Interview: Tom Grant Debates Kurt Cobain Murder Conspiracy Theories, Nirvana Lyrics & Heroin


This exclusive Alternative Nation interview is a followup to my ‘10 Reasons Why Kurt Cobain Wasn’t Murdered: Why Conspiracy Theories Are BS‘ piece, which has been updated with new details. Note that the views expressed in this article by Tom Grant are his own views, and do not reflect the views of Alternative Nation.

Tom Grant is a private investigator and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective who was hired by Courtney Love when Kurt Cobain left the Los Angeles drug rehabilitation center Exodus just days prior to his Cobain’s suicide death. Tom Grant has written several books about his conspiracy theories about Cobain being murdered. His investigations are featured in the 2015 documentary film Soaked in Bleach. Grant and I spoke by phone on the afternoon of May 2, 2017. After emailing Tom about an interview, he emailed me back saying that he was very busy. He told me could only speak to me in five minutes for a short time amount of time. I emailed him back that I had no questions prepared, but why not? Due to the short notice and lack of preparation time, the interview was not recorded. It was a memorable discussion though, and these are my recollections of my interview with Tom Grant.

First, I asked Tom where he received his much cited report on the 1.52mgs per liter of morphine level found in Kurt Cobain’s blood after his death. Tom said it was from the Seattle Police Department Case Investigation Report, which he emailed me just prior to our interview. (Writer’s note: On pg. 2 of the 5 page Seattle Police Report Tom had underlined the following passages, “Morphine level 1.52mg/L (milligrams per liter). Tom also underlined Dr. Richard Harruff’s opinion in the autopsy report that “… tolerance is extremely important when evaluating opiate levels. With tolerant individuals, very high levels can be achieved far more than a non-tolerant individual.” The police report also notes that Kurt’s mother, Wendy O’Connor, had read Kurt’s suicide note and “… it was her opinion that the victim [Kurt] wrote it.”)

I told Tom that there were Swiss studies and posts on Reddit regarding the Cobain murder conspiracy film Soaked in Bleach, in which heroin addicts in the Swiss studies were able to function on a daily basis, and Reddit users who claimed to have survived heroin overdoses without medical attention which were much higher than Kurt Cobain’s lethal heroin dose. Tom replied that he wasn’t familiar with the Swiss studies, but he had read some of the Reddit posts. Tom opined that those studies and Reddit posts were not relevant to Kurt’s case because every case is different. (Writer’s note: Tom Grant’s research states that Kurt had approximately 225 mgs of heroin in his system, “three times a lethal dose of heroin,” which would have killed him instantly. A 1999 Swiss study of hardcore heroin addicts found that many addicts could handle as much as 300mgs to 500mgs per day, and in one extraordinary case 2g (2,000mgs) of heroin per day and remain functional.)

I asked Tom if it was possible, due to multiple needle puncture marks in Kurt’s arms, that the 1.52mg/L morphine level in Kurt’s bloodstream could have been the result of multiple shots of heroin over many hours or even days that had not been metabolized. I also asked Tom if it was possible that the heroin level in Kurt’s blood was not from one shot, but was the result of multiple shots. He responded that heroin metabolizes very quickly and that no matter how Kurt had gotten 1.52mg/L morphine in his blood he would have been killed by that amount and unable to pull the shotgun trigger.

I then asked Tom if he thought any of Kurt’s lyrics about suicide, specifically “Look on the bright side, suicide” from the song “Milk It”, were autobiographical. Tom said he did not think Kurt’s lyrics were autobiographical at all. He said comically that most country and western singers would be dead if their lyrics were autobiographical.

Tom asked me if I knew that Kurt’s uncles had not committed suicide by gunshots to the head. Tom said that these stories were invented by Courtney Love and not true. He said that one of Kurt’s uncles had died falling down stairs and another relative had accidentally dropped his gun at a bar causing it to misfire and he died. I told Tom that I had read that two of Kurt’s great-uncles had in fact committed suicide by pistol shots to the head. Tom disputed this and again said Courtney was the source of the misinformation. (Writer’s notes: Charles R. Cross’ 2002 book Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain states that Kurt’s great-uncles, brothers Burle and Kenneth Cobain, both committed suicide by pistol shots to the head and additionally Burle shot himself in the stomach in 1979 and 1984 respectively. In the “Author Notes” section of Heavier Than Heaven a 1999 interview with Beverly Cobain, Kurt’s second cousin, is mentioned in both chapters which refer to Burle and Kenneth Cobain’s suicides by gunshot among over a dozen other interviewees–Courtney Love was not interviewed for those chapters. In a 1999 interview Beverly Cobain, an accredited psychiatric/mental health nurse, said believes that “depression has a genetic component, and, so, tends to run in families” and that “the Cobains are only one of millions of families on whom depression and suicidal behaviors have had a terrible impact.” When Beverly was asked in a 2016 Health Day interview about Kurt’s suicide in context to the Cobain family she replied, “The first two suicides were also Cobain males, my father’s brothers, [Kurt’s great-uncles] both with guns.”)

Then I asked Tom if he thought it was unusual that there are multiple photos on the Internet taken by several different photographers which show Kurt with guns in his mouth simulating the manner in which he died. Tom focused solely on the one photo shoot in which Kurt had an assault rifle in his mouth. He said many media outlets cropped Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic out of that band photo for dramatic effect. Tom said he thought Kurt clearly put the gun in his mouth jokingly and that Dave and Krist were smiling in the photo which proved that to him. He went on to say that Courtney Love was present at that photo shoot and was telling Kurt what to do.

I asked Tom what he thought about Kurt’s best friend Dylan Carlson’s anti-murder conspiracy statement in the 1998 documentary film Kurt and Courtney, in which Dylan 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.” Tom responded that Dylan was being manipulated by Courtney at the time. He claimed that Courtney was funding Dylan’s heroin habit, so he would say whatever Courtney wanted him to say to support his drug habit. As evidence Tom cited an incident where Courtney coached Dylan on what to say behind closed doors right before Tom personally interviewed Dylan after Kurt’s death. Tom also said that when Kurt returned to Seattle after what many regard was Kurt’s first suicide attempt in Rome, Italy on March 3, 1994, Dylan told Kurt that Rome was just an accidental overdose and he was doing fine.

I told Tom that I had seen a video clip in which he stated that if Kurt and Courtney divorced she would get at best half of his estate, but if she killed him she would get his entire estate. At this point I distinctly remember asking Tom is he really thought that Courtney Love was so ruthless that she would orchestrate Kurt’s murder and leave their daughter fatherless just for more money. Instead of answering yes or no, Tom ask me how much I though Kurt Cobain was worth. I replied that I though Kurt was maybe worth $10 million back then (in 1994) and $500 million now. Tom did not dispute my guess. He said that nobody knew back then how much Kurt Cobain’s estate would be worth including Courtney. He stated that as a former police investigator and private detective he knew that hundreds of married people kill each other every day over money. Tom also alleged that Courtney had spent hundreds of millions of dollars from the Cobain estate since inheriting Kurt’s money, including Frances Bean Cobain’s trust fund.

I asked Tom if Courtney paid him in full for his services. He replied that she did, and he told her they were square. Tom also told her that he was going to continue his investigation.

Tom Grant has continued his investigation of Kurt Cobain’s death for 23 years and shows no signs of ever stopping.