William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain: A Dossier
Tags: Kurt Cobain
, William Burroughs
In honor of what would have been Kurt Cobain’s 40th birthday on 20 February 2007, RealityStudio offers this dossier documenting the relationship between Cobain and William S. Burroughs. Cobain greatly admired Burroughs, instigating their collaboration on The “Priest” They Called Him and visiting the Beat legend at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. And while Burroughs does not seem to have been especially impressed with the music of Nirvana, he was greatly saddened by Cobain’s suicide. Here is the story.
At Timberland Library [high school senior Kurt Cobain] discovered S.E. Hinton and William Burroughs, whose work would have an increasing influence on Cobain’s life. He read Burgess admiringly and J.D. Salinger without complaint. Cobain hated Scott Fitzgerald, whose critical resurgence was in decline, neither liked nor understood Faulkner and couldn’t talk about Hemingway without losing his temper.
Allen [Ginsberg] wasn’t always a good judge of talent. The Kerouac School rejected Kurt Cobain’s application, but they accepted mine. Go figure. Life isn’t just unfair, it’s weird.
When the tour hit Rotterdam on the first of September , it was almost with a nostalgic wistfulness that Kurt approached the last show. He was wearing the same T-shirt he’d had on two weeks earlier — it was a bootlegged Sonic Youth t-shirt — which had gone unwashed, as had his jeans, the only pair of pants he owned. His luggage consisted of a tiny bag containing only a copy of William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, which he had found in a London bookstall.
Kurt’s got a literary bent, and jokes that he likes “anything that starts with a B. I think I like Burroughs best, and I’m into Bukowski and Beckett.” He’s a fan of William Burroughs’ dense style, and admires the “cut-up” writing technique he pioneered in the ’40s, calling it revolutionary.
In the autumn of 1992 Burroughs and Cobain collaborated on The “Priest” They Called Him. (Listen to an excerpt.)
Cobain himself was an acknowledged fan of Burroughs’ oeuvre and first met with his hero in culture-space on a recording entitled The “Priest” They Called Him. This EP is constructed from a reading by Burroughs (recorded at his home in Lawrence, Kansas on 25 September 1992) overdubbed with Cobain’s guitar accompaniment (recorded in November 1992, at Laundry Room Studios in Seattle). Cobain later faxed Burroughs asking if he would play a crucifixion victim in a video for Nirvana’s forthcoming “Heart-Shaped Box” single. Burroughs declined but a meeting between the two was arranged and took place at Burroughs’ home in October 1993.
Interviewer: How did you get on with William Burroughs when you recorded together recently?
Cobain: That was a long distance recording session. [Laughs] We didn’t actually meet.
Interviewer: Did he show a genuine awareness of your music?
Cobain: No, we’ve written to one another and we were supposed to talk the other day on the phone, but I fell asleep — they couldn’t wake me up. I don’t know if he respects my music or anything; maybe he’s been through my lyrics and seen some kind of influence from him or something, I don’t know. I hope he likes my lyrics, but I can’t expect someone from a completely different generation to like rock’n’roll — I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be a rock’n’roll lover, y’know. But he’s taught me a lot of things through his books and interviews that I’m really grateful for. I remember him saying in an interview, “These new rock’n’roll kids should just throw away their guitars and listen to something with real soul, like Leadbelly.” I’d never heard about Leadbelly before so I bought a couple of records, and now he turns out to be my absolute favorite of all time in music. I absolutely love it more than any rock’n’roll I ever heard.
Interviewer: The song you’ve recorded together makes references to shooting up, and Burroughs’ own history of drug-taking is no secret. Were you worried that this collaboration might throw the spotlight on press rumours that you’ve had considerable experience with hard drugs yourself?
Cobain: I don’t think it’s any secret any more, it’s been reported so much for so long. I really don’t care what anyone thinks about my past drug use — I mean, I’m definitely not trying to glorify it in some way. Maybe when I was a kid, when I was reading some of his books, I may have got the wrong impression. I might have thought at that time that it might be kind of cool to do drugs. I can’t put the blame on that influence but it’s a mixture of rock’n’roll in general — you know, the Keith Richards thing and Iggy Pop and all these other people who did drugs. I just thought it was one of those things that you do to relieve the pain, but… As I expected before I started heroin, I knew at the beginning that it would become just as boring as marijuana does. All drugs, after a few months, it’s just as boring as breathing air. I’ve always lied about it because I never wanted to influence anybody, I didn’t want anyone to consider the thought of doing drugs because it’s really stupid.
I’ve collaborated with one of my only Idols William Burroughs and I couldn’t feel cooler.
Courtney returns, so we head back downstairs and, after a little difficulty trying to get the tape deck to work, myself and Courtney sit cross-legged on the floor. An avalanche of records surrounds us; Sub Pop singles of the month, Kleenex, Opal, Mudhoney, even Suede is here, PJ Harvey’s “Rid Of Me” is on the turntable, and a few books are scattered on the carpet; John Steinbeck, Jean Paul Sartre, William Burroughs’ Queer. Kurt grabs a book by Leonard Cohen, looks at us bemusedly and retreats upstairs.
What “Heart-Shaped Box” meant to Kurt is best surmised by the treatment he wrote for the song’s video. Kurt envisioned it starring William S. Burroughs, and he wrote Burroughs begging him to appear in the video. “I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives,” he wrote. “Let me assure you, this is not the case.” But exactly what Kurt hoped to achieve by casting the writer was never clear. In his attempt to convince Burroughs to participate, he had offered to obscure the writer’s face, so that no one other than Kurt himself would know of his cameo. Burroughs declined the invitation.
