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Piecing Apart – Kurt Cobain
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Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – c. April 5, 1994) was the cofounder of Nirvana, serving as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter. His angsty songwriting would define an entire generation (which Cobain hated, and thought that the public was wrong) and redefine the rock scene, with grungy sounds becoming popular.

Kurt Cobain was born at Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington. His parents are Wendy Elizabeth and Donald Leland Cobain. He was an excitable and happy child. His music talent was also very evident from a very young age, with him singing at the age of two and making songs at the age of four. Music was also a big part of Cobain’s family. A lot of his aunts and uncles did different gigs, and his great-uncle, Delbert, was an Irish tenor who made an appearance in the 1930 film King of Jazz.

Kurt Cobain grew up in a pretty good household up until he was nine when his parents divorced. This change would make him more withdrawn and defiant. His father married Jenny Westeby, who Kurt liked at first because of the attention he got. Jenny had two other kids, Mindy and James. His father and Westeby had a child, Chad Cobain. Kurt insisted that this family wasn’t his, as it was very different from the one he had before his parent’s divorce, where he received a lot more attention.

Kurt’s mother would go on to date a very abusive man. Cobain had to go the domestic violence his mother was put through. Wendy, his mother, eventually broke her arm due to this man. She never pressed any charges.

Kurt lived with his father after Kurt’s mother gave him full custody. However, his father would have Kurt stay with friends and family due to Kurt’s behavior. Cobain ended up living with a friend, Jesse Reed, causing him to become very religious due to Jesse’s family’s devotion to the church. Religion would remain a big part of his life, and the experience with his friend’s family would inspire the song “Lithium.”

Kurt would move in with his mother in his second year in high school. But later on, two weeks before he graduated, he dropped out due to him not having enough credits to graduate. An ultimatum was given by his mother; either get a job, or move out. After a week of thinking, Kurt found his belongings in boxes. Feeling ashamed and banished, he left to go stay with friends. He would also stay under a bridge over the Wishkah River (this would also inspire the song “Something in the Way”).

He would, however, find a space to live in later. He rented an apartment while working at Polynesian Resort in Washington.

Nirvana would be started by him, Krist Novoselic, and different drummers, eventually settling on Chad Channing. Chad would stick with them for the album “Bleach”. Kurt would find his drummer playing not quite right for the band and fired him. Dave Grohl, who would later found Foo Fighters, would replace Chad.

Credit to Time Magazine

The new trio would produce “Nevermind” in 1991, the band’s most popular album. It featured songs such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Lithium,” “Come as You Are,” and many more.

After three more years of mainstream fame, the band, on tour at the time, would stop at Terminal Eins in Munich, Germany, on March 1, 1994. Cobain was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis, while on their tour stop. He would fly to Rome to be treated for his illnesses and was joined by his wife at the time, Courtney Love, there too. He was released on March 3rd. The next morning, Cobain would overdose on champagne and Rohypnol. He was rushed to the hospital and was unconsious for the rest of the day. He was released five days later.

The following days would lead to him having an intervention, helping him get to rehab. On March 30th, 1994, when he arrived to Los Angeles for rehab, he would fly back out that night to head back to Seattle. He would end up sitting near Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses. Cobain’s animosity towards Guns N’ Roses seemed to not show, as he was “happy” to see McKagan. McKagan later said that he knew from “all of my instincts that something was wrong.”

On April 8th, 1994, Kurt Cobain would be found dead by an electrician. A note would be found near him, addressed to Bodah, a childhood imaginary friend of his. The note addressed that Cobain had not “felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing… for too many years now.” The last sentence before the valediction would also read “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” a line from Neil Young’s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue).”

A public vigil was held for Kurt Cobain, where Courtney Love and David Grohl would have prerecorded messages played during the vigil.

“[It’s] 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,'” said Dave Grohl.

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About the Contributor
Micah Steffens
Micah Steffens, Staff Writer
Micah Steffens is a 16 year old sophomore who enjoys music, the outdoors, and food. His favorite hobby is listening to music, and he's a fan of bands such as Weezer, Pearl Jam, and Green Day. Micah has 5 other brothers and 2 dogs. He enjoys talking to people and listening to everyone’s opinion, as everyone has a right to one. He enjoys shows such as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Micah does sports such as golf and trapshooting. He hopes to pursue engineering after high school.
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    Philip EmmaDec 17, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Such a tragic loss. He was so talented but his demons got the best of him. You wish you can read people’s mind to find out what is wrong. Rest in Peace Kurt.