5th, 1994, we lost a great star of rock music.

R.I.P Kurt.

For further information

In 2014 will be release a docudrama called “Soaked In Bleach”. It is based on archive footage and follows private investigator Tom Grant in his quest for the truth. The film directed by Benjamin Statler suggests that Courtney Love had planned the murder of the rock star. A project that may inflame passions and revive the debate on the conspiracy theory.

Two months before the death of Kurt, Youri Lenquette (photographer), took in Paris, the last official photoshoot of Nirvana. Here are some rather nice shots.

Intro: 27 Club
1st episode: Jim Morrison
3rd episode: Amy Winehouse
4th episode: Janis Joplin
5th episode: Robert Johnson
6th episode: Jimi Hendrix