The journals sketch the evolution of the video’s symbol-laden, elliptically autobiographical narrative. At first, it was to star William Burroughs, whom Cobain evidently revered as a long-lived defier of convention (overlooking the fact that Burroughs survived only because he switched from heroin to marijuana early on) and for his aleatoric compositional technique, morbid mythology, and sardonic W.C. Fieldsian cynicism. Here was the first scene, expressing Cobain’s sense of himself as repository of Burroughs’ artistic spirit: “William and I sitting across from one another at a table (black and white) lots of Blinding Sun from the windows behind us holding hands staring into each others eyes. He gropes me from behind and falls dead on top of me. Medical footage of sperm flowing through penis. A ghost vapor comes out of his chest and groin area and enters me Body.”
Burroughs wouldn’t do the video, so Cobain used a generic old man on a cross and pecked at by crows. To him, birds also symbolized old men advocating death: “Me–old man,” he writes. “Have made my conclusion. But nobody will listen anymore. Birds [are] reincarnated old men with tourrets syndrome . . . their true mission. To scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth . . . screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Clearly, Cobain spoke bird.
In October 1993 Cobain met in Burroughs in Lawrence, KS.
During this first week of the tour, Alex MacLeod drove Kurt to Lawrence, Kansas, to meet William S. Burroughs. The previous year Kurt had produced a single with Burroughs titled The “Priest” They Called Him, on T/K Records, but they’d accomplished the recording by sending tapes back and forth. “Meeting William was a real big deal for him,” MacLeod remembered. “It was something he never thought would happen.” They chatted for several hours, but Burroughs later claimed the subject of drugs didn’t come up. As Kurt drove away, Burroughs remarked to his assistant. “There’s something wrong with that boy; he frowns for no good reason.”
Burroughs describes the meeting… “I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.” The two exchanged presents — Burroughs gave him a painting, while Cobain gave him a Leadbelly biography that he had signed. Kurt and music video director Kevin Kerslake originally wanted Burroughs to appear in the video for “In Bloom.”
“I’ve been relieved of so much pressure in the last year and a half,” Cobain says with a discernible relief in his voice. “I’m still kind of mesmerized by it.” He ticks off the reasons for his content: “Pulling this record off. My family. My child. Meeting William Burroughs and doing a record with him.
Cobain killed himself on 5 April 1994.
In Lawrence, meanwhile, William Burroughs sat poring over the lyric sheet of In Utero. There was surely poignancy in the sight of the eighty-year-old author, himself no stranger to tragedy, scouring Cobain’s songs for clues to his suicide. In the event he found only the “general despair” he had already noted during their one meeting. “The thing I remember about him is the deathly grey complexion of his cheeks. It wasn’t an act of will for Kurt to kill himself. As far as I was concerned, he was dead already.” Burroughs is one of those who feel Cobain “let down his family” and “demoralized the fans” by committing suicide.
A group calling itself “Friends Understanding Kurt” faxed a press release to various news organizations, claiming a “string of suicides associated with the [dream] machine since the 1960s.” The press release stated after he obtained one of the devices, “Kurt immediately commenced a habitual, perhaps maniacal use of the Dream-machine, then took it with him to his and Courtney’s shared Seattle mansion where he stationed himself with the device in a room above the garage.” It stated the Dream Machine was found in the room where Cobain died, although police and medical examiner reports contradict that. Nevertheless, the claims were widely published. William S. Burroughs, who knew Cobain and had collaborated with him, dismissed such speculation as “nonsense…” The Cobain story was ultimately proved to be a hoax.
An old diary of mine from my love affair (marriage) surfaced at Sanctuary today. I read it. I miss being loved by a husband very much… there were pictures of Kurt in there… pictures of Kurt walking with William Burroughs. I really miss him.
A source that wishes to remain anonymous provided these pictures of a painted collage that Burroughs sent to Cobain for his 27th birthday, less than two short months before the singer’s death.
i beleive cobain commited suicide because of his recent aqqusition of a shotgun
Yes, having a shotgun makes killing yourself with a shotgun possible. However, the logic that: A) the possession of a shotgun inevitably leads to B) shooting yourself with a shotgun–escapes me.
I think that people always misunderstood Kurts songs/way he acted.Some times yes he was on drugs and wasnt himself all the way but his songs were his way of dealing with self related problems and relating them to events that inspired or questioned him.His music was a way of expressing his feelings and the drugs took away some at first but when he depended on them to survive thats when anger and pain took affect and he relized to him hes done all he could.I am a nirvana fan but not crazy.Too many people dont care about others.Sure we have family and friends that will always be there for us but the ones that upset us and/we cant have sometimes are the ones who make us step off the edge.
i was 14 when kurt “died”,i am now 29,and i will always refuse to believe that he killed himself.
I believe he LOVED his daughter so much that he would never leave her in this world alone without him.
i support Tom Grant in the desire to re-open Cobains case.
Kurt’s death saddens me to this day.
Kurt did not kill himself. One day, the truth will prevail and one woman who is suffering a great deal of denial is going to suffer even more behind bars. If not only that, an eternal hell within herself and with her maker.
Kurt might of not been happy with his career, but Kurt loved his daughter. He wouldn’t let life get in the way of him being there for her.
