A Relic: Kurt Cobain Obituary April 9, 1994

Memory fades.

I can no longer recall if this obituary came from Saturday April 9, 1994 while I was still in the U.S. on a family holiday, or whether it was the following week upon return to the U.K. My memory tries to tell me that my dad somehow got hold of his regular copy of the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph while in Florida and I artlessly preserved then tore out the Kurt Cobain in memoria.

Either way this scrap of paper had accompanied me ever since, sandwiched in a May 1994 edition of Metal Hammer magazine which lost its cover a long while back (good Sonic Youth interview with Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore while Kim Gordon was at home awaiting the birth of Coco Hayley Gordon Moore on July 1.) I should preserve it better, it’s yellowing, faded. But still. It remains one of the few objects I hold genuinely dear.


This is the full text in case you’re interested:




7 thoughts on “A Relic: Kurt Cobain Obituary April 9, 1994”

  1. Im starting reading your stuff, Nirvana is one of my favorite bands, back then i used to listen to music, just listen, because was like ”oh wow this sounds so ”powerful”, ”cool” (i used to listen to metallica) , but somehow i NEVER felt identified whith any of those bands. any of those lyrics
    1 day at my job i was bored, so i started reading the newspaper, something showed up to me ”15 years without Kurt Cobain”(ripped off that part of the newspaper and saved it with me)
    I started reading, feeling identified with the story of this guy, and started listening to them.
    i fell in love with the lyrics and the sound of this band, couldnt be more happy for my discovery.
    if it wasnt for Nirvana i NEVER would have been interested in learning guitar and pushed to start writing years after.
    Something or someone put them in my way for some reason 🙂

    1. That’s cool of you to share Andru – let you in on a theory of mine? I think people are a touch psychic when it comes to emotions, we don’t realise how deeply we can detect emotion via speech, expression, body language. The result is that certain music feels more honest, more expressive, than other music…Nirvana is, I feel, a case in point.

      1. yeah you’re so right
        ”My lyrics are a big pile of contradictions, they’re split down the middle between very sincere opinions and feelings that i have and sarcastic opinions and feelings that i have and sarcastic and hopeful, humorous rebuttles towards cliché, bohemian ideals that have been exhausted for years. i mean i like to be passionate and sincere, but i also like to have fun and act like a dork….Geeks unite” – Kurt

  2. It seems like u have been doing a good research, i mean u know everything about Nirvana xD dunno if u included the journals in ur post, havent reached that point but…
    i wanna ask u something, ur opinion
    what do u think about the journals??
    did you read them?? or would you read them??
    sometimes i want to buy it, and sometimes i feel like it would be disrespectful, because ppl made that public just to leech out more money
    i mean, Kurt felt ‘raped’ all the time, so how would feel if some1 read your private stuff?
    im just curious, and then i start to think that his music and his art is enough for me

    1. Hey ya – a good question for sure. The Journals definitely sit in that territory of “if the person was alive would we be reading this?” and the answer is no.

      On the other hand, he isn’t alive, it’s a historical document of a figure of interest and most historical research does involve penetrating into stuff that people mind rather we didn’t see – that doesn’t invalidate the interest or make it insincere or wrong.

      I think we apply a different value to the work of musicians than we do to many other figures of public interest. My belief would be that it’s because musicians work in quite an odd psychological arena in which they represent and channel (at their best) the identities others wish to possess (involuntarily so, sure, but it’s not like Kurt Cobain chose to be a plumber is it?) So, while the papers and records of other modes of employment of public significance are readily rifled, those of musicians are treated with what I think is an undue emphasis on their right to control the narrative about them and their lives – something we wouldn’t grant other people who gain a strong public following, public influence, right to present their views, cash payments in return.

      So when it comes to the Journals, I just thought “fuck it,” and bought them. Ultimately they’re revealing but more in the sense of showing Cobain being (a) ordinary music buff (b) guy who wanted his music to go somewhere without ever having some ‘star power’ fantasy (c) person who, on paper, had a tendency to get out the things he couldn’t bring himself to say in person (d) having a gross out humour… So basically pretty well the work of any young indie bloke in the world.

      No mysterious depths, no stellar revelations… No, let me rephrase, nothing I noticed. No real narrative progression to steer you through quite a long volume so not necessarily an easy read either – more something to dip into.

      This is one release where it was perfectly legit and perfectly unimportant all at once – still, it does make you realise “not Godhead” if that needed reemphasising. I mean that in the sense of making Cobain a real human rather than some guy to be worshipped – I think maybe he’d be cool with that? I’d rather have more home demos and his solo music efforts polished up a bit beyond what I’ve caught on bootlegs.

  3. Nirvana was a really talented band. When it comes to “grunge” rock, they were the kings. It’s a shame that Kurt had to commit suicide. So many people loved him and his music. (John 5: 25)

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