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article image15 Years Later, We Remember Grunge Rocker Kurt Cobain

By Carolyn E. Price     Apr 6, 2009 in Entertainment
It has been 15 years now since 27-year-old Kurt Cobain ran away from a treatment center in Los Angeles, flew to his 'heart' home in Seattle, and first shot himself up with heroin, and then shot himself to death with a shotgun.
Kurt Cobain was just one of the long line of 27-year-old rock stars to blaze like a shooting star through Earth's atmosphere to gloriously high heights, only to extinguish (themselves mostly) and die at a tender age. Brian Jones. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. He was in good company, indeed.
Cobain was a member of the group Nirvana, an alternative rock band who was based in Seattle, Washington. Grunge rock, as the rock genre of the Gen X'ers became known, became hugely popular in the early '90s, mostly because of the music of Cobain's band Nirvana, Alice and Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. All these bands came out of the same Seattle grunge scene. As Nirvana's lead singer, Cobain became known as the spokesman of a generation (Generation X) with their monster hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
However, as we all know, Cobain was a tortured soul who was bipolar and suffered from manic depression. He was also a drug addict, who had run away from the Exodus Recovery Center a few days before and after administering a lethal dose of heroin to himself, took a shotgun that a friend had bought for him just days prior, put it under his chin and pulled the trigger.
Cobain's body was found a few days later by a repairman who was at his home to install security lighting for the rocker. The repairman found his body and a suicide note that was secured to a potted plant with a pen tabbed through it. At one point in the note, Cobain quoted the lyric "It's better to burn out than to fade away." from Neil Young's "My, My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)".
Cobain's suicide note was said to have had a profound impact on the Canadian recording artist, and there were reports that Young had been trying to contact Cobain by telephone in the days just prior to his suicide. Young and his band Crazy Horse, recoded a few tracks off of their 1994 album Sleeps with Angels in Cobain's memory. The tone of the album has been described by many as being "dark and brooding".
In the book "Shakey -- A Neil Young Biography", Young is quoted as saying:
What that suicide has done is return me to my roots. Makes me go back and investigate where I started. Where I came from.
Why am I here and why is he not here? Does my music suffer because I survived?
The Nirvana cover band Nevermind, will be playing a show this coming Good Friday, April 10th, in Seattle. The show is trying to raise money for the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee, whose mission is to build a youth center and memorial park in Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen.
Another excerpt from Cobain's last written words:
I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy and a daughter who reminds me too much of what i used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function. I can't stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I've become.
The wife Cobain refers to above is Courtney Love, another truly troubled soul, and the "Frances" he refers to is their beloved daughter, Frances Bean.
Me? I'm still singing "mashed potatoes" as one of the lines. Almost 20 years later and that is still all I can hear.
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