It’s a crying shame that some of his fans believe that he would do such a thing. Shame on you. Shame on all of you…
Thank you for putting this together I love Nirvana and have read a lot of biographies but loads of this page is new information to me. I am enjoying reading Burroughs at the moment – and listening to Leadbelly! – and suddenly remembered about ‘The “Priest” they called him’ and went online to try to find somewhere i could listen to it.
i’m still undecided about why Kurt Cobain died. i was convinced it was murder for a while but eventually just thought he was such a genius – one of these troubled, creative characters from history – i wouldn’t put suicide past him. his love for his daughter does go against this, but i have to ask myself if the other theory is only so attractive because it protects us from admitting it got so bad that even she wasn’t enough to keep him alive?
i dont understand why people still calls kurts murder a suicided. so many people have died around courtney love and the only one who can do something doesnt. she tried to pay a guy 50,000 to kill kurt. when he said no he was hit by a car! hummm her friends all die and even get ran over by trains…no questions asked. how do we get this to be investegated??? it never was. it was closed b 4 it started. the only thing he was living for was his daughter….and she needs to know that.
Kurt Cobain killed himself, and we killed him. We brought him to fame, and we sucked him dry, and when he had nothing left to give (Which I believe he did still have) he killed himself. He loved his daughter, and he loved his wife. He wasnt selfish, he felt it was best done the way he did it, and I feel that his beauty will live on forever. I was only 5 when his life here ended, so for me he never really existed, he’s like a story, bigger then life. It was people like me who killed him, the ones who obsessed over him too much, who took his art as our own, but if people like me no longer existed then he would have killed himself for nothing.
Kurt Cobain will always remain as he is.. like before.. he’s not just a doper that some think! he’s an artist an individual, who seeks refuge thru music and what he loves most! he’s just like everyone of us.. human. kurt cobain; he may be gone but his music still lives on.
KURT COBAIN DID NOT KILL HIMSELF! LISTEN TO WHAT LELAND COBAIN SAYS!! ITS NOT A SUICIDE! I THINK AND I KNOW THERE’S A MUCH MORE DEEPER ISSUE TO WHAT REALLY HAPPEN. HE MAY BE SUICIDAL… BUT THAT’S JUST AN ESCAPE GOAT.. FOR WHAT DID REALLY HAPPEN! THINK EVERYONE! IF THERE’S ANYONE THERE WHO COULD GIVE ME LELAND COBAIN’S EMAIL PLEASE DO SO! ITS BETTER TO OPEN THE CASE AND SEE FURTHER.. WHAT DID REALLY HAPPEN! “THIS IS FOR YOU KURT” firstname.lastname@example.org
Kurt Cobain did commit suicide. It must be horrible for Courtney to be blamed for such a horrible act. Her husband, he died. I’m a widow,and have only been one for a month, but I know how hard of a thing Courtney had to go through, and it must have killed her inside to be accused of causing the world so much pain. She may have been messed up, but not messed up enough to have done that. People are just still in denial about how deep in pain Kurt Cobain was, and he had to die. He obviously couldnt go on any longer, or else he would have. Just fuck off and let him rest in peace.
I agree with Suzanne. I’ ve never understood why everybody blame Coutney. If he didn’t commit suicide it could have been anyone who wanted him dead (why not a drugdealer?)But my real opinion is suicide because he was about to divorce his wife and that was very painful for him. His parents divorsed when he was a child and he took it very hard and blamed himself for it. Suicide is the easyest way out in situations like this. I do hope that he is resting peacefully wherever he is…
wtf is this all about???? can anyone actually hold a decent topic of conversation??? Hint: seems to me this page is dedicated to the professional relationship between william s burroughs & kurt d cobain has anyone got any thoughts on this?? Im bored with all this pathetic suicide talk fuck it no point in quarrelling about it for fuck sake waste of time trust me! but what ya can do is maybe learn somthing from these two great men!
greetings. seems there is still vast passion on the subject of murder vs. suicide. i was thinking the same thing (UnHappy). two amazing artists, their impact will transcend and inspire many generations. definitely a fascinating look into their relationship. i think it is also worth noting whatever a documentary like this may inspire someone to write about. ive looked into both sides of kurts death. say what you want, believe what you want but any intelligent person who does even the smallest amount of research will realize what a horrid job the seattle police dept did. (not hard to figure out why if you look just a little further) and the thing about poor courtney, please. she was fucking billy corgan and had excuse me has no talent of her own and needed to secure her bankroll. kurt had the presense of mind to have her written out of his will but was not able to make it to his lawyer to sign it. cuz he was dead. the seattle pd were easily influenced (and murdered). and its damn near impossible to get a cop let alone a whole police dept. to admit they made a mistake. or maybe a rush to judgement. what evidence of suicide? a note? (yes he was ending nirvana. and different hand writting?) fingerprints? (there were none, none.) guns dont clean themselves. too many questions for it to have been an open and shut case. it needs to be reopened. i dont know what happened but i do know its more complicated than “he just couldnt go on blah” the guy was a cash cow and somebody was gonna get that money. sorry if i wasted too much time on this subject. no, fuck that! this is the internet, i can be a waste just like everyone else. fuck it im gonna kill myself. now if i die under questionable circumstances i wont expect anyone to investigate because there is proof im suicidal. fuck what if mike muir dies. man sucks for him.
Oh my god!! Everybody on this page, even if not sure what they believe, are sure of themselves. Yeah, the police did a shitty investigation, and yeah, he did have suicidal tendacies. So what, we’re never going to find out the truth. They’ll never re-open the case, like so many other cases closed too hastily, and too soon. I wouldn’t mind, suicide or murder either way it would bring justice to Kurt Cobain if we knew for sure what really fucking happened. I’m not leaning one way or the other, but My writing does change considerably from day to day. I read his journals, and there is no fucking way his writing looked the same on every page. But its the no fingerprints, and the fact that the pictures werent developed that gets me.
