Because of Kurt Cobain’s heroin addiction the current generation and those to come will be missing out on great music from an amazing artist who passed on with so much untapped potential. “He turned to drugs to ease the pain, maybe to die. But even the drugs didn’t kill him. They just f***ed him up. So in the end, he had to do the job himself” This quote from the biography “Kurt Cobain; I Hate Myself and Want to Die” by David Stubbs is incredibly significant because it shows the reader just how fatal Cobain’s addiction got.
Full name Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967- April 5, 1994) was an all American musician from Seattle. Cobain showed interest in music early in his life. At the age of four Cobain began singing and playing piano. When he was only seven, his parents divorced. A dramatic change in Cobain’s personality was noticed by his mother when he became resistant and withdrawn. Cobain was highly antisocial. In fact, he disliked the company of others so much that he pretended to be gay his junior year just to be left alone. It is believed that his lack of social activity was a result of his depression. Only two weeks before graduation he dropped out of Aberdeen High School due to not having enough credits to pass. After he dropped out, his mother gave him two choices: find a job or leave, and so he left. He stayed with friends and was occasionally caught sneaking back into his mothers basement. He eventually moved into an apartment and found a job at The Polynesian Resort. He often traveled to Olympia, Washington to see rock concerts. Cobain was always absorbed in the punk rock scene, and that is a big part of the reason Nirvana was born.
For Kurt’s 14th birthday he was given his first guitar. He began learning songs like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl” before working on his own music. During high school it was rare that Cobain would find other musically talented students to play music with, that was until he met Krist Novoselic. Cobain and Novoselic often practiced in an upstairs room at a hair salon owned by Novoselic’s mother. A few years later Cobain let Novoselic hear his home demos from his previous band “Fecal Matter”. It was not much later that Novoselic agreed to pair up with Cobain, and that was when Nirvana was born. In 1991 the band found Dave Grohl who became the official drummer of Nirvana. Nirvana became an extremely successful band, bringing other seattle bands like Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam into a new light. They were in fact so successful that the limelight drove him into a heroinism of recluse.
So what in fact is the appeal of heroin to someone such as Cobain? According to the book Junior Drug Awareness: Heroin, by Jim Gallagher, Heroin is an opium poppy also known as “the joy plant” getting its nickname from its consoling effects. It is injected into the vein or snorted and makes its way through the bloodstream to the brain and causes analgesic and euphoric physical effects. In high doses, it is highly toxic and causes the body to lose control of pain receptors, the limbic system, and breathing. over use of this drug can slow down, or completely stop breathing, causing death. Heroin ultimately numbs physical, psychological, and emotional pain. This was a good deal for Cobain because he suffered all of the above causing him to go into an even greater state of depression. this took a toll on other members and their musical performance as a whole. Concerts were cancelled, tours dates were rescheduled, and they were even “booed” off stage because Cobain sang lyrics incorrectly. The band became frustrated and spoke of breaking up and taking on solo careers if Cobain did not clean up his act. Cobain was actually put in several different rehabs but never stayed long enough to follow through the programs. Throughout stays in rehabs, he never achieved total sobriety.
Cobain used heroin to the extreme wreaking havoc on his body, mind, and soul which caused him to generally quit writing. Because of this, the band stopped producing albums and were forced to earn new income. The income that Cobain was making from old sales and releases went toward his hungry addiction. Cobain isolated himself to the point where nobody would get through to him, including his wife, Courtney Love. In a desperate attempt to get Cobain cleaned up, Love packed her things and took their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, and left. However that still did not stop him. Even the members of his own band began keeping their distance from this heroin addicted monster that Cobain made of himself. This loneliness that Cobain brought upon himself unraveled into suicidal tendencies and eventually to suicide itself. As stated in a 2014 news article titled “Seattle PD Releases Never Before Seen Photos of Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Scene” written by JC Sevcik, he was found with his shotgun on his chest. He had injected himself with a lethal concoction of heroin and valium before putting the gun to his head. Drug paraphernalia was found beside his dead body. This kit included needles, cotton balls, a spoon and a lighter, along with his open wallet which included his out of place identification.
Cobain’s death and service was widely covered by the media and caused severe outrage in fans and members of the 90’s grunge kult that followed him. His death will forever be mourned by his followers and dedicated fans. Although it is said that the legend of Nirvana lives on with Dave Grohl through “Foo Fighters”, the modern music industry could potentially be much different (and much better) if Cobain was still producing today. It is quite a shame that addiction to heroin consumed a rock legend and eventually ended up taking his life, leaving all of Kurt Cobain’s ride or die fans in eternal suspense.