Something In The Way: The Death and Afterlife of Kurt Cobain

184 – Something In The Way: The Death and Afterlife of Kurt Cobain

February 20th, 2018 would have been Kurt Cobain’s 51st birthday and it’s  hard to believe that he’s been gone for over two decades. Nirvana sold 75 million albums which puts them in the upper echelon of recording artists, but more than that, Kurt Cobain was one of the, if not the, last rock star.

He was aloof and artistic. He hated his fame while being drawn to it. He was the antithesis of the 80s Sunset Strip rocker, eschewing their glammed up hypermasculinity and virtuoso guitarists for dirty sweaters and simple melodies.  He seemed to spite the media, but they worshipped him.

kurt cobain ghost
Live fast. Die young. That’s how a musician becomes an icon.

Long before we watched every move artists made on Twitter and were a party to their private lives on YouTube and reality television, there was a sense of otherness to our celebrities. Kurt Cobain played guitar simply and sang his heart out with a tuning of his own, but he was not just like us. There was a quality to him that matched the era and he inspired an entire generation that was ready for a change. He was the last of the mainstream rock n’ roll heroes, and just like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, he died at twenty-seven years old, apparently of a heroin overdose and suicide by shotgun.

And when he died, it ripped people in my generation apart. We were the ones who listened to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as Freshmen in high school and we made the Alternative Nation the soundtrack of our lives. Kurt Cobain was the John Lennon, he was the epicenter of the movement, and his passing also symbolized a feeling that it was over. The bands that came up in Nirvana’s wake (Bush, Silverchair, etc..) felt like warmed over seconds. The moment had passed. It was the last time that Rock ruled and it was nearly the end of American mainstream culture. By the end of the decade, Hip Hop was the number one genre, MTV only showed videos sometimes, and the alternative movement turned into Nü-Metal. Kurt’s death was the beginning of the end.

Other podcasts and documentary films have covered all the conspiracy theories surrounding his death and those range from his wife Courtney Love hiring a singer to kill her husband (even her wacko father thinks she did it) to the idea that the CIA tried to kill him because he was pro-Clinton (and George H.W. Bush was a former CIA director.)

kurt cobain ghost
Chicks dig that hat, man.

But what interests us the most is that just because Kurt died doesn’t mean that people haven’t still seen him around. He inspired the kind of loyalty and love in his fans that we just don’t see anymore. He wasn’t just a popular musician, he was a rock deity and he entered the pantheon the only way you can… with his untimely death.

Here are just a few of the Kurt Cobain ghost stories out there, it seems like he’s had a very healthy afterlife so far.

kurt cobain ghost
Statue of a crying Kurt Cobain in his hometown of Aberdeen, WA

For this episode, we cover the last song off of Nirvana’s breakthrough album, Nevermind. A dark moody classic, “Something In The Way”.

Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I’ve trapped
Have all become my pets
And I’m living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
But it’s okay to eat fish
‘Cause they don’t have any feelings

Something in the way
Ummmmm
Something in the way, yeah
Ummmmm
Something in the way
Ummmmm
Something in the way, yeah
Ummmmm
Something in the way
Ummmmm
Something in the way, yeah
Ummmmm

Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I’ve trapped
Have all become my pets
And I’m living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
But it’s okay to eat fish
‘Cause they don’t have any feelings

Something in the way
Ummmmm
Something in the way, yeah
Ummmmm
Something in the way
Ummmmm
Something in the way, yeah
Ummmmm
Something in the way
Ummmmm
Something in the way, yeah
Ummmmm
Something in the way
Ummmmm
Something in the way, yeah
Ummmmm

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