I was so sad when he shot himself, shocked, empty. First time i care so much for someone other than my dad mom and brother, and had never met. I’m glad the last album i had before he died was incesticide.
Was the happyest. I still miss him so much when i get a a buzz everything is back to when i was 13 and everything was blissful and new and nevermind was the themesong to my world. thank you for this timeline, i enjoyed it very much.
It’s sad to me that whenever i enter any form of internet discusssion about kurt cobain that people are always talking about courtney and never really talking about kurts amazing lyrics, vocals and music. Truth be told none of us know. I’m more interested in kurts fascination with lyricists, homosexuality and drugs to be honest. Kurt was more than likely bisexual, i know it’s hard to believe for you macho rockers but straight guys don’t get fascinated with william burroughs.
Courtney met Kurt before Nevermind. I hate the bitch, but she did. Yeah, he had talent, but no way she could have known that he would get as big as he did when she first met him. Maybe she stayed with him longer then would have if he didnt have the money, but she was still with him at the time of his death. And I dont know, her Eulogy seemed pretty fucking sincere to me.
Kurt was my idol as a child. As I kid I didnt want to look up to my parents, or look up to some god I didnt even know was there, I wanted somebody I could really relate to, and Kurt had this thing about him where he really did make everybody, no matter their situation, relate with him. Loved him more then I ever loved a rockstar, more then I ever loved somebody I didnt personally know, but I felt like I did, and to this day I still feel like a piece of me is missing.
It’s kids who weren’t around back in the day who seem to think Courtney is some vile murdering bitch. If they had have seen her, as I did, broken and bleeding on stage back in ’95, well, they wouldn’t be goin’ on with their nonsense.
Grow the fuck up is what I say. If the police thought there was any kind of case to be answered do you think she’d be free? You weren’t there, and slagging her off isn’t going to bring him back.
Yeah, C., I still got yer back ;)
Tara “Twoshoes” Taylor
Seriously, grow up. He Killed himself. I love Nirvana, they were my favourite band. And Burroughs is my favourite author of all time. The Priest They Called Him is awesome. And this article was fantastic. But on a more serious note, he killed himself, his daughter’s probably very unhappy about the whole thing, lord knows Courtney Love’s suffering, just let things lie and give him some peace. And also just accept that he killed himself. He did. The guy was morbidly depressed.
since the main focus of this website has already drifted off course, I guess I will add my insight and admiration to Kurt Cobain. Kurt Cobain, in my opinion, was definantely sent to us for a reason. (This may seem a pretty “out there” theory, but its crossed my mind anyway.) Kurt has obviously touched us all in some type of way or none of us would be on this site. Kurt actually saved my life. I suffered for so long with an internal torment, a sadness, and so much pain. I was 19 when Kurt died. But before his death, when I was on the brink of suicide because no one in my family would acknowledge the suffering that I was going through. I had no idea what was wrong with me, but it was there. One day I read an article about Kurt and it was describing everything that I was feeling. That’s the day I found out that I was not alone, when my family was making me feel so isolated because they wouldn’t listen to my cries for help. I actually did attempt suicide, I think it was out of desperation for my cries to be heard. But Kurt Cobain changed my life, and he will always be my hero. I feel like he was put here for people like me to understand what our generation was going through, we were so lost and alone. I would never compare anyone to Jesus Christ but if in a way, if you really look at it with an open mind, he was almost Mesianic. He did actually fore tell from the beginning what would ultimately happen in the end. Looking back, it is so apparent in his music.
All I ask is that you don’t ridicule me for my opinions. I’m not trying to convince anyone or persuade anyone into follow my personal realization. Everyone of us is entitled to our opinions and I guess I just needed to share my story.
This April marks the 15th anniversary of his death. He was a talented, disturbed kid who desperately hoped that being a famous musician would lessen his pain, but it didn’t. His (and her) addictions to Heroin led to them losing custody of Frances for a while, which scared him into sobriety for a short bit, but he sank back in soon after. He felt like a failure. And imagine the filibustering Courtney Love berating him for going back on the smack.
With some people, tough love doesn’t work. Intervention after intervention made him feel like even more of a loser. Combine that with his family’s genetic predisposition to suicidal behavior (reference: audio interview with his Aunt Mary), and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Thanks for the insightful article. And thank you, Paige, for your heartfelt comments. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family, and the pain from my youth continued to haunt me well into my adulthood. My broken heartedness was very deep. I was 28 when Kurt passed (just a year older than him), and I was very affected by his death. His incredible genius and artistic talent was a blessing to me. Cobain’s music helped me greatly thru some of my darkest days, especially the late 1990s and early 2000s. Listening to Nirvana was cathartic, and the best therapy I’ll ever have. Although some of my pain will always be with me, Cobain helped me access my broken heart and release most of the poison that dwelled in it. To me Cobain’s music was a healing experience. I too believe that Kurt was a gift – at least to people like me who needed to feel like someone on this earth understood what we were feeling.
William S Burroughs’ strange individual and I was captivated on his views of the world and people in general. I don’t know if anyone else has really payed close attention to his writings but it seems as if practiced chaos magic and he has made me think of very peculiarly interesting ideas.
I would like to get me one of those “Escape Goats”, & keep it as a pet.
Are they the result of a genetic engineering project involving Houdini genes?
Must be, I figure. If they are, I reckon special orders with custom specifications are possible.
