delivery room holding Courtney’s hand.
The Cobains were living in a goldfish bowl. without seeming quite to realise what was going on. It took a Vanity Fair article. which alleged that Courtney too had been smacked-out for much of her pregnancy — she denies this. and claims to have medical records to prove it — to shock them rudely back into reality. The article. and a urine sample from the first three months ofher pregnancy. sparked a bitter and protracted battle between the Cobains and Los Angeles County Department ofChildren’s Services over Frances. Two weeks after she was born. the couple were forced to surrender custody to Courtney‘s sister (for a full month afterwards. they were barred from being alone with their daughter) and Kurt was ordered to take a further 30 days‘ detox — although he was. he strenuously insisted. clean at the time.
Lately. reports had suggested that Kurt’s stomach ailment was being helped by alternative therapies. But something that Kurt had told Nirvana‘s biographer Michael Azerrad kept the heroin rumours well-stoked.
‘I had to keep doing it.’ he said. ‘I didn’t have it out of my system. I knew ifl quit then. I‘d end tip doing it for at least the next couple of years all the time. I figured l‘djust burn myself out of it because I hadn‘t experienced the full junkie feeling yet. I was still healthy.‘
The debate after the Rome incident followed roughly the line that if Kurt hadn‘t bottomed- out - plumbed the depths of the ‘junkie feeling‘ — before his detox. then the hard drugs experience was always going to be unresolved. always an option. And this despite his claims that he's happier with his life than he has been
i for years — and that LA Children‘s Services would happily snatch Frances back if either of
her parents so much as looked at certain substances again.
A statement issued by Geffen Records the next day revealed that Kurt was no longer comatose. was responding to his name. opening his eyes and moving his hands. The Cobains. it transpired. had been in Italy while Kurt
; recuperated from ‘severe influenza and fatigue'
and the overdose was an inadvertent result of mixing prescription drugs — presumably the barbiturates — and alcohol. complications
; arising from his weakened state. By Monday morning. he was said to be sitting up in bed. but
no one would commit themselves to saying whether or not the European tour would
' l SHOULDN‘T really have given a toss about
Kurt Cobain‘s personal habits. except that I'd been fiddling around with some screed loosely
based around the theme Why l 'm Nor Ashamed
To Like Nirvana (hardly a controversial move since even the master of the withering put-down Steve Albini has admitted a grudging respect for them after producing — sorry. ‘recording‘ — In Utero) when the news came through that Kurt was fighting for his life. and all of a sudden it took on the urgency of watching a drunk unicycling along the ledge of a skyscraper.
I can imagine one of the Baby Boomer Broadcasting Mafia taking centre stage with the theory that what this generation of slackers needs is to have one of its idols snuff it in a stupid. crass and wholly unavoidable manner. Like. to have the real, complete Youth Culture Experience. we have to have Jimi. Janis, Jim Morrison. Brian Jones . . . even the punks had
their Sid Vicious. This is the kind of argument W
‘tt’s heartening to ﬁnd that there can be sea-changes in rock where marketing campaigns become irrelevant and the only strategy left is the old- fashioned one of pressing up as many copies as possible and shipping them out to the stores.’
Above: Nirvana in 1989 - Chad Charming, drummer number four in a set of six, puts on a brave face as he receives his marching orders. Below: Made in the shade - the unhon trlnlty oi Chils Novosellc, Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl in 1993.
The List 11—24 March 1994"