This article was written by Mike Ratherson and originally was published on Alternative Nation in April 2014. Today would have been Kurt Cobain’s 55th birthday.
1. None of Kurt’s bandmates or close relatives, including his daughter and mother, believe that he was murdered.
2. Kurt’s great-uncles, brothers Burle and Kenneth Cobain, both died by suicide by self-inflicted gunshots to the head with Burle also shooting himself in the stomach in 1979 and 1984 respectively. Kurt allegedly told an eighth grade friend, Rod Marsh, that he had “suicide genes” citing Burle’s and other relatives suicides. (Source: Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain, By Charles R. Cross.)
3. Kurt made a Super-8 film as a teenager which depicts him violently cutting and stabbing himself with a knife. Kurt was photographed several times pointing guns at his head and also into his mouth in the same manner as his suicide. Although at the time the film and photos may have been meant to be comical or irreverent, they are hauntingly eerie in retrospect.
4. Kurt reportedly told eighth grade friend John Fields while walking home from school, “I’m going to be a superstar musician, kill myself, and go out in a flame of glory … I want to be rich and famous and kill myself like Jimi Hendrix.” At the time Kurt believed Hendrix’ death was a suicide. (Source: Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain, By Charles R. Cross)
5. Kurt wrote in his posthumously published 2002 book Journals (also depicted a scene in the film 2015 film Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) that he once tried to commit suicide as a teen by laying on train tracks only to have the train come down the wrong tracks next to him.
6. Kurt Cobain’s lyrics were full of direct and veiled references to suicide:
Song: “I Hate Myself and Want To Die” – the name of a Nirvana song, the original title for the album “In Utero”, and Kurt shocked his bandmates by showing up to a show wearing a custom made T-Shirt with this phrase on it.
Song: “Milk It”
“Look on the bright side, suicide.”
Song: “Scentless Apprentice”
“I lie in the soil and fertilize mushrooms.
Leaking out gas fumes are made into perfume.
You can’t fire me because I quit!
Throw me in the fire and I won’t throw a fit.”
Song: “You Know You’re Right”
Lyrics (the song is loaded with a veiled suicide references):
“I would never bother you.
Never speak a word again.
I will crawl away for good…
Always knew it would come to this…
You Know You’re Right.”
7. Nirvana MTV Unplugged, Nov. 18, 1993. To me this was Kurt’s planned epitaph 5 months before his death:
Cobain suggested that the stage be decorated with stargazer lilies, black candles, and a crystal chandelier. Cobain’s request prompted the show’s producer to ask him, “You mean like a funeral?”, to which the singer replied, “Exactly. Like a funeral.”
Five of the six songs cover songs during Nirvana’s MTV ‘Unplugged’ performance have lyrics that reference death. (Source: Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain, By Charles R. Cross)
Some Common Kurt Cobain Murder Arguments & Rebuttals:
8. “If Kurt had taken a lethal heroin overdose he would not be able to pull the trigger.”
Heroin addicts have increasingly high drug tolerances. Even a so-called “lethal dose of heroin” would not necessarily have necessarily killed Kurt Cobain, a longtime addict with a reportedly high tolerance level.
A 1999 Swiss study where heroin addicts were allowed to take as much heroin as they wanted found that many individuals were able to function daily while taking 300 to 500 mgs of heroin per day. In one extraordinary case a man was able to function on 2gs per day. According to Cobain murder conspiracy theorist Tom Grant, Kurt had 225 mgs of heroin in his body the day he died or 1.52/mgs per liter of morphine in his blood according to his autopsy in the Seattle Police Report. Grant theorizes that this level is “three times a lethal dose of heroin” was was well below the level of severe but functioning accidents according to the Swiss study. If Kurt could function at well below the level of the heroin addicts tested in the Swiss study he would not have been “instantly killed” by that dose and would be able to function and pull a shotgun trigger.
9. ‘There was hardly any blood. If Kurt shot himself in his head there would have been more blood.’
Kurt shot himself using a bird-shot shotgun round into his mouth. George W. Bush’s then-Vice President Dick Cheney shot his hunting buddy with a bird-shot round which is considered light shotgun round. If fired into a person’s head through their mouth, a bird-shot round would probably kill them but would not necessarily penetrate through the back of their skull. This would explain why there was so little blood found at the scene and why the security installation technician who discovered Kurt said he looked like he was sleeping.
10. “Courtney Love hired someone to murder Kurt Cobain because they were going to get a divorce.”
Just hours after performing on Saturday Night Live on January 11, 1992, one week before ‘Nevermind’ hit number one on the charts, Kurt reportedly overdosed on drugs. Courtney Love allegedly found him at 7:00 am the next morning lying on the floor overdosed. She said she revived him by splashing water on his face and punching him in the stomach.
