I wish I had something really deep to write, looking back upon seventeen years ago.
But the truth is, I only realized what anniversary it was today. I don’t even have a clever title (nostalgie de la boue? nah, keep it simple, dude).
In fact, I actually have a lot to write on the man, his music, and what it meant to me growing up.
For those many of you on the Planet who are Boomers; children who came of age in the 60s, you may not get it, but I think you can relate. You lost a lot of your own brightest voices. I can only think that this was like our generation’s version of losing John Lennon (though under different circumstances).
This was one of those seminal moments in my life. I lost one of the few “stars” (and I loved that he hated that) I could genuinely relate to personally, and geographically.
On April 5th, 1994, when I was in 8th grade, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana shot himself with a shotgun in his Lake Washington, Seattle home. On April 8th, his body was found. He had joined the 27 Club.
I don’t remember what I was doing in Seattle, if it was a pre-planned family trip to Seattle or my relatives north of there, but on April 10th (Spring Break?) I distinctly remember the hotel room skyscraper we were staying in downtown, and being able to watch MTV while looking out the window to see this happening simultaneously:
I’m going to assume most of you don’t know Washington (the state goddamit!), but even though I lived most my life only 2½ hours away, there’s really no reason to go to the old lumber mill town of Aberdeen, and I hadn’t been until June of 2010 on a trip back to my native state. I figured this would be as fitting a time as any to share just one portion of that trip.
This is a bridge near Felony Flats in Aberdeen over the Wishkah River (from the Chehalis word hwish-kahl, “stinking water”). After school, Kurt and sometimes friends would hang hang out under it. The house where he grew up was a few blocks to the left of the bridge in this photo. I had the good sense of decency not to go looking for it. In any case, it was here that part of his ashes were spread.
It was like a bit of a pilgrimage. I spent a couple minutes in silence under that bridge. It was one of the closest moments I’ve had to something of a spiritual feeling–as silly as I know that sounds. It was like connecting with friend I never got to meet, but I could feel part of him there, someone who reminded me of, well, a bit of me.
There’s a funny story to this plaque. If you notice, a certain word among his quotes appears to be tampered with.
Out of the ground
Into the sky
Out of the sky
Into the dirt
The song “Something in the Way” was a reference to this spot.
(Preview pic courtesy Mïk Watson)