On April 8th 1994 , three days after his death, Kurt Cobain was found dead. This was my seventh birthday. I think I’ll always remember it because I was living in Seattle at the time, and here I am fourteen years later back in the city that I love to hate but miss upon all of my departures more than any other.
From the shy smile and the quiet disposition he often displayed to the lyrics that truly seemed to impact a generation, Cobain is someone that can’t be forgotten. His place in history is too iconic.
But it is also devastating, when you think about the dark age we live in and how his death also brings up so much controversy.
I don’t really want to talk about the way one of my favorite artists died today though.
Kurt Cobain grew up in a small rainy town called Aberdeen, he played his first concert at a dorm room at the college I am getting my degree from. Everywhere I go in Seattle and Olympia there are artifacts, spots where he ventured most. From the sidewalks in Olympia that he so often slept (even after his single, Smells like teen spirit, became a staple song on radios across america) to the Jack in the box on Broadway in Capitol Hill (which just closed this past year actually) where he purchased his heroin…pieces of his eccentric past are everywhere. In Olympia, people still live in that scene. It’s such a strange place.
But he did something many don’t, he took his pain and made beautiful art. He became well known and loved, but I guess that also comes with a price.
But who was Kurt Cobain? Why are we so fascinated by him? Is it because he did not deny his humanity, because he was honest about his imperfections and pain? So honest that his music became something very real and relatable to a population that was tired of lying to themselves?
Do we remember the husband he was? The father? Those were personal sides that are only truly known to the people closest to him.
(note: I don’t care what anyone says, I think they were a beautiful couple.)
Do we remember his sculptures? His fascination with the form in utero? Do we remember that perhaps even if someone seems to have it all, that perhaps there are some things fame, money, art, and family cannot save?
Some pain runs too deep, perhaps the reason Kurt Cobain made such an impact on my strange rainy landscape and beyond is that pain is something we can all understand.
Even so though, I wish that art and family, that even transient things like fame, could have saved him.
His daughter turned into a beautiful young lady, as if out of the pain and tragedy of both of her parents’ lives she blossomed like those daffodils you see beneath the snow in early march….
If anything, I think he deserved to see that.