Kurt Cobain’s suicide note was supposed to explain why he ended his life. But, it only created more space for controversies and conspiracies.
Legendary Nirvana frontman killed himself with the shotgun on April 5, 1994. Part of the haunting and heartbreaking images from the crime scene are still hidden away from the public.
One of the final notes said:
“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
But quoting Neil Young’s song is not the part that has the world talking, almost three decades after the music scene was changed forever.
The In-depth Insight Into Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Note
The note starts with Boddah. It was Kurt’s imaginary friend while he was growing up.
In the first three paragraphs, Cobain was talking about fame. It was no secret that Cobain hated his lifestyle, and his heroin abuse was only getting stronger.
Cobain mentioned Freddie Mercury, citing that he loved the crowds, and Kurt was envious. He did not want to rip off people and pretend anymore.
Then he mentioned his wife, Courtney Love, calling her an angel.
To this day, people are skeptical about this part. For one, many close to Kurt claim that he was ready to end the marriage to Hole’s musician.
Cobain then explained that he hated humans since he was a child. And while he stated he was grateful for everything, Kurt said he had no passion left in him.
Many suggested that the last few lines, where he talked to his wife and their daughter Francis Bean Cobain, were tempered.
On April 10, 1994, Courtney Love’s reading of the suicide note was played. The vigil ended, and Courtney stayed to comfort fans, giving away Kurt’s clothes and other memorabilia.
Universities in the States had signs:
“The day that music died.”
And that was supposed to be the end of it. Cobain was 27, just like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and many other celebrated musicians.
A week later, Richard Lee aired the first episode of a series Kurt Cobain Was Murdered.
That is when the conspiracy theories exploded worldwide.
Cobain As The Voice Of One Of The Most Significant Music Movements In History
In the late 80s, the Seattle music scene was booming. Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Mother Love Bone were about to take over the world.
These bands were authentic, raw, and someone decided to call the scene grunge. So, we had these fantastic musicians, all hanging out together, sharing tips and drugs, and living to create music.
They were reliving the golden singer/songwriting era of the 70s. And while everything seemed possible, in 1991, Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone overdosed at the age of 24. It was the end of innocence and the formation of Pearl Jam.
Alice in Chains was the first grunge band to go gold. But, Nirvana soon followed. People were connecting with the band’s punk rock sound and the charismatic, humble-looking Kurt.
Kurt was not hiding that his life was full of tragedies, and his mental health issues combined with excessive drug use led to his early grave.
As Cobain’s suicide note implies, no one from the grunge era was prepared for that kind of global worshiping.
Soon after Kurt’s death, Layne Staley stopped performing due to excessive drug use. He overdosed on a speedball in 2002.
Mike Starr overdosed in 2010.
Chris Cornell killed himself in 2017.
And that is just a part of it. The Seattle scene was magnificent, full of talents, but drugs and depression were everywhere.
These rock gods will always have a special place in people’s hearts. Yet, the most puzzling and shocking death to this day is Cobain’s suicide.
Courtney Love – Victim Of Bad Press Or Black Widow?
Only a few months ago, F.B.I. released a 10-page file on the death of Kurt Cobain. Many stated that the Seattle police department did not do its job correctly back in 1994, claiming they only saw Cobain as another junkie.
They revisited the case two decades later. After the second investigation, the department called the F.B.I.
Not only are many people convinced that Cobain was murdered, but many actually believe that Courtney Love was behind it.
Mark Lanegan, a longtime friend of Cobain and another legend of the Seattle scene, told Rolling Stone:
“I never knew Cobain to be suicidal. I just knew he was going through a tough time.”
RHCP frontman Antony Kedis wrote in his autobiography:
“Kurt’s death was unexpected … It was an emotional blow, and we all felt it. I don’t know why everyone on earth felt so close to that guy; he was beloved and endearing and inoffensive in some weird way.”
The biggest argument against suicide is the work of private investigator Tom Grant.
Tom Grant and Soaked in Bleach
Grant believes that the suicide note was Cobain’s farewell to the music industry and his bandmates.
In 2015, Grant released a documentary, Soaked in Bleach. It explores how and why Kurt couldn’t commit suicide. The documentary includes dramatization, but more importantly, interviews with people associated with the case.
Among them are ex Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, and Grant’s own recorded conversations with Rosemary Carroll, Cobain and Love’s attorney, and Dylan Carlson.
All theories start and end with Courtney Love. But it doesn’t prove that she was behind the death of Cobain. And speaking about her troubles, Love stated:
“Just marrying [him] created a mythology around me that I didn’t expect for myself because I had a very controlled, five-year plan about how I was going to be successful in the rock industry. Marrying Kurt, it all kind of went sideways in a way that I could not control and I became seen in a certain light–a vilified light that made Yoko Ono look like Pollyanna–and I couldn’t stop it.”
Despite the negativity, Hole’s album Live Through This, released on April 12, 1994, was a success. And people saw it as another proof that Courtney was guilty.
Kurt Cobain’s Rome Experience
Cobain suffered chronic bronchitis and stomach pains most of his life. He was only 13 when he started smoking weed and then started drinking.
His first experience with heroin was in 1986, and it never stopped. He stated many times that drugs help him with the identified stomach ache. He once stated:
“It started with three days in a row of doing heroin, and I don’t have a stomach pain. That was such a relief”.
Some of his friends disagree, stating that heroin withdraw was causing the pain.
