Tag Archives: Kurt Cobain

Rock & Roll Heaven: Chris Cornell

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After a nearly seven year break, this piece marks the return of my “Rock & Roll Heaven” series, which began nine years ago.

It was originally intended to be a week-long mini-series of articles. That first week included pieces on Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchence, and Jim Morrison. However, I also offered that I might consider continuing the series with additional occasional pieces. 

After receiving positive feedback, the series continued over the next two years. The musicians highlighted after the original mini-series were Karen Carpenter, Ty Longley, and John Bonham. All articles in the series can be enjoyed by simply clicking on the series ‘label’ at the bottom of this piece.

Bonham, the drummer for Led Zeppelin who Rolling Stone magazine has ranked as the top drummer of all-time, died in September of 1980. He was just 32 years old. The alcoholic Bonham died after a two-day drinking binge.

That factor is a hallmark of my series. All of the artists portrayed were icons in their generation, and died young under controversial or dramatic circumstances. 

Icon of his generation. Death under controversial circumstances. That perfectly fits the loss earlier this year of Seattle grunge band icon Chris Cornell. The lead vocalist for Soundgarden and Audioslave, Cornell’s death on May 18, 2017 was ruled a suicide. He was known to have suffered from substance abuse issues and depression.

Like many popular rock artists of the early 1990’s, Cornell emerged from the Seattle, Washington scene. He was born in Seattle on July 20, 1964, and so was less than three years younger then me. 

He helped form Soundgarden in 1984, and by 1990 the band was receiving a Grammy Award nomination for their debut album. They continued to record and tour together through 1996, and their 1994 album “Superunknown” won the band a pair of Grammy Awards.

One of those 1994 Grammys was “Best Hard Rock Performance” for the song “Black Hole Sun”, perhaps their most well known among the wider music-listening public.


Of those early 1990’s years with Soundgarden, Cornell stated the following:

“Nobody came to Seattle to sign a band or write about you or put your song on the radio, so everything there was very genuine. I’m privileged to have been in that place at that time. I also put a lot of energy into that. We really had to beat the doors down.”

In 1990, Cornell had to cope with the death of his close friend and roommate, Andrew Wood. A fellow musician from Seattle, Wood died in March 1990 following a heroin overdose. In an interview with Jim Farber for The Guardian just a year ago, Cornell stated: 

“I’ve always had really difficult time with loss. I didn’t deal well with Andy’s death. After he died, numerous times I’d be driving and I would look out the window and I thought I saw him. It would take me five minutes to update to the moment and realize, ‘no, he’s actually dead.”

Cornell recorded a 1990 tribute album to Wood with a project band known as Temple of the Dog. This band included members who would go on to form Pearl Jam. 

Temple of the Dog featured the first recordings by Eddie Vedder. Originally from San Diego, his friendship with Cornell helped legitimize Vedder in the Seattle music scene. The two would remain close friends, and Cornell would go on to work with Pearl Jam a number of times over the next two decades.

In 1985 at age 20, Cornell began dating Soundgarden’s manager, Susan Silver. They married in 1990, had a daughter in 2000, and divorced in 2004. Later that year he married Vicky Karayiannis. The couple would have two children, a daughter born in 2004 and a son a year later.

His Irish-Catholic father and Jewish mother were both alcoholics according to Cornell. If true, that propensity towards addiction was already going to be a factor at some point in his life.

Cornell stated in a 2006 interview with Dorian Lynskey for SPIN magazine that his early life had been “pretty great.” But then a bad experience after trying PCP at age 14 left him with panic disorder and he slipped into depression through his teen years.


In a December 1994 interview with Alec Foege for Rolling Stone magazine, Cornell stated that he took guitar and piano lessons as a kid. 

He has also stated that he believes that drums purchased for him by his mother may have saved his life during those tough teen years. “It was the only thing I had an attention span for,” he said per Foege: 

“When you’re young, playing drums is immediately satisfying ’cause whether or not you know how to play anything, the bottom line is that you’re pounding on something, so you’re happy about it.”

It wasn’t until his late-20’s that he succumbed to his parents alcoholism. That eventually led him to prescription drugs, and then harder drugs. 

Internal conflicts regarding the band’s creative direction led to the Soundgarden breakup in early 1997. Cornell released a commercially unsuccessful solo album in 1999. Then in 2001, Cornell joined three former members of the band Rage Against the Machine to form Audioslave. 

