Saturday, March 31, 2007


Considering how much time I’ve spent in Olympia and Seattle, its strange that I’ve never thought much about Kurt Cobain while there. I’ll admit to an incredible fascination with the guy. I dissect his life with the same mindset as when I read a classic novel. So many people have been impacted so much by the story, I need to concentrate and squeeze out all the meaning I can… I mean, he is a key component to the canon of American pop-culture. I would wager that his name is mentioned in bold type in the last chapter of newly printed history textbooks, that chapter that you never got to, but you snuck a peak at during a boring lecture. I take so much from learning about Cobain’s life and death, the depths of it, his condition and addiction, the way he sought out fame, and the way he rejected it, the way he was so calculated yet so unpredictably emotional, the weight he bears on my peers, and on my brother’s. That’s one guy, who only released a handful of songs.

One guy.

We were walking to find food after the show tonight, Will, Bryce and I. In complete earnestness, I began telling them that one of these days when we play Seattle, I’m going to go visit Cobain’s house, find the coffee shops that he frequented before his suicide…

Hearing myself speaking these words, I felt pretty creepy.

After finding an empty hole in the wall pan-Asian joint and eating in a complete silence of exhaustion, I let the two of them go ahead and slipped into a little coffee house. The place was slick and dim and modern, the barista had sleeves of tattoos, the coffee was thick and rich. It felt just like my preconceived notion of Seattle. I walked back into the drizzle and began up the hill towards the venue. I began to think to myself that this is the hipster, yuppie, yupster part of town, that 15 years ago it could have quite genuinely been frequented by grungy rockstars. Cobain must have walked up this very street at some point, stood and waited for the light to change on this very corner…

This notion gave me the shivers. I saw flashes of him leaning against a wall in the corner of my eye, smoking a cigarette outside a bar, ordering a meal through that restaurant window - conscious of the rain, of the headlights, of the people around him. Insecure and human. Maybe even inconspicuous. Maybe his presence wasn’t even turning heads or slowing traffic. I mean, I know I’ve played on stages that Nirvana played on a handful of times at least, I’m sure I’ve stood in a lot of places he stood in New York or LA – I’ve been aware of this, but these images were more visceral. It made me so uncomfortable to see the ghosts all around me doing normal and forgettable everyday things. He was shorter than I, had a smaller frame – but in my mind I always look upwards at him. My flesh crawls.