a few words about kurt

April 5th will mark the 8th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. As I sit here thinking about what to write, I’m filled with sadness. I’m afraid of coming off as a little cheesy, perhaps a little cliche, about what it all means to me. Whatever.

I was living in Kansas, attending college the day that it happened. I don’t really remember the order of events that day, but I cried a whole lot. Nirvana was, and continues to be, one of my favorite bands. I remember going home and being glued to MTV as everything was happening. Kurt Loder was teary-eyed as he anchored MTV News throughout the day and evening. DJs from Seattle were interviewed, rock stars voiced their sorrow and the fans just wept. Everyone was stunned. I just cried and shook my head. I didn’t understand then and I don’t fully understand now.

Then there was the vigil in Seattle. Thousands of people crowded a park, making shrines to their hero, consoling one another, and crying. Then Courtney addressed the crowd, reading Kurt’s suicide note and commenting on it as she read. It was heartbreaking. More crying ensued. I cried myself to sleep that night, knowing that the same way Nirvana changed music with their birth, Kurt’s death would change music again.

I’ve read a lot about Nirvana, own quite a few bootlegs, and often listen to their music. One of the last books I read was Heavier Than Heaven, by Charles Cross. It’s the best book on Kurt’s life. He was granted access to Kurt’s personal diaries and conducted over 400 interviews for the book. I cried a lot when I read it, especially towards the end of the book. I also laughed at Kurt’s incredible sense of humor and his candor.

One of the things that I was so blown away by, and somewhat angered by, was the fact that Kurt was a fake in a lot of ways. He was so bright. He knew exactly what he was doing and from what I could gather, knew exactly how it was going to end. Many fans have been, and will continue to be, infuriated by the book. The truth hurts. Kurt wanted to be famous and he did everything in his power to make sure that he was. He relished in the drama on many occasions. That said, and told in gross detail in the book, I’m quite certain that his stomach problems and drug addiction are what killed him. There was no conspiracy. No one murdered him.

Like I said, I feel a little stupid even writing all of this, but I needed to say something. His music means the world to me and it still rips my heart out that he’s gone. He was so selfish. He didn’t have to go. I will most certainly remember the day for the rest of my life.

Brad Barrish @bradbarrish