-1- Kurt CobainKurt Cobain was born in February 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington. His mother, Wendy Fradenburg was a homemaker and his father, Donald Cobain, was an auto mechanic. Kurt was "a precious, energetic child who loved to draw and to sing Beatle tunes, Cobain was diagnosed as a hyperactive preschooler. Doctors prescribed Ritalin, an amphetamine-based drug that often kept him awake until 4a.m." (Dougherty 41) Kurt had a sister, Kim, three years younger than him. In 1975, when Kurt was eight years old, his mother filed for divorce from his father. After the divorce, Kurt would draw pictures of his parents on the walls in his bedroom and write rude captions under them. His home was a trailer in a trailer park in the middle of Aberdeen, a depressed and dreary logging town. When Kurt was twelve years old, a great uncle committed suicide. At the age of seventeen, he was faced with the death of another uncle.
"It was clear that life in the Cobain family was not easy." (Mundy 52) Both of Kurt's parents remarried after the divorce, but the new marriage did not give him a better family life. He lived with various aunts, uncles, and his paternal grandparents from the time he was eight years old until he was seventeen years old. At the age of eighteen, Kurt dropped out of highschool. After dropping out of high school, Kurt worked as a part-time janitor at Aberdeen High School. In his spare time, he drank, did drugs, vandalized buildings and cars. In the fall of 1987, Kurt moved to Olympia, Washington to live with his girlfriend. The community "welcomed and appreciated his talents." (Mundy 52) At the age of twenty Kurt formed a band with a high school friend, Krist Novoselic. They released their first album, Bleach, in 1989, and it only cost $606.17 to record. In 1991 -2- Kurt's career took a turn upward. The album, "Nevermind, was released in September and eventually sold ten million copies across the world. "Nirvana is famed and revealed for its introduction of grunge rock into the mainstream." (Star 42) Cobain became a star almost over night. He finally was recognized as an artist with imagination and depth and whether he wanted to or not he became a voice for the 90's. In January of 1992, Nirvana appeared on Saturday Night Live." By the end of January the group began a world tour. December of 1992, Nirvana released their next album, Incesticide and in September of 1993 another album, In Utero was released in the United States. It was also in September that Nirvana made another appearance on Saturday Night Live. On December 31, 1993, Nirvana was the main attraction on MTV's New Years Eve special. Nirvana had many successful videos on MTV. Kurt's final concert was played in Munich, Germany on February 29, 1994. Kurt's career was cut short because of his death on April 5, 1994.
On February 24, 1992 Kurt married Courtney Love in Waikiki, Hawaii. They began their courtship in 1991, both being involved in the music industry. Courtney had her own punk band called Hole. "A former actress who used to dance in strip joints to make ends meet, Love who said "we bonded over pharmaceuticals," was pregnant by the end of the year." (Dougherty 45) Frances Bean, their daughter was born in August of 1992. The "Cobain's troubles made tabloid headlines in August 1992, after a now infamous Vanity Fair article published in which its writer, Lynn Hirschberg, reported that Love had used heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean. (Love -3- has denied this.) As a result of subsequent media attention, "the Cobains were not allowed to be alone with their newborn daughter for one month." (Strauss 38) After Francis was born, "Cobain appeared to have found an anchor. But in the end, neither the daughter he doted on nor even the numbness provided by heroin could help Cobain cope." (Dougherty 45) "Through all of his trials, his friends say Cobain realized that his greatest gift was his daughter." (Pearse 53) Kurt Cobain with his band Nirvana went from an underground rock group to a position of international stardom in 1991 after they released the "Nevermind" album . He was regarded as a spokesman for his generation because of the conflicting emotions heard in his songs. The bands album, "In Utero" debated at number one in September of 93. In April of 93, they headlined a benefit for rape victims of Bosnia. The band is said to have changed the face of music of the 90's. It was Kurt's skills that made the band achieve mainstream success. Nirvana did win some awards in their time. In September of 92, the band won two awards on the MTV Music Awards and then one year later, Nirvana won the Best AlternativeVideo award on the MTV Music Awards. Nirvana had some successful videos to air on MTV. Nirvana's very first video to air on MTV was Smells Like Teen Spirit in the year of 1991, and in November of 92, Nirvana's In Bloom video aired on MTV. Nirvana then had a video called Sliver, which featured Kurt's daughter, Francis Bean. Nirvana's Heart Shaped Box video premiered in September of 93, followed by the album In Utero. After the album was released, Nirvana got to play Saturday -4- Night Live for a second time. " In Utero debuted at No. 1, and Nirvana began their first U.S. tour, after almost two years,"(Fricke 67) promoting In Utero, in October of 93.
"At 27 years old, Kurt Cobain wanted to disappear, to erase himself, to become nothing." (DeCurtis 30) Cobain's problems with heroin, matrimony, and stomach pain were severe, but they were hardly peculiar to his age group." (Star 42) "Ten days before he died, Cobain's wife and a group of friends pleaded with him to get help. In late March he entered a detox program in LA. After a couple of days he "jumped the fence." In Love's words." (Jones 68) In an interview with David Fricke, Courtney Love was quoted as saying "I lived with someone who said every day that he was going to kill himself... I did what I could to make sure that didn't happen... I started to feel like my purpose in life was noble - to take care of these two human beings, my husband and my child, and make sure that they lived." (Fricke 61) On April 8, 1994 the "news of Cobain's death, by a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head, flashed round the globe." (Gold 36) The last time Courtney spoke to Kurt was on April 1, 1994. He was in a detox clinic in California, and later that day he climbed a brick wall and flew to Seattle. The clinic informed Courtney that Kurt was missing and she hired private investigators to find him. "Sometime before the afternoon of April 5, Cobain barricaded himself in the greenhouse above his garage. He penned a one page note in red ink. He also tossed his wallet on the floor, open to his Washington drivers license, which friends believe was to help police identify him. "Cobain -5- drew a chair up to a window... sat down, took some more drugs, pressed the barrel of the 20 gauge shotgun to his head and - evidently using his thumb - pulled the trigger." (Strauss 38) "Kurt's suicide provided plenty of hints. Instead of cries for help there were announcements. "He was unhappy before he was famous, and he was unhappy after he was famous," says former Nirvana manager, Danny Goldberg. "He was just unhappy." (Azerrad 56)