Verse Chourus Verse: The Recording History Of NIRVANA
Goldmine #432, February 14, 1997
PAGE: 18 | back
In an interview with Barbara Walters, Love later speculated that the intervention may have been a mistake. "[Cobain] was ganged-up upon," she said. "I don't think that intervention works on certain people of a certain age...I shouldn't have called for an intervention. I just panicked." In any case, drugs were only part of Cobain's problem; the larger issue was his unhappiness with his life. On March 30, Cobain and Dylan Carlson went to Stan Baker Sports in Seattle and purchased a Remington Mll shotgun. Cobain asked Carlson to purchase the gun, fearing that the recent confiscation of his other weapons by the Seattle police somehow made him ineligible to purchase new weapons. Cobain then flew to California and checked into Exodus. Two days later, on Friday, Good Friday and April Fool's Day, Cobain climbed the facility's wall and flew back to Seattle.
The next day, Cobain purchased bullets for his new shotgun, and after sporadic communication with a few friends, seemingly disappeared. A missing person's report was filed, and private investigators staked out the house and other locations. But no one found Cobain until the morning of April 8, when an electrician discovered his body on the second floor of the property's detached garage. At 9:40 am, Seattle radio station KXRX broke the news that the body of an "unidentified white male in his 20s" had been found at the Cobain residence. By noon, unofficial reports confirmed the body was Cobain's. The King County Medical Examiner's office determined that the cause of death was a self-inflicted shotgun wound, and that the estimated date of death was April 5.
The response to Cobain's death was immediate and intense. Journalists from around the world descended upon the city, and fans made pilgrimmages to Cobain's house, called radio stations to express their feelings, and headed to the record stores to 'buy Nirvana's albums—over the next two weeks, 185,000 Nirvana records were sold. on Sunday, April 10, a public memorial service was held at the Seattle Center Flag Plaza. The service was emceed by DJs from three local stations, and opened with a short speech from Rev. Steve Towles, who then headed over to the nearby Unity Church where a private service was being held. A poet, Michael Swails, read a poem, and Marco Collins, Program Director at KNDD, read a letter from one of Cobain's uncles.
The most emotional moments came when tape recordings with Love's and ~Novoselic's statements were played. Love read from Cobain's suicide note, interjecting her own comments as if in a finalj desperate attempt to have an argument with him. Novoselic's statement was briefer and less emotionally fraught; both Love and Novoselic delivered essentially the same statements at the private service. The public memorial ended with comments from a counselor at the Seattle Crisis Clinic. Attendees then swarmed over a nearby fountain, singing along to tapes of Nirvana's music and venting their frustrations.
Cobain's death led to Mari Earl putting together a presentation about his life, which features a brief video and a performance of her own original song, "It's Worth It." "The day that Kurt died I cried and cried and cried," she explains. "I went through a lot of grief. And as I grieved for him I began to think about the kids that were his followers. Very young kids. And I was worried. I thought there would be more suicides because of his suicide. And so that was what the original spark was. I have a lot of faith in God, and I just cried out and I said, 'God, if there's anything I can do to help these young people that he left behind, please let me do it. I can't do anything for Kurt now. Let me help others.' So that's where it started." Earl's presentation has primarily been done in schools, and last November, at a public library.
Though the members of Nirvana went into seclusion, various Nirvana-related releases were already scheduled to appear over the next few months. A remix of "Pennyroyal Tea" was planned as Nirvana's next U.K. single, but the release was cancelled after Cobain's death. But one source says that a promo CD was released in the U.K. in May, featuring the remix, "I Hate Myself And Want To Die" and "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" from Unplugged.
Grohl turned up as drummer on Backbeat: Music From The Motion Picture, released in late March; there were also advance cassettes. The film focused on the early days of the Beatles, and had an alternative "supergroup" playing rock 'n' roil classics like "Long Tall Sally" and "Twist And Shout." In the U.K., the tracks'5Money," "Rock 'N' Roll Music," and "Please Mr. Postman" were released as singles, with at least one promo single released of the latter track. Two different soundtracks were released, one with the alternative "supergroup," and the other, similarly titled Backbeat: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring jazz instrumentals. In addition to the different titles, the soundtrack with Grohl has a collage with scenes from the movie on the cover; the other soundtrack has a painting by the film's subject, Stuart Sutcliffe.
In May, Nirvana turned up on Westwood One's On The Edge radio CD promo, which featured music and interviews; in June, the Westwood One In Concert CD promo featured one of the band's 1991 BBC sessions. On July 5, the first new Nirvana track to be released since Cobain's death appeared on the compilation DGC Rarities Vol. 1. The track, "Pay To Play," was taken from the band's 1990 session at Smart Studios. Its inclusion on the compilation had been decided on before Cobain had died, meaning it was not considered a tribute release.
On July 12, Novoselic and Grohl made their first live performance after Cobain's death as part of the Stinky Puffs, a band led by Simon Timony, then 10 years old. Timony had previously released a four-song EP, which he'd sent to Cobain, who acknowledged the gift in the liner notes of Incesticide. Timony later met the band members when his then-step-father's band, Half Japanese, opened for Nirvana during the band's fall '93 tour. Timony himself joined the band onstage during their November 15 performance at Roseland.
The July 12 performance was the opening night of the Yoyo A Go Go Festival, held in Olympia (Yoyo being another Olympia label). Sheenah Fair, Timony's mother and the Stinky Puffs' drummer, asked Novoselic to sit in with the band. "Chris wrote the most beautiful letter back to us," she says. "And it was 'I can't believe you asked me to do this. Should I do this? I think I should do this. I'm gonna do this. Should I do this? This would be a good thing."' On the night of the show, Grohl was also on hand with DGC's Mark Kates. "I saw Dave checking out Chris just about to go on," Fair says. 'And I said, 'Dude, get a drum set. Come on, come on with us. This'll be good, it'll be good for you.' He's like, 'I'm gonna fuck it up—I don't even know your music!''' Eventually, Grohl did agree to go on, and though their appearance was unannounced, the media on hand for opening night of the festival insured instant coverage of the event. "One journalist said that Simon had peformed a mass healing," says Fair. "And that's really how it felt." The set, which included a song for Cobain, "I Love You Anyway," was recorded and released the following year.
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