⌚ Early Life Stress In Kurt Cobains Life

Friday, October 22, 2021 3:27:04 PM

Early Life Stress In Kurt Cobains Life



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What The Last Year Of Kurt Cobain's Life Was Like

She had a troubled childhood, her parents divorcing when she was young, moving to Oregon with her mother and being adopted by her then-stepfather Frank Rodriguez. When her mother divorced Rodriguez and remarried, the family relocated to New Zealand before a young Love was sent back to live in Portland, Oregon. She also spent a spell in an institution for criminally inclined teens after being caught shoplifting. At the age of 17, in , the future rocker embarked on a whirlwind trip to Europe with her best friend Robin Barbur.

From Dublin to Liverpool and London to Manchester, the pair chased bands, whiled away hours drinking cider outside record stores and embedded themselves in the music scene. The second night was a repeat of the first: me and a guy reading the book I wrote about him, in a generic little hotel room, punctuated by the rustle of paper and the occasional grunt of appreciation or soft chuckle. He told me it was illuminating to read about his entire life in chronological order. Very few people have that luxury. A little before dawn on the third night, he turned over the last page, planted his palm on the top of the stack as if absorbing its vibrations, and took a long drag on his cigarette.

My publisher was surprised and immensely relieved that Kurt had only a few minor factual corrections. They were expecting him to raise a fuss, possibly to the point that it could torpedo the whole book—which had already happened with another book about the band. What the publisher overlooked was that the most sensational things were said by Kurt himself. The rest was window dressing. He totally knew what he was doing. After I was done with the book, Kurt and I became friends. Usually Kurt would want to rail, sometimes volcanically, about management or the label or the band.

Or maybe he wanted me to see for myself what he was always complaining about. Eight of us sat around a large, circular table. I sat directly across from Kurt, out of conversation range, but I could see that he was uncomfortable. He was withdrawn and not responding much to anything anyone said to him. Everyone tried to pretend like nothing was wrong. Kurt just kind of mumbled. Kurt excused himself to go to the bathroom. He was gone a long time.

I considered the possibility that he had sneaked out of the restaurant. That would have been brilliant. But, eventually, just as I was starting to think that someone should go check on him, he returned. He was high, dazed, his eyelids nearly closed. He was nodding slightly. Surely everyone else at the table could see this, too, but no one acknowledged it in any way, and the conversation continued around Kurt, as if he were a senile grandparent. It was obvious to me that Kurt got high at that dinner deliberately, as a self-destructive protest. The ostensible purpose of the dinner, aside from dining at a fancy restaurant and putting the bill on the expense account, was to discuss some pressing business decision with Kurt. But Kurt was in no condition to make any decisions.

When the check was paid, everyone scattered. I walked him back to his hotel, holding on to his arm—as if he were an elderly person—in case he stumbled. When we arrived at his hotel room, Courtney was lying on the bed, reading a magazine. Then he flopped down on the end of the bed, sidewise, and Courtney nonchalantly put up her feet on his back like he was a sofa cushion. I got the sense that something like this had happened many times before. Kurt was sleeping, or something like it, and Courtney apparently had things under control, so I left them and headed down the hall to stop by a little party the rest of the band and crew were having.

Kurt overdosed later that evening. He had gone to the bathroom for a long time. Then Courtney heard a thud. But it, too, became terrifying. Soon after I arrived, one of the guys in the band stepped out the window and onto a broad ledge on the side of the building, several stories above the street. He started walking on the ledge toward the next window of the room—which was maybe ten feet away. I was petrified. He was hammered, not the ideal condition for tightrope walking. I thought that I was about to witness a horrific moment in rock history, but he made it. Everybody in the room cheered. Then one of the crew tried it.

And I was petrified all over again, but he made it, too. Then the guy in the band went a second time. By now, I was thoroughly freaked out. But he made it again, and, thankfully, there were no more ledge walks. I made a beeline for the drinks table. Courtney eventually forced her way into the bathroom and saw Kurt turning blue. He claimed it would be boring, but then he said everything about his life was boring. The long, concrete-floored hallway leading to their room was lined on one side with cremation urns, which were manufactured in another area on the floor. It was late when we arrived, and the entire building was silent. The room was about six hundred square feet, with windows that looked out onto other industrial loft buildings.

A small riser for the drum set was as fancy as they got. There was a modest P. They had no soundproofing, no sound person, no special lights, no recording equipment, no well-stocked bar. A few mismatched old chairs were strewn around the room, some concert posters hung on the wall, and there was a small fridge. They fussed with the P. They played sections of songs, starting and stopping until Kurt felt that things were right. I suppose this was what Kurt thought was the boring part, but it was illuminating to see how much he controlled things, how exacting he was with music that appeared so rough-hewn.

It was difficult to hear some of the flaws Kurt wanted to correct, but when the band fixed them it was obvious that everything had snapped into place. I was a relatively steady person, a little older, and drug-free. She figured that I would be good company for Kurt on the road, maybe help keep him on the straight and narrow—if only by example. Sometimes a cloud gathered over the touring party. But everyone in the band felt some sort of tension: even if they tried to make light of it, Kurt, the bassist Krist Novoselic, and the drummer Dave Grohl felt the enormous pressure of being a world-famous rock group and resented the invasive journalism that comes with it.

There were tensions within the band, too. The thing was, Dave was staying in the room right next door. I was sure that Dave heard the whole thing. He told his biographer, Paul Brannigan, that on a flight from Seattle to Los Angeles he had overheard Kurt bad-mouthing his drumming two rows back. Once they landed, Dave told their trusty Scottish tour manager, Alex MacLeod, that he was quitting the band after the last scheduled show. MacLeod talked him out of it. After we reached Dallas, Kurt called my room and asked whether I wanted to walk around downtown with him, the kindly Pat Smear an early L. We rolled out with Kurt pushing Frances in her stroller, making her laugh with a ridiculous assortment of rude noises. The emptiness of downtown Dallas on a weekday afternoon was baffling to me, a provincial New Yorker, but great for Kurt, who could stroll around without being hassled by fans.

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