The death of Kurt Cobain was earth-shattering for pretty much everybody. Nirvana fans were absolutely distraught that their “voice”, the one who understood them, had passed away, and critics and the music business were also left reeling due to the fact that their biggest star had ended it all. However, none were more destroyed than those closest to him, though—namely his family and bandmates.
Wife Courtney was left widowed, baby daughter Frances Bean was without a father, his mother was left without a son. It had a knock-on effect. A premature death always obliterates those connected, but this time, given just how huge of an artist he was, it seemed to touch almost everybody across the globe. Three other people’s lives were also left with a gaping hole that has never truly healed.
Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Pat Smear. The three surviving members of Nirvana had sensed that the band was probably going to go on a hiatus at some point soon, as, after the release of 1993’s In Utero, Nirvana were the biggest band on the planet. To exacerbate the Gordian knot of feelings that comes with this, Kurt Cobain’s substance abuse, in particular his heroin addiction, had gotten out of hand.
Regardless, after Cobain took his own life, that was the end of Nirvana, and more importantly, the three were left without their best friend. Grohl has spoken on numerous occasions about the effect of Cobain’s passing over the years. He told the BBC: “I didn’t really have a plan. When everything’s sort of turned upside down and shaken up like that, you just wake up every day thinking, ‘Who am I, where am I, what am I doing?'”
Grohl also explained: “… Meaning like, I have to make a pot of coffee and this is my first pot of coffee since Kurt’s gone. I have to go upstairs and get dressed. This is the first thing I’ll wear since Kurt has been gone. It goes like that. I honestly don’t know what I did. It was months and months and months.”
At another point, he discussed his relationship with Cobain, and how living with him formed an unbreakable bond. Speaking to Rolling Stone, he recalled: “Living with Kurt was funny. He isolated himself in a lot of ways, emotionally. But he had a genuine, sweet nature. He never intentionally made you feel uncomfortable. Living with him in that tiny apartment in Olympia, Washington, there was some sort of bond. But it was much different than his relationship with Krist Novoselic.”
In that same interview, Grohl also remembered his last encounter with Kurt Cobain. Unfortunately, it was short. It came after Grohl called Cobain in Rome in March 1994, less than a month before he died, following a drug overdose. Grohl told Cobain that he was scaring everyone, and that he did not want him to die.
After that experience, Cobain and Grohl crossed paths at their accountant’s office in Seattle. They smiled at each other, said “what’s up”, and Grohl said he’d call him. Grohl said: “I called Kurt after Rome. I said, ‘Hey, man, that really scared everybody. And I don’t want you to die.’ Then I saw him at our accountant’s office (in Seattle). He was walking out as I was walking in. He smiled and said, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ And I said, ‘I’ll give you a call.’ And he said, ‘Okay.'”
Absolutely heartbreaking. We all know how the story ended, and it never gets easier discussing it. One can only imagine how Cobain’s close circle feel. Grohl has discussed how he still finds it hard to listen to Nirvana records due to the painful memories they conjure.
Regardless, Cobain lives on through his incredible music, and he continues to inspire legions of budding musicians, a brilliant testament to his genius.
Watch Dave Grohl discuss Kurt Cobain below.