Over the next half-dozen years, Audioslave recorded three albums of material, all of which proved commercially successful. Their 2002 self-titled debut LP went triple-platinum, and their second “Out of Exile” in 2005 went platinum. The band broke up when Cornell decided to leave in early 2007.

In 2006, Cornell co-wrote and performed the song “You Know My Name” for the James Bond film “Casino Royale”, taking home both a Satellite Award and World Soundtrack Award.



During the Audioslave years, as well as both immediately before and after, Cornell worked on a number of solo and side projects. He also contributed music and vocals on the work of other artists, including Slash, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, and Smashing Pumpkins.

On the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 Islamofascist attacks on America, Cornell performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” on the popular Conan O’Brien late night TV show. He would later release a version on his acoustic live album “Songbook” in November 2011.

Whispers of a Soundgarden reunion began in 2010, and in April of that year the band verified by announcing they would play that summer’s Lollapalooza concert. The band would remain together, recording and touring over the next few years.

In April 2013, Cornell gave the introduction speech for Heart when that iconic band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the speech, Cornell stated that Ann and Nancy Wilson had been role models for him and numerous Seattle musicians and singers. Cornell joined in a version of Heart’s classic hit “Barracuda” along with the Wilson sisters and other musicians.


In 2015, Cornell recorded the solo LP “Higher Truth”, which would prove to be his final album. 

As Soundgarden was breaking up in 1997, his marriage to Silver falling apart, Cornell slipped into a depression that lasted for years. He turned to OxyContin at one point before finally checking in to rehab in 2002. 

In a 1996 interview with Robyn Doreian for Metal Hammer, Cornell had first publicly mentioned the idea of suicide:

“I know what it feels like to be suicidal, and I know what it feels like to be hopeless. There is some point where I learned enough about myself to know that I don’t have the tolerance to create other hurdles as well.”

“If I would have ever started taking drugs when I was younger, I would never have lived. I would have gone out quick. I don’t have the tolerance to live in that emotional and physical pain and not have anything positive or good around me.”

On May 17 of this year, Cornell performed with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. Sometime after the show, Cornell returned to his room at the MGM Grand. His wife later stated “When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”
 
He was found on the floor of his hotel bathroom by his bodyguard, an exercise band wrapped around his neck. An investigation, confirmed later in the coroner’s report, ruled that the death came by suicide. Only therapeutic amounts of prescription drugs were found in his system, but there were a variety of those.
 
In a public statement released to the press and reported by Rolling Stone, his wife Vicky stated:
 
“Many of us who know Chris well noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off. We have learned from this report that several substances were found in his system. After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgment seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind. Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back. We very much appreciate all of the love we have received during this extremely difficult time and are dedicated to helping others in preventing this type of tragedy.”
 
Yet another tragedy in the long history of them in the rock and roll world. This time we lost a man who readers of Guitar World had voted as “Rock’s Greatest Singer”, and who Rolling Stone ranked as 9th on their “Best Lead Singers of All Time” list.
 
Singing lead vocals in Rock and Roll Heaven, or a place in hell? For Christians, the answer isn’t as simple as suicide leading to eternal damnation. That is not the teaching of any reputable Christian church, including Catholicism


The more relevant question is, where was Cornell at the time of his death in regards to his personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Same goes for anyone else covered prior in this series, or who we will cover in the future, on Rock and Roll Heaven. 

Cornell frequently wore a cross on a chain around his neck. If that was not just a fashion statement, then I think that I know the answer in the case of Chris Cornell.

Rock & Roll Heaven: John Bonham

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The late John Bonham was the drummer for Led Zeppelin

 

Sometime on September 23rd, 1980, John Bonham began to drink. This was not an unusual event in Bonham’s life. He was a big drinker.

But the binge that he was about to undertake was a big one even by his standards. Over the next day and a half, Bonham, would take approximately 40 shots of vodka in a drinking binge that would end his life.

John Bonham was the drummer for the legendary rock band ‘Led Zeppelin’, and he was universally considered one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock music.

As he undertook that final late September alcohol binge, he and his mates in Zeppelin were in preparations for their first world tour in over three years, a tour that would never take place.

