Ever since I first embraced Tom Grant‘s “Kurt Cobain was murdered” rumors years ago, most of my friends have called the view a conspiracy theory. But after spending hours exploring Grant’s website back in the 90s, I was convinced that Kurt didn’t pull the trigger.
A big fan of Nirvana who was lucky enough to see them play live a couple of times (and subsequently deeply saddened by Kurt’s death), I’ve since followed the stories of Kurt’s life and death closely.
At Sundance ’98, I covered Courtney Love‘s attempt to stop Nick Broomfield from showing “Kurt and Courtney” — Sundance pulled the movie after pressure from Courtney’s lawyers but Broomfield showed the film anyway at a secret screening. The movie depicted an array of questionable characters and odd theories, and still Tom Grant’s evidence seemed solid to me.
On the ten-year anniversary of Kurt’s death today, Grant joined the authors of a new book, “Love & Death,” at a press conference in Midtown Manhattan to talk about the latest information that has been uncovered and to call for a re-opening of the case. The authors, investigative reporters Max Wallace and Ian Halperin, were consultants on Broomfield’s doc and now are saying conclusively that they believe Kurt Cobain was murdered.
Among the new evidence offered in the book (which I intend to start reading tonight) are reports that at the time of his death, Kurt Cobain was planning to leave Courtney and had made plans to skip town with a new girlfriend — he had apparently purchased two plane tickets for a getaway. Courtney was obsessed with finding out who this mystery woman was and mentioned many times her fear that Kurt was divorcing her, the writers said. In an audio tape (made by Grant after he was hired by Courtney to try to find Kurt) played during the press conference, she references her financial situation in passing, saying, “money will be a problem if i get a divorce and lose my publishing deal but that won’t be for some time.”
Other new insights, mentioned at the press conference, include a taped interview with Kurt’s grandfather Leland Cobain, who is certain that Kurt was murdered. Also highlighted was a partially-taped conversation with Kurt and Courtney’s attorney at the time, Rosemary Carroll (also their daughter Frances Bean’s godmother), who says that Kurt was murdered and calls his suicide note a forgery. Both tapes were played at the press conference. The authors also charge that Kurt wasn’t actually suicidal, saying that Courtney was the source of that rumor. Other evidence such as the lack of fingerprints on the gun and the fact that Kurt had too much heroin in his system to kill himself are fleshed out, but were part of Grant’s initial web reports back in the 90s.
The timing of Wallace and Halperin’s new book and promotional tour will certainly be seen as suspect by some, they dismissed the charge at the press conference and asked people to judge them by their new book and track record as journalists. (Their prevous book on the subject, “Who Killed Kurt Cobain,” was released on the 4th anniversary of his death). Wallace and Halperin, who were interviewed by Matt Lauer on Friday’s edition of Dateline, ultimately maintain that Cobain was in fact murdered. Grant (who is not benefitting financially from the book), Wallace, and Halperin stop short of accusing Courtney Love in the crime but believe that with her cooperation, the mystery can be resolved. Needless to say she declined to be interviewed for the book.
Nirvana fans looking for a more reverent memorial to mark the decade since Kurt died can find many articles from around the world commemorating his life and music.