I’d like one with long, shaggy, gray fur; green eyes, black hoofs, translucent, indigo blue horns that emit little, electrical, lightning bolts; and have the B-a-a-a-a sound disabled.
And, gender-less, if possible.
Can’t have the Escape Goat, out for a walk, trying to fuck the legs of all those sheep out there on the street.
In short, I want a very well-behaved, low maintenance, Escape Goat.
Please post necessary contact information. I promise to keep it completely confidential.
Thank you very much.
“But on a more serious note, he killed himself, his daughter’s probably very unhappy about the whole thing”
Any of you that used the word idol and Cobain in the same sentence should follow his lead and eat a bullet. Sheep.
Sad thing about Cobain is that he seems to have wanted to be liked more than to be an artist. Their last album was getting there, but it was still pop and they didn’t refuse to be molded that way. Must have felt very disappointing.
Kurt Cobain died before i was born. Ive been greatly influenced by him. I look like Cobain in the mirror. Im a right hand guy and im a left handed in the reflection. Hes my god.
I can’t get enough of this Site
Tell me all his medical and i will tell you what happened.cronic pain no one can understand. half of all drug use is cronic from pain. fibro lupus and others can cause so many down falls. why did he finish a concert in a dress? IBS anyone? what is the only drug at that time that would help?they don t sell it at the drug store. in the 90s if you went to dr with cronic pain, it was suck it up be a man or its all in your head. even now some drs laugh at it and fibro, if they only had a week of both they would buy a shotgun. now go back and read his music and listen you will hear the answer you will feel the pain just as he wanted to do more he could only do less and that killed him more than his death. his cross would never be seen
Kurt Cobain wrote some great songs but that was about it. He was no Ghandi, Malcolm X or even Burroughs. Nirvana’s first album was a pretty bald rip off of an earlier record by an English band called Killing Joke. Take a listen sometime. Just slow it down slightly and you’ll get the picture. Kurt was actually worried at the time he’d be sued by K.J. A deal was worked out between the publishers because Nirvana was making so much money. Kurt was a talented but sad, confused and rather immature individual. It seems Dave Grohl always had a lot more on the ball, not taking the ‘poor me’ route. There’s one thing to remember about both hard drugs and large caliber weapons. If you can’t handle them, don’t have them around.
Burroughs “gave up heroin early for marijuana”? Depends what you mean by early. His ’60s?
Kurt killed himself. I don’t like Courtney Love, but I wish she could sue every asshole who publicly accuses her of killing the father of her child.
And Bill whining about “Fibrio Lupus” and “Dr.s” who don’t know about pain . . . opiates are a very poor solution to pain in the long run. You reach a point in less than a year when they don’t work in any realistic (non-lethal) dose. Sounds like you’re a malingerer with a grudge . . . get clean, buddy.
The doctors are right to laugh at you, Bill. At least if your chasing pain pills because of poorly defining syndromes like Fibromyalgia. Try some Lyrica. And that comment about Kurt’s crossdressing being brought on by IBS? You should be a standup comic.
And you saying the entire Nevermind album is a Killing Joke rip? I guess you mean the slight resemblence of a riff in “Eighties” to a riff in “Come As You Are”. Wow you really know the obscure rock nuggets, now donthcha? Anyway I lost all respect for Killing Joke when they went after Nirvana and I lost all respect for Dave Grohl when he ditched the drumkit he was born to sit behind.
God, Kurt’s name really brings out the idiots, doesn’t it?
Thanks for the insight into the brief, but no doubt meaningful, relationship between these two icons of our time. I wonder if their meeting will be included in the Nirvana biopic in the works? Most people seem to forget how young and maybe even naive Cobain was, especially about drugs. He was just a kid, we do a lot of stupid things in our youth. Growing up is hard. Unfortunately, some of us don’t make it.
Maybe Kurt isnt just the poster boy for the 90’s angst. Okay, lets be realistic. Half of Kurts lyrics didnt make sense. Nirvanas albums were beautiful, sorrowful, morbid and absolutely random. Kurt didnt write with the intention to convey thought, he just wanted to give you his emotions. Every sick twisted little feeling that crept into his soul, he wanted to share it. What better way then picking up a guitar and make it music for all the other lost, random, putrid, scared souls who feel like they have no place? I do think that Kurt removed himself from his earthly body. He was in a lot of pain from years of misdiagnosed physical disorders. I wasnt aware of the gun being cleaned of finger prints and I cant fathom an answer. But its not beyond me to understand why he would no longer want to wake up. He was a tormented soul his whole life and not even the face of your seed can by pass addiction and the effects of heroin.
Kurt hated one thing, and that was people in turmoil over him or his band. We should simply celebrate the gifts we have from him when he was on our plane. Stop getting mad and questioning the science. Rejoyce and maybe Kurt can watch over us with a little joy knowing that we remember.
Why is everyone talking about Kurt’s suicide? That’s not what the article is about. His habit and his suicide are the only two things anyone knows or says about the guy.
