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- Steve Shep

Jessica Page's Opinion

Kurt Cobain, an easily identifiable name, is remembered for many things. Whether people remember him for his music, his marriage to Courtney Love, or his heroin addiction, it is undeniable that he greatly influenced the 90’s. Above all, he influenced grunge and punk rock music. He also influenced the people of generation X. Cobain even continues to influence and all who listen to him today, 11 years after his death. The final point of this paper will be how Courtney Love was responsible for the murder of Cobain, and evidence which shows it was not a suicide. Cobain influenced millions of people before and after his death, and his life was ended far before it should have.

Most people believe that Nirvana marketed their music as “grunge”, but this is untrue. Rumor has it that it was actually someone from the corporate level of their record company who used the term sarcastically, and the media caught onto it. Before Nirvana, the term grunge was not used in the mainstream, though it may have been used in the Seattle scene. Thus, with the drop of their album “Bleach,” grunge was born. Grunge, in essence, is rough sounding, experimental, three-chord rock. Some influences of grunge are new wave, rock, and punk. The strongest of these three influences are punk, possibly because Cobain thought punk rock meant freedom. Vocals, much like Cobain’s, are usually strong, screaming, and somewhat raspy. To achieve this sound Cobain sat outside and screamed to improve his vocal stamina. Their album Never mind set the tone for most grunge bands both then and now. Most people would not be overly surprised to hear Cobain had no specific writing style. For this reason he didn’t like to defend his writing, though he did say he thought people didn’t realize how heavy the record, “Never mind,” was. Near the end of Nirvana they grew tired of grunge and wanted to expand their sound. They never got the opportunity to do so, because months later Cobain died.

April 5,1994 is a day undoubtedly known by every punk, scene, or Nirvana fan to be found. It is the day that Cobain was found dead in his garage in Seattle Washington, only 200 miles away from Aberdeen where Cobain grew up. At first no one really knew what had happened, because reports were vague. Near the body there was a note, which looked like it was in Cobain’s handwriting, with a pen through it and put into a flower pot. In the note there was a part that read that read “I haven’t felt the excitement of a creating music along with really writing something for so many years now.”. This surprised fans far more than those who were closest to Cobain. Cobain’s body was found at 8:40 a.m., less than an hour later the local radio was broadcasting the news of his death. By 10:00, thousands of mortified fans were calling each other, to confirm or deny the rumor. Unfortunately, it was true. Showing that Cobain had greatly impacted thousands of peoples lives, in the Seattle area alone, over 4,500 people eventually arrived at the vigil at the Seattle Center. Cobain has greatly influenced the lives of fans and artists alike. For example, Tori Amos covered the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Cobain found the cover flattering, and even listened to it in the morning. Weird Al even did a parody of the same song. Kurt Cobain found Weird Al’s parody hilarious, and even watched the music video Weird Al had made for it. Not only has Cobain influenced music, but many books have been written about him. Nirvana’s music still plays on the radio and talked about among kids who weren’t even alive when Cobain was making music. I wasn’t born in a time I would have allowed me to hear Nirvana live, or buy their records as they hit store shelves, but that did not mean they had any less of an impact on me or that their message was lost in syndication. To me, this proves Nirvana’s music continues to influence people today as much, if not more, than it did when they were writing it.

The same day Cobain was found his death was confirmed to be a suicide. To many, this was viewed as a rush of judgment. Even more troubling is all the evidence pointing towards Courtney Love. The case was closed quickly, because it deemed a suicide, and no further investigation was needed. Why wouldn’t a wife, left with a young daughter, want the case to be re-opened so everyone was one hundred percent sure it was a suicide? Two other pieces of evidence that can make one wonder if Love was at all involved are the fact the garage in which Cobain’s body was bulldozed soon after, and his body was cremated, destroying countless pieces of evidence. If one has any knowledge of the drug heroin, it would be known to them that the drug slows heart rates. At the time of his death Cobain had 3 times the lethal amount of heroin in his system. Photos taken at the scene show almost no blood near Cobain’s head. A gunshot wound to the head would produce a lot of blood, wouldn’t it? And if Cobain was consciously about to take his own like wouldn’t his heart be beating at a faster rate than usual? This leads many, including myself, to believe that Cobain was shot on the verge of an overdose or after he had already died of one. Dead men can’t bleed because the heart has already stopped, which may have been why there wasn’t much blood by the body. Possibly the one of the most important pieces of evidence showing Cobain was murdered was the fact Love had tried to hire a man named Mr. Hoke to kill Cobain before in 1993. After appearing on Jerry Springer confirming what Love had asked of him in 1997, he was killed. The details about his death, much like Cobain’s, are not clear. Al Bowman, a friend of Hoke’s said “He didn’t kill himself. I am convinced this has something to do with Kurt Cobain,” and he is not alone. Another incriminating piece of evidence towards Love is the fact she had a piece of paper in her backpack, which appears to be her trying to copy Cobain’s writing. The writing in his “suicide note” seems to change to look like the one on Love’s paper. It is possible that his handwriting changed in accordance with the heroin affecting his system, or it could be Love doctored the note. Also, there were no fingerprints on the pen found by Cobain’s body, nor were there any found on the gun he allegedly shot himself with. These reasons are a few of reasons (yet surely, not anywhere near all of them) many want Cobain’s case reopened. Some want it opened to prove Love did have a hand in Cobain’s death, others want it as reassurance she was not. The belief that Cobain was murdered, or died as a result of an assisted suicide can never be proven or denied further without the case being reopened.

In conclusion, before Cobain died he influenced Generation X, and brought grunge to the mainstream. He still continues to influence music and people today, and his life was ended far before it should have.