The legendary original Led Zeppelin lineup was born as a band in London, England in the latter half of 1968, at the height of the 1960’s ‘flower child’ and ‘hippie generation’ crazes. Jimmy Page, who was and is universally regarded as one of the greatest guitarists on the planet, and his band ‘The Yardbirds’ had just broken up.

Page met up with singer Robert Plant and began to consider putting a new band together. It wasn’t long before the talented Bonham, who both men knew from studio sessions, would be recruited heavily and agree to join the band.

With the addition of bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones the four men originally set out as ‘The New Yardbirds’, but following their first touring effort it was obvious to all that they had little in common with that original band. The band’s name was changed to ‘Led Zeppelin’, and the rest is music history.
Zep’s hard-rocking guitar-fueled style is often credited as being at the forefront of what is now known as ‘heavy metal’ music, but they did much tremendous acoustic work together as well.

During the 1970’s, Zeppelin grew into one of the most popular, successful, and influential rock bands in music history. The band became known for extravagant clothing and wild partying during touring.

The band’s classic hits released during these years included “Rock and Roll“, “Going to California“, “Black Dog“, “Houses of the Holy“, “Immigrant Song“, Chase Utley’s signature theme “Kashmir“, and a song widely acknowledged as one of the greatest in rock history, “Stairway to Heaven“.

Bonham had a couple of brief acting turns, first appearing as a drummer in 1974’s “Son of Dracula“, and then in an action drag-racing scene during the Zeppelin vehicle “The Song Remains the Same” that was set to “Moby Dick“, his signature half hour-long concert solo.

Bonham had been married since before the Zeppelin years. He and his wife, Pat, had a son born back in 1966 named Jason Bonham. Jason would go on to drum himself for bands including ‘Foreigner’. During the height of Led Zepplin’s popularity, the couple added a second child when daughter Zoe was born in the summer of 1975. But as a rock and roll star, his life was far from that of the typical family man.

On July 23rd, 1977, following a Zeppelin concert in San Francisco, Bonham became involved in a controversial backstage incident. The band’s manager, Peter Grant, had his son helping with the breakdown job. The son apparently took down a dressing room sign that was not band property, and got into an argument with a member of the promoter’s staff, who slapped young Grant. Bonham saw this and ran to the kid’s aid, beginning an attack that ended with the staffer badly beaten by members of the band’s entourage.

This was just one incident in the downward spiral of Bonham’s life. In one episode, Bonham is said to have ridden his motorcycle through a hotel. During a June 27th, 1979 show in Germany, Bonham collapsed while on stage and was rushed to the hospital. It is widely believed that his collapse was caused by his continued misuse and abuse of both alcohol and drugs.

On September 24th, 1980, Bonham was well into his fatal final drinking binge when he attended a rehearsal session for what was planned to be the first Led Zeppelin tour in almost three years. The session ended in the evening and the entire band along with some of their crew and entourage went back to Jimmy Page’s home. At some point after midnight, a drunken, passed out Bonham was put to bed and placed on his side.

The next day, John Paul Jones and the band’s manager went to try to wake Bonham, and they found him dead. A subsequent autopsy found no other drugs in his system, and ruled that he had died an accidental death, the result of his having vomited, inhaled it, and dying as a result from asphyxiation.

Dave Grohl of the band Foo Fighters, who had to deal himself with the personal tragic loss of his own former ‘Nivana’ bandmate Kurt Cobain, is quoted as having said “John Bonham played the drums like someone who didn’t know what was going to happen next – like he was teetering on the edge of a cliff.” It can be said without exaggeration that Bonham lived his life that same way. A great way to drum, perhaps, but perhaps not the best way to live.

John Bonham was just 32 years old when he died from the alcohol abuse. That old adage of sex, drugs, and rock and roll can be extended to include booze as well, a substance that Bonham abused regularly and voluminously. Does he now play the drums in some all-star ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ band with Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain on guitar and Janis Joplin at the front? We may one day get to find out for sure, but one thing we know now is that his life ended too soon from his own choices involving one of the usual suspects.

NOTE: this is the return of the ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ series of articles here at the www.mattveasey.com website, all items of which can be read by clicking on that Tag link at the bottom of the article. 

Rock & Roll Heaven: Karen Carpenter

 

Karen Carpenter at the White House in 1972
(Photo: Robert L. Knudsen via Wiki Commons)

On February 4th, 1983, one of the most beautiful voices in the history of modern popular music was silenced forever when Karen Carpenter was rushed to a California hospital and pronounced dead. She was only a month shy of her 33rd birthday. The cause of death was heart failure brought on by a long term battle with anorexia.

