MJ PRESENTS: GENERATION X
April 8/ 1994
The hero of “Generation X” didn’t want to be one…..
This is one of the most talked about days in the history of music. It concerns a man who hated the limelight. He was deemed “the spokesman for the generation ” even though he had no interest in being any such thing. He was a shy, quiet and self conscious person who used music as his release. His name was Kurt Cobain.
Kurt was born February 20th 1967 in the small logging town of Hoquiam,Washington. He was a very quiet and removed child often keeping to himself. He had no idea that years later his music would shape a generation and create a total new genre. Through the years when Kurt was growing up he fell in love with punk music. Bands like The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash. At his 8th birthday party he was given a guitar as a gift. For hours and hours he would play everyday most times until his fingers bled.
Kurt entered high school as a self conscious teenager. Ofter ridiculed for not playing sports or getting involved in any clubs. It was during his high school years he met another person who shared similar interests with him. Kurt met Krist Novoselic one day after school and they got to talking. It turned out that Krist had been trained on Cello and Bass from his early days in his home state of California. Kurt and Krist became almost inseparable from this point on, often being found in the Cobain garage jamming. Kurt on guitar and vocals and Krist on bass. They then met drummer Chad Channing through a mutual friend and the EARLIEST incarnation of NIRVANA was formed. They cut an album which they labeled “BLEACH”. The total cost to produce the album was about $600.00 and they were signed to local Seattle label SUB POP. Kurt and Krist, who had long quit high school, were eager to go out and tour around the state to promote the new record. Chad Channing was not so eager but agreed to go.
They played all over Seattle and the American west coast. Discouraged that their popularity had not grown they almost decided to quit music altogether. In fact, Chad Channing did quit the band so he could return to school. Kurt, wanting to return to the studio to record some new songs he was working on, thought that this was the end of the band. A few weeks later they were introduced to Dave Grohl, who was a drummer in an Ohio based band called SCREAM. Kurt asked Dave to provide him with some samples of his drumming and asked him to come over and play in a jam session with him and Krist. The rest, as they say, is rock and roll. This would be the line up of Nirvana that would change modern music. The charts in the early nineties were being dominated by the lingering hair metal bands and dance, rap and hip hop were starting to gain popularity. In December of 1991 the release of Nirvana’s second album NEVERMIND changed all of that. One song in particular “Smells Like Teen Spirit” changed everything. NEVERMIND eventually went on be the highest selling album of 1992 and earned the band 3 Grammys’. The new sound inspired by Nirvana and the bulging Seattle music scene was labeled as GRUNGE. Music full of anger, angst, hatred and passion. Along with other fellow Seattle bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains the Seattle scene and music started to gain a huge cult following and it showed on the charts and on the radio and on the television. With all the success came all the pressure and the pressure was something Kurt was not ready for. He fell deeper into his heroin addiction and became more withdrawn and depressed. The touring and living on the road was taking it’s toll but not nearly as much as Kurt being named the spokesman of the generation. This was the thing that bothered Kurt the most. The demands of the fans and the media was something he was not comfortable with at all.
The massive tour in support of NEVERMIND was launched and Nirvana played all over the globe. When returning home to Seattle, Kurts’ relatives and friends could tell he was not well. He had lost a lot of weight and he would barely speak to anyone. His drug use had escalated on the tour and it nearly killed him. The band decided to take a break before returning to the studio. During the hiatus Kurt tried to clean himself up and was often seen around the local Seattle night clubs watching the local bands play. On one particular evening he met a lady by the name of Courtney Love, herself an aspiring musician and actress. They exchanged numbers and Kurt thought nothing of it. Less than 3 months later Kurt and Courtney were married in Hawaii. Soon after Courtney discovered she was pregnant. Kurt decided he had to get himself clean if he was going to be a father. He threw himself back into music and headed back to the studio to record the next album IN UTERO with Krist and Dave. Courtney was starting to become a major distraction, not just to the other members of the band, but also to the huge pool of fans that Nirvana had. She would often belittle Kurt in public and say that she was the real driving force behind the music of Nirvana. She is often considered as the YOKO ONO of the 90’s.
In Utero was released in early 1993 and the boys headed back out on tour, this time with Courtney coming. It was during this time that Kurt fell into a deeper drug dependency along with Courtney. During one of the stops on the tour in Rome Kurt overdosed on a combination of sleeping pills and champagne. To some it was considered accidental to others it seemed as an attempt to take his own life and escape the pressures of performing. He did not die but a lot of the remaining tour was scrapped. Kurt headed back to the US to enter into a rehabilitation facility. For the next few months Kurt was in and out of re-hab trying to clean up. He was falling deeper and deeper into depression. Heroin was something it seemed he could not kick. Around this same time his wife, Courtney Love, embarked on a tour with her band HOLE. Kurt did not join her deciding instead to stay behind and keep trying to kick his habit.
Around the beginning of April in 1994 Kurt once again entered a detox centre. He escaped a few days later and went home to his house in the Seattle suburb of Aberdeen. Several attempts to reach him by phone had failed. Neighbours and friends stopped by the house and there was never an answer. On the morning of April 8th an electrician who was hired by Courtney to put in a security system entered the small greenhouse above the garage. It was there that the terrible discovery was made. At first the electrician thought what he saw through the window was a mannequin, it was in fact the dead lifeless body of Kurt Cobain. The cause of death was a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head. Kurt was 27years old.
Now there are tons of scenarios as to what, why, how, when and who. There usually are lots of theories when famous people pass on. There are so many in fact that it is next to impossible for me to list them all. I invite you to do some research on it. You can draw your own conclusions and perhaps come up with your own theories. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on it. You can always email me firstname.lastname@example.org