Nirvana Icon Reveals Bold Kurt Cobain Death Theory


In former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg’s new Kurt Cobain book Serving the Servant, he quotes Krist Novoselic’s theory that ‘something affected’ Kurt Cobain’s ‘brain’ shortly before his death, as he overdosed in Rome in early March 1994.

The Washington Post write in a review, “Goldberg doesn’t spend much time on the strife reported to have roiled the band in their final year, though Cobain did ask him if he thought he could survive as a solo act. In March of 1994, Cobain overdosed on Rohypnol while on tour in Rome. Things changed after that. ‘Something affected his brain,’ Novoselic told Goldberg.

The manager had by that time taken a label job and was working for Nirvana only in an informal capacity, though he did show up for one last, dispiriting intervention a few weeks before Cobain’s death. Cobain was despondent, and Love was terrified: For the first time, even Frances Bean didn’t bring him joy. ‘I had no idea what had triggered the last few weeks of Kurt’s despair,’ Goldberg writes. ‘Maybe it was an intense crystallization of the depressions that had long tormented him. Maybe it was something at home. Maybe it was related to his career.'”

Goldberg also discussed the theory in a new Real Clear Life interview.

Real Clear Life asked, “I don’t want to dwell on the end – the end of Kurt’s life, that is—but I wanted to touch on something you mention briefly…the idea that Kurt’s decision to take his life may have been impacted by a possible brain injury caused by his overdose in Rome, six weeks before he died.”

Goldberg responded, “That’s an idea Krist floated by me, and I don’t really have anything to add to it. I did feel it was something worth including in the book. Generally speaking, when people ask why he or anybody else commits suicide, I believe there is only one correct answer: I don’t know.

I have no sense that any psychiatrist, or priest, or rabbi, or yogi, or philosopher knows why people kill themselves, because any reason you can give – you can say, oh, somebody had a terrible childhood, well…most people with terrible childhoods don’t kill themselves.

People are unhappy, people have drug problems, but the fact is most people who are unhappy and have a drug problem don’t kill themselves. To me, the idea that those things are causes is an attempt to simplify something that is just unknowable to human beings, as far as I can figure out.”