Back in November of 2008, I began what was to be a series of articles called “Rock and Roll Heaven” that would examine the controversial deaths and lives of artists in the modern music world. At that time the series began with articles on Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchence, and Jim Morrison. This examination of Karen Carpenter continues that series.

Karen and her brother Richard were born and raised in Connecticut, but their parents moved out to California in 1963. Richard became a piano prodigy, but Karen was more of a tomboy into sports and showed little interest in music as a young girl. On entering high school she joined the school band, and from that developed an interest in playing the drums.

Karen fell in love with the drums and became an outstanding drummer. She joined up with Richard and a friend named Wes Jacobs, and the three became ‘The Richard Carpenter Trio’, playing mostly jazz at local clubs. They also played with a band known as ‘Spectrum’ and recorded numerous demos, but they had little recording success throughout the mid-1960’s.

Karen and Richard finally were signed to a recording contract by A&M Records in 1969, and then in 1970 released their second album and first big smash titled ‘Close to You’. The album and the two hugely popular singles “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun” proved to be hits, the songs becoming modern masterpieces.

As the band moved through the 1970’s, Karen was pushed by her label to get out from behind her drum set and perform at the front of the stage.

She loved the drums and was more than good at it. The greats of drumming such as Buddy Rich considered her outstanding, and in 1975 she was voted as the Best Rock Drummer of the Year by the readers of Playboy magazine. Richard said that she always considered herself a drummer who sang.

Back when she was 16 years old, Karen had begun a rigorous diet program because she thought that at 5’5 and 145 pounds she was too heavy. She was under a doctor’s supervision and dropped to 120 pounds, which she maintained for years.

As anxiety over her career direction began to mount in the mid-1970’s, she developed what would later be confirmed as the beginnings of anorexia nervosa, a now well-known but then little-understood illness. With Karen battling anorexia and Richard battling an addiction to Qualludes, The Carpenters cancelled many of their concert performances.

Karen’s personal life proved difficult as well, as she moved in and out of relationships including one with comedian Steve Martin, and an especially difficult breakup with songwriter Tom Bahler. After their breakup, which came because he fathered a child with another woman, Bahler penned the song “She’s Out of My Life“, which became a hit for Michael Jackson.

The Carpenters performed live for the final time in Brazil in 1981, which was also the year the Karen ended what had been a one year marriage to real estate developer Tom Burris. In April of 1982 she recorded her final song “Now” and then returned home to her parents house in California. The family was startled by her appearance and low weight.

After a hospital stay that forcibly put 30 pounds on her via intravenous feeding, Karen left the hospital and went back to California. Here she made her final public appearance as a singer when she performed at her godchildren’s school singing Christmas standards.

The strain on her heart after years of binge dieting had taken it’s toll, however, and she returned to her parents home where she suffered the heart failure that led to her death.

It was well known that Karen exhibited many of the deceptive eating, purging, and medicating practices of those with eating disorders during her lifetime. In the wake of her death her family started up the “Karen A. Carpenter Memorial Foundation” to help raise awareness and research funds to combat eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. It is now known as the “Carpenter Family Foundation” and provides funding for the arts as well.

With songs such as the previously mentioned ‘Close to You’ and ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’, as well as hits like ‘I Won’t Last a Day Without You’, ‘Only Yesterday’, and ‘There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)”, as well as the immortal Christmas classic “Merry Christmas, Darling”, Karen Carpenter left an indelible mark on the music-loving world.

But perhaps as much as her music, her talented drumming and her lyrical voice that caused Rolling Stone magazine to rank her as one of the 100 greatest singers of all-time in 2008, we remember Karen Carpenter for her death as a direct result of anorexia. As someone who has experienced the devastating effects of an eating disorder within my own family, it is one of the greatest challenges that an individual and family can face.

Where is the origination of a true eating disorder? Is it the same as a drug addiction, an alcohol dependency, a sexual disorder? Are they all part and parcel of individual human beings who simply cannot cope, for whatever reason, with life’s challenges, and at some point make a conscious choice to take a known alternate route to find that happiness they so greatly crave?