On the actual topic, this is pretty cool, I had a feeling Kurt was a huge Burroughs fan because they’re both weird and both dope fiends. I’m certain some of Kurt’s material came from Naked Lunch.
kurt did not kill himself he was murdered!
people can say what they want but it’s true
and his spirit lives on because of what happened! but people need to respect him for the artist that he is! people are so blind & just go by what they hear & it is sad! money is bullshit & it played a role in why he is not alive & well! how could you off someone just cause you want what they have that is so sick! but these people who took part in this crime will get there’s i know this to be true! his life was more important than those individuals! I hope what they did weighs down on there soul cause he was more & you are less *~
It seems like everyone has their own opition of what happpened to Kurt and I respect everyone`s. So in return I ask for your respect. I believe Kurt was murdered. I know I am talking off topic. But I believe sites like this will help spread the truth. There are way to many facts about Kurt`s last days and about his crime scene. The fact is Kurt was making big changes before his death. He was leaving Courtney taking their money and was trying to get custody of Frances. He was beginging to have a better view on life and his drug habbits. He was guitting drugs and Nirvana. Planing a fishing trip with his Grandfather and making plans to head to the East- Coast to met up with head singer from Pear -Jam. After leaving rehab Kurt came back to his Seattle Mansion when around that time Courtney had hired a Private I and had everyone looking for Kurt. What seems fishy to me is Courtney was in California trying to get off drugs herself had everyone looking for Kurt and that were the stories started about Kurt was walking around with a gun. A few days with out no luck of finding Kurt. Courtney left rehab going to her Mangers home in Cali and then started using drugs again. She began calling everyone she and Kurt knew to see if anyone had any sittings of Kurt. If Courtney was so concern to find Kurt because she thought he was going to kill himself then why didn`t she jump on a airplane and locate him herself why hire a Private I and make statements about Kurt that weren`t true. She had time to leave rehab and go do drugs make interviews telling the media that Kurt left rehab and was going to kill himself and had bought a gun. I myself have a husband and if their was any thought in my mind that I thought my husband was going to kill himself and had bought a gun then I would be taking the next airplane to look for him not hire a Private -I and have everone else look for him.The point is there are so many reasons to have this case reopened http://www.justiceforkurt.com PLEASE FOR KURT
“Kurt Cobain killed himself, and we killed him.”
Kurt himself was trying to be successful from the beginning. And he was successful. Killing is a solution, quitting a day job another one.
I have never wanted to kill him, and I think nobody wanted that. He wanted to be a rock star and he became one. I guess he believed a bit too much in it’s bad habits and stupidity.
I think that those of you who really understood, and really knew Kurt…would know that he did it. There is no conspiracy, now stop dragging Courtney or Dave or Chris or anyone else through the mud over it. Let Kurt rest in peace, that’s all he ever wanted.
He didnt kill himself.
1.No finger prints on shot gun or shells. (he wasnt wearing gloves)
2.”Suicide note” was written in two different handwritings. His (when saying goodbye to the industry) someone elses (when he was talking about ending his life)
3. El Duce (lead singer of the Mentors) was hit by a train after confessing to a poly graph test and it coming out positive, to being paid off to “Whack” Kurt Cobain.
4. detective was hired to find Kurt after he was missing. He checked all the rooms except the one he was found dead in… Guess that one room was forgotten.
Question, why is it so hard to believe he was murdered? If OJ Simpson got away with it in this country why couldnt someone else???
He was worth more dead then alive, and was ready to get a divorce and end Nirvana. Anyone else still think this was a simple suicide? Especially after his baby was born and was overjoyed with her?
Kurt Cobain’s perspective on his art was perfected when he added to it the self expression of angst which, (try as he might and drive him to create as it did), he could never fully convey satisfactorily. The act of his suicide embellished his music with this final quality, the undertone of morbidity and melancholy that so obviously permeated his being throughout his life. It’s impossible now to seperate the tragedy of his sad end from his music.
Anyone who was there in the early nineties who knew what the word ‘rock’ really meant and listened to this stuff for the first time immediately knew that the next big thing had finally arrived. It had to end too though and that was Kurt’s final placement upon his back catalogue- letting everyone know the hard way that he hadn’t enjoyed every moment of it, that it was being sourced from a place of pain and all the power and melody of it was for him his way of escape from the problems he suffered. Eventually, anyone who studies this man’s life and music will reach the same conclusion and it’s right to accept he took his own life and thereby to give his biography the tinge of tragedy he cast upon it.
It’s tempting to see him as the victim of a murder plot because it removes some of the sorrow caused by his death and thereby allows the listener to revel in these rock and roll anthems to some extent with the same excitement that they created when they first appeared on our TVs and radios, and really who could blame anyone for wanting that?
Murder? Suicide? Either way, the dude’s gone.
On the other hand,Burroughs was like the Dante Allegeri of our Industrial/Atomic/Computer Age and his body of work a giant “Divine Comedy”. I think Kurt would agree. Have you guys watched the Heart Shaped Box video closely? There’s Dante’s “Tree of Suicides” (hanged fetuses), Pope Boniface mocked on a cross,the “Hooded Penitents of Paradise” (little girl skipping around the poppy field). Its really fu%$in amazing. No wonder Kurt wanted Bill Lee in the video!
Hey Jed–Just saw this for the first time. Very nice compilation of material, but could these comments be any more tedious? It’s like there are hordes of people living in their parents’ basements, wearing flannel shirts, just waiting for anything to be posted about Kurt Cobain so that they can weigh in on whether his death was a suicide or not.
Maybe tedious to an extent, but art is but a reflection of one’s soul, and his soul was dieing… and in that way his death is very much a part of his art.
I believe his suicide is evident throughout the course of his life – it was never in just one act, but in many.
I’ve been trying not to disturb myself for about 8 years with all that concerns Cobain’s death and all ins and outs. And today, looking through all the information on the Internet it makes me so surprizingly sad. All those whether-or-nots… It’s so sad. Right you are, James LeManz, – the dude’s gone… and all our pains remain… and have nothing to do with him.
Like many of you people around the world i came tehse latest years among knowing many informations on Cobain death.I was a new 15 yaers old guy who started to enjoy In Utero and was amazed by Nevermind.
