Kurt Cobain would have been 47 this Year

nirvanaI should have written this piece a week ago.

Somehow, it escaped my notice over the last 10 days that this April marked the 20-year anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. And that shit was everywhere. Basically starting last fall with the 20-year anniversary of In Utero, through the nomination and induction of the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the performances last week with Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, Joan Jett, and Lorde, and culminating with the onslaught of internet article after internet article regarding Cobain’s legacy, I’m not sure how I missed it all. Evidently, I live in my own little bubble, oblivious to my surroundings and the outside world at large.

It wouldn’t really be a big deal, except that Cobain and Nirvana were such a huge part of my formative years. I was 12 when Nevermind came out, and just barely 15 when he died. For a while, that band was my world. I remember getting home from school, finding my brother in the den watching MTV, a concerned look upon his face. He said he didn’t know what had happened. Something bad maybe. He said that Nirvana videos and performances had been playing nonstop since he made it home a few minutes before I did. And so we watched and we waited, and then Kurt Loder appeared on the screen to inform us that Kurt Cobain was dead. I felt like the floor had been pulled out from underneath me. It was unreal, my first experience with death that made any kind of impact on me, albeit through the demise of a celebrity. It felt like something grand had been taken from me. It made my stomach hurt.

Suicide sucks.

20 years later, I’ve had all too much experience with death (family and friends), but Cobain’s suicide still hovers like a rain cloud. Maybe it has something to do with having an idol torn away from me as a teenager. Maybe it’s a collective cultural feeling, an all around somberness as the result of an artist lost. It’s another musician or band that I’ll never be able to see (along with Lou Reed, The Beastie Boys, Jay Reatard, and on and on and on). I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. At 15 years old, it felt like the end of everything. At 35, it’s just another moment of fleeting time that slowly fades away, my childhood becoming more distant with every passing year.

But there’s no reason to dwell on the past. Mourning periods must all come to an end. Life goes on as they say. But it is good to remember every once in awhile. It’s good to celebrate what was. And with that, let’s all watch Nirvana’s 1992 Reading performance, a time that was arguably the band’s peak within the cultural lexicon. The show is legendary…and it’s pretty damn awesome too.  (Make it a point to purchase the album or the DVD.  It’s worth it.)

Cheers Kurdt!


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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