NOTE: This is the continuation of the series ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ begun in 2008, all entries of which can be viewed by clicking on to that Tag below.

Rock & Roll Heaven, or Gone to Hell?

This past week I’ve brought you a series of mini-bios on rock stars who died young: 60’s & 70’s hippie icons Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison; 80’s MTV generation star Michael Hutchence; 90’s grunge-rock star Kurt Cobain.

Each of these young people died at those youthful stages of their lives thanks to conditions largely brought on by themselves: illicit drug use, excessive alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity.

In general, they were killed by their full immersion into the ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll’ lifestyle.

There really is not a lot of redeeming value, but there are plenty of valuable lessons to be learned. They all seemed to have some similarities in background including unusual or unstable family situations as youngsters.

Most were the loner, artistic types whose outwardly extroverted lifestyles belied a depressed introverted reality only made worse by their substance abuse. They simply couldn’t manage to face life squarely.

Many didn’t become parents themselves, never found the joy that raising a child and caring for something deeply outside your own self brings. They never grew up. And they often left a trail of death and destruction in their wakes.

They did each leave what remains a lasting legacy of their talents: film, writing, and most of all music that has stood the test of time. They were stars that burned brightly, and fell back to earth far too suddenly and early.

Are they in ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’, or did they end up going straight to hell?

That’s not for me to judge, but certainly a legitimate question for anyone to ponder. Perhaps the greatest lessons that we can take from their frantic lives and tragic demise is that we should obviously avoid illegal drugs, avoid the excesses in other areas of our lives, and when we do have kids, have them responsibly and provide them with a loving, stable upbringing.

These five mini-bios represent only the beginning of what will become an irregular but recurring ‘Rock & Roll Heaven’ series. Not all will highlight stars dying under controversial circumstances. But all will have been taken far too young.

If anyone out there has any person they would like particularly to see covered, feel free to submit the name. A few have asked about Elvis Presley. After all, were you awared that ‘The King’ was only 42 years of age when he died?

Click into the below Tag to visit more items in that topic. After receiving a great deal of positive commentary, the hope is that I will continue with more in this series as we move into the future.

To wrap here, a few lyrics from a Righteous Brothers’ classic tune: “If you believe in forever, and if life is just a one-night stand; if there’s a rock and roll heaven, then you know they got a hell of a band.”

Rock & Roll Heaven: Kurt Cobain

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The tragic, untimely loss of young superstar talent in the rock-n-roll world has often been associated with the hippie-era, flower child period of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

But the passing years have shown that it is not times that are to blame, but the choices these individuals made within a culture and lifestyle that often encourages those choices.

The perfect case in point came over three decades after the deaths of Janis and Jimi, with the death of garage band, grunge-rock legend Kurt Cobain.

On April 5th, 1994, Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the popular band ‘Nirvana’, killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head at his home in Seattle.

Cobain had chronic suicidal tendencies that manifested themselves many times over the years, and increasingly in the months leading to his death. These incidents, and indeed his final demise, likely grew out of a bout with classic, severe depression made worse by the abuse of alcohol and drugs, particularly heroin.

He was just 27 years old. Sound familiar? The more things change in the rock world, the more they stay the same.

Kurt Cobain was born and raised in Washington state, and had an intense interest in music as well as ‘a lot of charisma’ from a young age. His parents divorced when he was just 8 years old, an event which he later said had profound impact on his personality.

He became much more withdrawn after this, and spent time living with first his mom and then his dad, who tried hard to direct the young boy into sports activities. Cobain’s heart was more in the artistic, however, and he eventually became so unruly that he was allowed to move in with friends.

As a teenager he found refuge and the beginnings of a purpose in the developing Seattle punk-rock scene. At age 14 his uncle gave him his first guitar, and he first learned a few covers and then began to even create his own music. He also met and began to hang out and occasionally jam with Krist Novoselic, who would remain a key influence in his life until the very end.

Kurt moved back in with his mom during his last couple of years in high school, but never did graduate. When he dropped out of high school, his mom told him he either had to get a job or move out. When Kurt didn’t respond with action, she packed his things in boxes and tossed him out, and he wandered between friends houses.

At age 20 Kurt got a job with a resort on the coast which paid enough to allow him to rent his first house, and which also funded his interest in attending rock concerts in Olympia. Cobain and Novoselic decided to form a band, and eventually joined up with drummer Chad Channing to form the early ‘Nirvana’. The band often performed covers of songs by some of their major influences including Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Queen, and Black Sabbath before finally recording their first album in 1989.