Knowing these days that around Kurt there were many persons that were ipocrit friends and above all he had a psychotic wife.He only loved his child.
These shit people around him were best friends who bought shot gun for him and even nurse of his daugheter:the name of this person is Cali DeWitt, who lived in Kurt’s house, being at teh sam etime the best friend of Kurt’s wife, Courtney.
I’m totally disgusted because i had my result idea on Kurt, and is Homicide committed by someone that was really near him.
I would like that people see this what i think.
I thought easily supported by actual journal – persons infos that Kurt’s escape from Los Angeles drug clinic ended with him returning home because he would have spotted heroin since he was in withdrawal siutuation, one of the most pain and unsafe condition a mid long term drug abuse Kurt was.
Just think how he was feeling bad seeing how people drove him to clinic without any friend.
So they killed him in this way first.
Then kurt with all credit cards blocked was living him daydream nihgtmare: he could ionly return home where he would find DeWitt and probably would have used drugs hidden in his house.
I came to understand that he was administered a fatal heroin overdose just when he was asking for relieving his withdrawal.I think thi person was Cali DeWitt, his murder.
Subsequently a suicide scene was build up and Cobain was shot in the face by DeWitt.
A proof is that the Kurt’s hair were strangely combed, as the elctrician reported and more above all no finger prints on shot gun.
So we all know there are two persons, Courtney Love and Cali DeWitt who are freely to run but made a murder andhave earned B-millions by Kurt death, infact the last nirvana live reads Dewitt as an important Geffen supervisor big money figure.
so truth is more ugly than sad.
The time will lead these two person to hardly pay?
“One who live knowing these secrets can only die.”as Burroughs put out .
What really happen to kurt cobain? no one knows but god and courtney love. suicide? homicide? if there is someone out there who really truly honestly loves the guy (kurt)… he/she would re-open the case. Its been a long time.. everyone speculate.. but not a single honest god fearing soul would put their hearts and efforts to re-open the case. I guess nobody, no one in kurt’s immediate family who truly, dearly and honestly loves him?? lets just let god do the justice for kurt cobain.
Courtney threatened she’d leave him and take Frances, during an intervention, if he didn’t quit drugs. She was already fooling around on him. I believe she wasn’t, nor could ever be, involved in the relationship in the way that he was as he was devoted to her…how many times do u hear him referring to his Wife and family…and I think it became such a mess with his natural depression and physical ailment, addiction, a new band direction necessary to carve out, his upbringing about to revisit him in the upcoming break-up and he killed himself rather than try to go on without his family. Brokenhearted.
I don’t believe Kurt Suicided. No fingerprints he was so drugged out he wouldn’t have been able to pick up a gun. I think he bought it for protection. Someone knows who killed him and she knows who she is. RE-OPEN THE CASE IT WASN’T A SUICIDE…………he wouldn’t have done that to Frances Bean. He will always be missed.
wow, as much as i loved this band.. you all make me sick to see everytime i watch a video or read an article that has anything to do with 90’s era music, there are always 200 idiots arguing over whether or not Kurt Cobain was murdered. just give it a break. we are never going to know, just be happy the man is no longer suffering the way he was, suicide or not. He left us some great fucking music that will be here for the next GenerationX! he will always be here in spirit, and lets hope that now his spirit can rest easy. FFS. get a life or something.
god damn, people are stupid. you really think that Kurdt, murdered or not.. Would really want you to argue over it? I don’t believe he would..
Yeh is shame anything Nirvana related ends up with same old suicide / conspiracy nonsense.
Good band with lot of energy who had some good songs and an artistic minded frontman – shame any discussion about them tends to end up so muddied with the other rubbish.
I killed Kurt Kobain, I confess.
Seriously, Kobain had great raw energy, celebrate the recordings and his life, don’t focus on his corpse..that’s just morbid.
I shot Andy Warhol too, btw…
ahh aahh ALL OF YOU LATEST IDDIOTS !
as evil is alwais banal and stupid here they come
the sinner ones that perfers to pass on away ion such a fact, such a murder of a talented person.
Figure it out WHAT THE DISCOGRAPHIC LABELS are doing about thei gold cows !see what they do until they are not much more raisingB-millions for them!
You eediots (above David and nauseated)prefers to pass by and let all the facts covered with dust ee..h ?
I think this Burroughs -Cobain link is ok because Burroughs always trated with tha evil concept and the Kurt case has giver worldwide a practical scene.
From under the bridges to Ecstatic vip Star to death?
you make him so stupid?
he was only so weak. and loveless.and heroineless.
SO WHAT NOW?
ah ah and Dave Ghrol is such an example of what Kurt wouldn’t have done for $$$ at all.
I deeply thank this website for this article.
Aside from all the speculations on Cobain’s tragic death, I have to say that I grew up listening to Nirvana since my pre-teenager years and then William Burroughs’ writings entered in my life – and despite their many differences, I can sincerely see some parallels about the use of the lyrics Cobain used inside “In Utero”, and in some of his visions (notice please how both Burroughs and Cobain, in their periods of taking heroin, got the same fascination for the organic functions of the human body and how they observe it as almost an alien phenomenon…) – it was lovely to know he was worried to meet Burroughs, and it was lovely for Burroughs to give him a painting for his birthday and start what it seems a sincere and good friendship out of the business and a private, lovely, confidential meetings and opinions exchange.
It could have been a wonderful things if the two would have choose to work together on another level, together, shoulder to shoulder.
Love to both of them, and thanks again for this website.
We new he was a dead man when he married Courtney. He was fragile, she is a hard bitch.