In July 1993, Kurt was scheduled to perform at the New Music Seminar in New York City. Prior to the show, Kurt allegedly shot up too much heroin which resulted in an accidental overdose. Courtney Love said she injected Kurt with Narcan and then punched him in the chest which resuscitated Kurt who went on to perform later that night as if nothing had happened.
On March 3, 1994, one month before Cobain’s death Courtney love said Kurt overdosed on 50 Rohypnol tablets and champagne in Rome, Italy and allegedly wrote a suicide note. Courtney discovered him blue and overdosed, called an ambulance and Kurt was rushed to the hospital where he eventually recovered from a coma. Although Nirvana’s management company called the incident an accidental overdose, after Kurt’s death Courtney called it a suicide attempt. Tom Grant has theorized that Love slipped her own Rohypnol tablets into Kurt’s champagne in an attempt to murder him.
Grant theorizes that after Kurt’s death Courtney made up that the Rome overdose was a suicide attempt. However there is no doubt that Kurt overdosed on something in Rome and that Courtney saved his life by calling an ambulance which rushed him to a hospital and saved his life. Kurt was in a coma for many hours before he regained consciousness. If Courtney wanted Kurt dead why didn’t he just let him overdose and die in Rome? Why did she save her husband’s life who Grant alleges she allegedly wanted dead?
Although I don’t believe Courtney was a stabilizing influence on Kurt’s life or I also don’t believe he was a stabilizing force in her’s. I also don’t believe that Country had any motive or need to have him killed. Even if they divorced she would still be set for life financially. Grant has alleged that Kurt was threatening to write Courtney out of his will. The problem with that theory is Kurt left no legal will at the time of his death. Also you can’t legally just write your current spouse out of your will. According to a 2013 CNBC article, “Any lawyer will tell you that the spouse can waive the will and receive whatever he or she is entitled to under state law.” Why would Courtney want to have Kurt murdered and leave their daughter fatherless a month after she had the opportunity to let him die in Rome but instead chose to saved his life?
Cobain murder conspiracy believers deny that a severe heroin addict, who flirted with death every time he shot heroin, would be capable of killing himself. They love Kurt and hate Courtney, so obviously it’s easier to blame her for Kurt’s death. Kurt has been painted by people like Tom Grant as a happy, easily controlled person who was unwittingly murdered by his greedy wife who wanted all of his money. The 1998 film Kurt and Courtney gave rise to many Cobain murder conspiracy theories. But even the filmmaker Nick Bloomfield does not believe that Kurt was murdered. In the film, Kurt’s best friend, Dylan Carlson, who bought him the suicide shotgun with Kurt’s money said, “If I seriously thought Kurt had been murdered, the people, if I thought Courtney was involved … They would be dead now, flat out. I would kill them if I thought that was the case.”
If Kurt’s bandmates and closest family members who knew him best don’t believe he was murdered why do so many of Kurt’s fans feel a need to blame Courtney for his murder? There were warning signs that Kurt was depressed and suicidal in his music, in his statements to childhood friends and in interviews with reporters. Anyone who uses heroin is basically flirting with death. Kurt’s flirtation with death finally ended tragically on April 5, 1994. I believe the shocking manner of his death was a conscious decision on Kurt’s part because he had attempted to commit suicide by overdose numerous times unsuccessfully. With the shotgun he ensured that no one would be able to revive him.
Kurt Cobain and Nirvana changed the course of rock music. Nirvana popularized a new style of rock music in the early 90s than laid to waste much of the hair metal bands that had dominated the music charts in the late 80s. Even though I didn’t know him, at the time of Kurt death it felt like I had lost a friend. I have read four biographical books about Kurt Cobain. Kurt has been dead for over 23 years. If the people who personally loved him and knew him best believe he committed suicide I see no reason to dispute that.
It’s unfortunate that many people who only knew Kurt through his music and video clips, many of whom were not even born when he died, choose to spend much of their lives filled with anger because that feel that he was murdered. These people were not personally affected by his death the way his bandmates, close family and friends were. I will always love Nirvana’s music but find it hard to listen to Nirvana without being reminded of Kurt’s tragic death. Kurt called himself a “death rocker” in his suicide note. I think Kurt always had a death wish and it eventually just caught up with him. In Nirvana’s final song Kurt wrote, “Always knew it would come to this … Pain … You know you’re right.” My interpretation of these lyrics are that Kurt always knew he would commit suicide from an early age. His chronic stomach pain and addictions made him believe that suicide was unfortunately his only way out. Let Kurt Cobain rest in peace. His music will live on forever.