On April 8, 1994 I was sitting behind my desk at WFNX-FM in Boston. Around 11 AM one of the station’s disc jockeys walked into my office and said that something had just come over the newswire about a body being found in one of his Seattle homes. My heart sank and I was overcome with nausea. It would be hours before the official news was released, but I knew in my gut it was Kurt Cobain.
When people find out that I met Cobain a few times they always want to know, what was he like? It’s still a hard question to answer. How can you ever know somebody when you just get one side of them, and for a brief moment in time? The Cobain I had met was sweet, frail, quiet and unassuming, but he was also sharp as a tack, the kind of person who could summarize a book in three words. He could be pissed off and mean, punk rock and anti-establishment. He was a guy who loved macaroni and cheese with hot dogs in it, the Vaselines, Evel Knievel, Bukowski, and the Andy Griffin Show. He was funny, and self-deprecating. He was a troubled artist who wrote some of the best rock songs in the last 40 years.
I interviewed Cobain on a number of occasions, but the more notable happened a little over two years before Cobain’s death. I was asked to interview Nirvana for a promotional CD entitled Nevermind It’s An Interview. The band was sick of doing radio interviews and the idea was to record one definitive session, produce it with then-rare and live tracks, and send it out to radio stations across the world. The idea was that this way, Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl wouldn’t have to answer the same questions posed again and again by disc jockeys who, like many, knew nothing about the band, outside of the fact that they had a mega-hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.