There’s something about tortured souls that makes them always interesting to sell, whether dead or alive, locked up in a psychiatric ward or out in the streets acting stupid. Kurt Cobain, lead singer, writer and founder of the grunge rock band, Nirvana, still attains his legendary status even 19 years after his death when his mother, Wendy O’Connor, has decided to sell the Seattle, 1.5-story bungalow up for sale.
Suffering a life of heroin addiction, chronic illness and depression, the fragile and talented young artist went through a rollercoaster and his skyrocketing music career didn’t as much help making things better. In fact, Kurt had major difficulty dealing with the consequences of fame and his public image. He believed that his artistic vision and musical journey was both misinterpreted by the public and the media. Cobain’s firm belief that music came before lyrics, alongside his dark and macabre sense of humor notably expressed in his songs had led to clashes with other band members and, later, distancing himself from the rest of the band.
Cobain rose to fame with his single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nirvana’s second studio album, Nevermind. Smells Like Teen Spirit was Nirvana’s biggest hit. It topped the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart for one week, reaching number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and placing high on music industry charts all around the world in 1991 and 1992. Cobain not only shook the music industry with his art but he also popularized the genres of “grunge rock” and “alternative rock”. The song had been considered as an anthem for teen revolution, despite the incomprehensible lyrics and Cobain’s slurred, guttural singing voice. Even with all that fame following the song wherever it went, Kurt Cobain –and the rest of the band members- felt uncomfortable playing the song. As odd as it sounds, Cobain stated that he hated the huge focus that was on this particular song, as well as the meaningless effort put into trying to decipher its meaning.
Cobain swerved from success to disaster. His whirlwind relationship with singer and actress Courtney Love, contributed more to his misery and unsettlement. The strain that their newborn daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, had put on the relationship only made things worse for Cobain, who made his first suicide attempt on March 3, 1994 to be later followed with two attempts, the last being the successful.
So why is Cobain’s mother putting his childhood home for sale now? It’s true that September marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s final studio album, In Utero, but that’s not the main reason. Kim Cobain, Kurt’s sister, has stated that they have decided to sell the home to create a legacy for Kurt, but she also mentions their need to “let go” of the house with all the memories that it holds.
Kurt Cobain will always remain a musical legend and rock star, but his wrecking life was not an easy journey for any of the people involved in it. As he had written -in the infamous suicide note- to his childhood imaginary friend Boddah, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” and he sure as hell will never fade away from the hearts and souls of millions of troubled teens and rockers all over the world.
By: Jaylan Salah