On March 3, 1994, Cobain was in Rome with his wife. He overdosed on champagne and Rohypnol, but the ambulance arrived on time. Due to his popularity, his record company claimed that it was an accident. Love stated it was not.
On March 18, Love dialed 911. She told the officers that her husband had locked himself in a room with a 38-caliber revolver and said he would kill himself. The officers confiscated four guns, along with a bottle of pills. Later that night, Cobain told them that he hadn’t planned to take his own life.
Just over a month after the Rome incident, Kurt injected Mexican black tar heroin and put the shotgun in his mouth.
Some argue it was impossible to be that high and be capable of using the shotgun. Others claim that Cobain’s addiction was so far along that Cobain could handle the amounts of Valium and heroin found in his system.
Kurt Cobain’s Lost Days
Cobain’s suicide note aside, many are still wondering what happened between his escape from the rehab center and his decision to kill himself.
His longtime friend Dylan Carlson was with Cobain when he bought the shotgun. Carlson was the one who borrowed him 300 dollars for the weapon. Kurt then left for rehab in Los Angeles.
He underwent a detox program at the Exodus Recovery Centre on March 30, 1994. After one night at the facility, the Nirvana frontman climbed a six-foot brick wall, took a cab, and was on the plane to Seattle.
On his flight home, Kurt met Duff McKagan from Guns’n’Roses. He later said that he knew something was not right.
On April 4, Cobain’s mother, Wendy O’Connor, filed a missing person’s report. She was worried for her son’s safety and said he was suicidal.
Love hired private investigator Tom Grant to find her missing husband.
Neighbors claim that they saw Cobain in his final days, looking ill. Allegedly, he spent a night in his summer home in nearby Carnation with an unnamed friend.
Based on all information gathered, Cobain locked himself in the greenhouse above the garage on April 5, in the afternoon. He wrote a suicide note in red ink, took drugs, and pulled the trigger.
Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Note – Forged Or Authentic?
Cobain’s former lawyer, Rosemary Carroll, believes that the suicide note was fake. She stated:
“I don’t think he wrote it. I feel the same way I felt when I read it. He didn’t write it.”
Carroll informed Tom Grant that Kurt asked her to draw up a will excluding Love because he was planning to file for divorce.
Heidi Harralson, a forensic document examiner, discovered a “handwriting practice sheet” in Courtney’s bag with different letters of the alphabet and compared it to the suicide note. She stated:
“It is possible that someone else with some skill could indeed imitate his writing, especially those last few lines.”
Carole Chaski, a forensic linguist, pointed out that the top portion of the long note appeared to be in different handwriting. Also, it is not of the same style linguistically to the bottom four lines.
Punk singer El Duce said that Love offered him 50,000 dollars to kill Cobain. Two days after he filmed Kurt & Courtney documentary, El Duce got killed in a train accident.
Conspiracy theories regarding the death of Kurt Cobain will never fade away. People still believe that Elvis is not dead and that 2Pac is chilling somewhere, far away from chaos and fame.
Since Frances Bean, his only child, seems to have a decent life, it is only fair to accept that Cobain was unwell and to keep playing Nirvana records but not glamorize the death of Kurt Cobain.
Kurt Cobain Was More Than His Public Persona
In his interviews, Kurt looked rather down. He hated the cameras, but on stage, he was an animal.
Kurt’s friends saw him as a charming, fun-loving guy but tortured soul. His demons were always with him, but there was much more to him.
Butch Vig from Garbage, and producer of Nevermind, said:
“Kurt could just be very outgoing and funny and charming, and a half-hour later, he would just go sit in the corner and be totally moody and uncommunicative.”
His bandmate Dave Grohl said about Kurt’s death:
“[It was] probably the worst thing that has happened to me in my life. I remember the day after that I woke up, and I was heartbroken that he was gone. I just felt like, “Okay, so I get to wake up today and have another day, and he doesn’t.”
Krist Novoselic saw the body of Kurt Cobain before the cremation:
“I used to be so cynical. But more than anything, Kurt’s death changed that. I still can’t make sense about what happened, and I was truly shocked… I went to the funeral home to say goodbye, and it was hard to see him like that. They fixed him, okay, but you could see his head was busted up. They folded a kerchief over his eyes and forehead. I held his hand, and it was so cold. I left feeling really bad…”
Michael Stipe of R.E.M. stated:
“In the last few weeks, I was talking to Kurt a lot. We had a musical project in the works, but nothing was recorded. He loved Courtney and Frances Bean, and he loved Krist and Dave, and Nirvana. He really loved those guys. His death was a profound loss, and I just don’t think I can say anything else right now.”
Some claim Kurt was listening to R.E.M.s album Automatic For the People on the night of his death.
David Bowie wished they worked together:
“I was simply blown away when I found out that Kurt Cobain liked my work, and I always wanted to talk to him about his reasons for covering Man Who Sold the World.”
“It would have been nice to have worked with him, but just talking would have been real cool.”
Eddie Vedder and the rest of Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains members, Susan Silver, and many other musicians attended the vigil. Some shared their stories in the book Everybody Loves Our Town.
In conclusion, Kurt Cobain’s suicide note is not enough to prove that the Nirvana frontman didn’t kill himself. Heroin is one of the hardest depressants, and in combination with Kurt’s traumas from childhood, his mind could not take any more pain.
Perhaps Kurt would still be alive if he had another career, another wife, another life. But then, the world would never get to experience his genius.