It was also during this year of recording and performing that Kurt briefly met a girl after a concert who would be another key influence in his life. Courtney Love met him backstage, and she developed a crush on him after seeing the band perform in Portland. Cobain quickly realized that he didn’t like Chad Channing’s style, and the drummer was replaced by a new bandmate, Dave Grohl.

In 1991, the new Nirvana released their first major label recording titled “Nevermind”, and the album rose to #1 on the Billboard charts thanks largely to the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which became the anthem for a generation and cemented both Cobain’s and Nirvana’s legend.

In May of ’91, Cobain and Love were formally introduced, and when Grohl let on to each that the other was attracted the two began to hook up more frequently. By the end of the year they were officially together, as much due to mutually-shared drug usage as their physical and emotional connection.

It wasn’t long before Courtney turned up pregnant, and the pair married in Hawaii in February of 1992. Their daughter and only child, Frances Bean Cobain, was born in August. Over the next couple of years Cobain frequently helped Love as she developed her own band ‘Hole’, and some Nirvana fans took a dislike to her, negatively comparing her influence to that of Yoko Ono on John Lennon a generation earlier.

In a magazine article Love admitted to using heroin while pregnant with their baby, though she later claimed that it happened only before she realized the pregnancy. In any event, the courts stepped in and briefly took the child from their custody, placing her with Love’s sister before ultimately returning Frances to her parents.

Drugs were a consuming part of the parents life. Cobain had begun using marijuana at age 13, abused painkillers throught his teen years, and moved on to heroin by age 19. He tried rehab in 1992 with the baby coming, but quickly reverted back to abusing the heroin, and he suffered his first major overdose in the summer of 1993 just before a concert. However, Love injected him with Narcan to counter it’s effects, and Cobain revived enough to take the stage. In rock-n-roll, the show must go on.

While on a European tour in March of 1994, Cobain came down with laryngitis and went to Rome for treatment. It was there on March 4th that he likely committed his first suicide attempt.

Love woke up to find him having overdosed on champagne and some of her own prescription sedatives. He was rushed to the hospital where he remained for almost a week, and then the couple flew back to Seattle where at the end of the month Love organized a formal ‘intervention’ for Cobain. Novoselic didn’t like the idea, and tipped off Cobain before it happened, but in the end Kurt agreed to detox in L.A.

The detox stay didn’t last long. On his first night at the facility, he told staff that he wanted to go out to have a cigarette. Instead he jumped a fence, hailed a taxi cab to the airport, and flew back to Seattle on April Fool’s Day.

Over the next couple of days he was spotted in various Seattle-area locales, but wasn’t in contact with any friends or family. On April 3rd, Love hired a private investigator to look for him, and on the 7th, with Cobain missing, Nirvana pulled out of that year’s Lollapalooza tour.

The next day an electrician went to Cobain’s home on a previously arranged appointment to install a security system. He found Cobain with blood coming from his ear, a shotgun placed against his chin, and a suicide note nearby.

Toxology tests showed that Kurt had consumed about twice a lethal amount of heroin. On April 10th, Love attended a public memorial service and handed out items of Kurt’s clothing to the fans. His body was cremated.

In the years since his death there have been a number of highly speculative, inflammatory, accusatory, and controversial theories on Cobain’s death that involve foul play.

This seems to be a recurring theme in the death of these rock stars who are actually simply a victim of their own excess. Some fans would rather believe that their heroes were murdered, rather than admit that they were killed by the very drugs and booze that those same fans are often abusing. Or, as in Kurt’s case, by their own hands when they could not handle the constant depression which these substances only make worse.

Kurt Cobain was left depressed as a young child by his familial situation, and during his life had to deal with a continual stomach ailment that went mostly undiagnosed and untreated.

In other words, when asking whether Kurt Cobain is fronting a band in some ‘Rock & Roll Heaven’, singing a duet with Janis while Jimi plays guitar, he may have more of an argument to get in than they did. But in the end, the fact remains that like those 60’s icons, this voice of a new generation was silenced by his own hand thanks largely to a severe abuse of drugs and alcohol.

NOTE: this continues the ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ series, all entries of which can be read by clicking the below Tag.