God bless you Frances Bean.
I get that he made an album with Burroughs, and that’s why he’s here. But, if he hadn’t killed himself (or whatever), he would have faded away like most of the “grunge” acts of the day. Maybe he’d end up like Dave Grohl doing some other band or maybe touring endlessly with “Nirvana” (with him as the only original member) doing a parade of hits for tired old fake hipsters?
Compared to Burroughs, Cobain had little to offer the world of arts.
stupid bedazzler…Nirvana have change the face of music whatever you think…It makes me laugh when you try to analyse Cobain with the eyes of someone who lives in 2013. Cobain can only be treated in the 90’s. He is the fruit of that past time, no more no less…Thinking that he could “fade away” doesn’t mean anything….There isn’t any artist nowadays that can feet his shoes….it’s just facts! What make him so BIG is that, famous or not, this guy would have kill himself like all fragile REAL artists (van gogh,poet Arthur Raimbaud, Tenessee williams and many more….)
I got into Nirvana when i was 15 after a horrible situation, and losing someone very close to me. I was amazed and drawn in to the melancholic vocals, and raw riffs and sounds That i could absorb myself in, i also loved just letting go of everything and truly going wild to their songs that felt like they were wrote for the purpose of individuality, that it doesnt matter if you’re ugly, fat, skinny, quiet, popular, sad, happy!!! i know and have read comments on here that Cobain was no idol etc, but then if he and Nirvana could help teenagers lost, hurting and without direction feel passionate about life, isnt that something special? So in love with the idea that Burroughs and Cobain were friends, and that friendship could have transpired into something magical. Both were artistic, soulful and thinking-outside-the-box creative. After reading ‘And the Hippos Will boil in their tanks’ got an insight into the everyday life of Burroughs and the othet beats.
Kurt Cobain was a beautifully faced artist with a sad troubled soul, and his ending obviously puts a romanticised edge to his story. and enevitably when ever Nirvana or he are mentioned, the debate of murder/suicide comes up because fans feel personally involved. And looking at the facts, easily both theories are equally believable. Either way, the biggest tragedy is that he is gone, Nirvana are no more, and instead of great emotional and passionate music, and possible future collaborations between Burroughs and Cobain, we are left, with 1 direction, Justin Beiber and Miley Cyrus…wearing tee’s of Nirvana clearly never having listened to one of their songs to know, she is the epitome of everything they hated.
sS to all of you stop-byers, take a look into this. PLease google ‘the obituary of Sgt. Don Cameron (who was the hea DT on the case/scene of the crime), he is the man, also, who was alleged to have told Ms. Love to (paraphrase) ‘if no else knows about it, I would keep it to myself’ (regarding the second suicide note. Notice he was a high ranking member of the Scottish Rights, a member of a unique FM lodge. Check it out.
Check out the MYSTERIOUS circumstances around the death of Dt. Antonio Perry who was involved w/ Mr. Cobain and Ms. Love in the months/year(s) before Mr. Cobain’s death. This is, of course, part of a string of mysterious deaths that occurred following the death of Mr. Cobain, from the Bassist of Hole, to A. Hoke aka ‘El Duce’.
Look into, if you can, the background of Leland Cobain and Wendy, Kurt’s mom. For sure after the luke warm reception of “bleach”, Nirvana’s first album it was obvious that something had to be done in order to get Nirvana to national/international recognition, and Sub-Pop, the back alley Seattle record company was not in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM Geffen Records. So deducing what we can from “Rosemary’s Baby”, something has to be done, agreements have to be made, sacrifices have to be committed to in order for someone to attain ‘that’ level. If KC did or did not in fact pull the trigger, he was complicit, or in other words Knew that his days were numbered. Look at the recordings or manuscript from the Unplugged in New York in 1993, Kurt vocalized his wish to have the aura of the stage set-up like a funeral. The question is why? What did he already know? And why did he begin to consume so much heroin towards the end of his life, in order to ease the pain of something specific? As noted by photographers, he showed up hours late for his Photo shoot in NY (and subsequently at Roseland Ballroom, if I am not mistaken) the day he shot the picture of him w/ White sunglasses and winter/ear cover hat. Maybe, maybe not at all… but it does seem plausible.
Were Leland and Wendy part of the occult and introduced Kurt to it as well? Funnier things happen in forgotten little towns; no different, in the middle of nowhere (Aberdeen), Washington… maybe, maybe not at all.
just wanted to say i consider both WSB N KURT COBAIN THE REAL THING THATS ALL N LOVE THEM BOTH
Wow I was kind of enjoying that string and kind of wincing at the same time…then I read shane Armendingers’s claim to proof of Kurts Bisexuality as evidenced by the fact that no straight men get obsessed with William Burroughs….fuck me I know lots of straight men who totally obsess over him or more so his work (which is what Kurt clearly did love) and that of the Keroak and Ginsberg as well. And he clearly longed for acknowledgement from William…but that’s not really sexual now is it? What a tool, conversation killer for me.
I enjoy songwriting and I am Cobain’s age. I’ll never forget that fateful day. I started listening to Nirvana and recently heard songs I had never heard before because back then I had no money, and now I subscribe to music streaming. But listening to these songs fills me with stunned admiration, yet makes me sick to my stomach, not because of anger, but because of an empty hole due to great beauty left unfinished. When listening to Live at Leads, it’s like he’s reaching into your chest. It’s breathtaking. Well, Mr. Cobain, I wish you could have grown old with us. But I leave with great gratitude for allowing us to see possibility as any great writer or poet has ever done.