Where Were You When You Heard That Kurt Cobain Died?

Christopher R. Weingarten | April 7, 2009 3:30 am

This week marks the 15th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994. You could argue that Cobain’s suicide was a generation of late-twentysomethings and early-thirtysomethings’ version of the JFK assassination… and pretty much remained our defining cultural event until 9/11. So, we’d like to hear your stories. Share where you were, what you were doing and how you felt. Maura and I will start the ball rolling with our own anecdotes, as well as a few we gathered from members of Pelican, Throw Me The Statue, and Oxford Collapse.

Maura Johnston, Idolator: Freshman year of college. I remember we were blaring Q101 throughout the hallways of my dorm’s lower level, where our carrier-current radio station and the dorm’s computer lab (yes, I was online a lot even back then—what do you want, our dorm didn’t have cable) were located. I don’t remember what happened at the exact minute his death was announced, but I do remember sitting in an upstairs lounge after it happened with a friend, kind of bumming out, and the silence was broken by someone whose room was right off the lounge coming out of his room, looking at us, saying “Fuckin’ Cobain, man”—then turning around and going back inside.

Christopher R. Weingarten, Idolator: I remember hearing it on the local radio station on the way home from school in 8th grade. And the DJs kind of goofed on it, like it was some kind of late April Fool’s gag. I had to run some errand with my mom and the wait to get home and turn on MTV and find out the truth was interminable. Once I did, I found the news crawling at the bottom of the screen-creepily juxtaposed against an episode of MTV Grind.

Trevor De Brauw, guitarist, Pelican: I remember I stayed home sick from school that day. After school some “punker-than-thou” friends started calling to tell me that Cobain had killed himself and how it had brought all the jocks at school to tears. Although it rubbed me the wrong way to ridicule Cobain’s suicide, I had to admit that the image of jocks and bullies crying over him was pretty ironic.

Dan Fetherston, drummer, Oxford Collapse: I was home from school. I was in ninth grade. I was in the basement on the phone with a girl. My friend clicked in and said “Cobain blew his brains out.” Then i clicked over again and was like, “Kelly… I gotta go!”

Scott Reitherman, Throw Me The Statue: I don’t remember where i was aside from being at school one day. I would have been in fifth grade, maybe sixth. I remember being very clued in to the gravity of the situation despite being pretty young. I watched tons of MTV and saw all the grieving and the reading of his last letter by Courtney and all that. That’s the strongest lasting memory of the whole thing, the media portrayals really… Now that i live in Seattle and make music here, and have recorded with people who recorded with Nirvana, I just wish i had better stories of my own.