Who Killed Kurt Cobain?
by Tim Kenneally & Steve Bloom
(original transcripts from the article published in a High Times special issue, April 1996, beginning on page 12).
[picture: Tom Grant, the private investigator Courtney hired to find Kurt]PRIVATE EYE OF THE STORM
Beverly Hills, CA private investigator Tom Grant, a 49-year-old grandfather of seven and seven year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, hardly falls into the demographic of the average Nirvana fan. So it's not surprising that when, on Easter Sunday, April 3,1994, Courtney Love hired him to track down her husband Kurt Cobain's missing credit card, he initially thought little of the assignment. "I knew vaguely who Nirvana was." says the PI.
Grant was about to embark on a road of deception, intrigue and cover-ups that would lead him, nine months later, to a stunning conclusion regarding the death of Kurt Cobain, who was found dead in Seattle on April 8, 1994.
Grant's first clues that all was not right came during his meeting with Love later that
day at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills where she was staying. "She told me on the phone that someone was using her husband's credit card and she wanted to find out who it was," recounts Grant. "Then, when I met her at the hotel, she changed that immediately to, "It's not someone else using his card, it's him, and I'm trying to locate him." It just kind of spread from there.
Cobain, at the time, was AWOL from the Exodus Recovery Center, a drug-rehab clinic in nearby Marina del Rey. Working on Love's suggestion that Kurt "may have gone to Seattle." Grant subcontracted local investigators to do surveillance on Cobain's known haunts in Seattle. What Love neglected to tell Grant was that Michael "Cali" DeWitt, the couple's nanny, had seen Cobain at their house on Lake Washington Boulevard on April 2, the day before she hired the PI. Given Grant's assertion that Cobain died "late Sunday morning [April 3] or early Monday morning [April 4]." This omission may have caused a fatal "and possibly deliberate delay in his investigation.
Grant arrived in Seattle at 11:30 PM on Wednesday, April 6. Dylan Carlson, a close friend of Cobain's who from all reports was the singer's drug buddy, took him to the house. It was raining as they searched the house at 2:15 AM on April 7. But the garage/greenhouse a stone's throw away from the main house remained unexplored; Carlson failed to direct him to the greenhouse, later telling Grant that "it's just a dirty little room."
The greenhouse was a l9-foot by 23-foot room above the garage. The scene that unfolded there on the morning of April 8, when an electrician noticed a body lying on the floor at 8:30 AM, could hardly be viewed as arbitrary to the outside world. Cobain, who had a predisposition toward suicide (with pemaps one attempt already under his belt"the overdose on Rohypnol in Rome on March 4. 1994 ). was discovered with a Remington M-11 20-gauge shotgun resting on his chest and blood exuding from his ear. A single charge had entered through the roof of his mouth and lodged in his head. A kiss-off note lay nearby. A neater example of suicide would be hard to find. It appeared that Kurt Cobain had finally put an end to his miserable, drug-plagued, multiplatinum life.
Exactly a month later, on May 8, Grant wrote a letter to Love, who he was still working for, expressing his doubts about the generally accepted suicide theory. "I'm sure you know by now that my investigation has been somewhat more active than you might have been aware of. I consider the circumstances surrounding your husband's death to be highly suspicious I've decided to continue working on this case until I see its conclusion. without additional charges.
Amazingly, Love continued to employ Grant for the next seven months during which time he was given unrelated and largely insubstantial matters to look after. Grant believes she kept him on the payroll so she could keep tabs on him and periodically "pick his brain" for what he knew and didn't know about the Kurt case.
Disregarding the Seattle police department's report in the Seattle Times on May 11 that stated "there's been no foul play--just an early death that no one could explain." Grant reached his own dramatic conclusion eight months later. "A conspiracy resulted in the murder of Kurt Cobain."
The scenario, according to Grant, goes like this Kurt was planning to divorce Courtney and simultaneously leave the music business. He had spoken to Rosemary Carroll, one of the couple's attorneys about having Courtney taken out of his will. The note found with Cobain's body, Grant asserts, was a farewell to his fans not a suicide note. "It was not addressed to Frances [his daughter] and Courtney, as the police report claims and it doesn't say anything in there about suicide." says Grant.
Of course, Cobain's retirement would have resulted in untold future revenue losses. His decision not to headline the Lollapalooza '94 tour had already cost somewhere in the vicinity of $9.5 million. And, no matter how generous the settlement, a divorce would have led to a further depletion of Courtney's coffers, certainly amounting to less than what she stood to gain from inheriting the Cobain fortune. With that kind of money at stake, Grant contends, the situation was ripe for murder.
There's no doubt in my mind that Kurt was hanging out up there in the greenhouse with a shotgun," explains Grant. "That was like a little lookout tower for him over his whole property, and I do firmly believe that he was in fear of his life. He was going to be flying out of Seattle, probably within hours, certainly within the next day or two.
"So he was up there, and whoever came in there with him was probably doing drugs with him until they got him loaded. He had three times the lethal dose of heroin in his system [at the time of his death]. Now that doesn't necessarily mean he would have died from that dose, but it certainly would've put him out. It's highly unlikely that he would shoot himself up in both arms, put the needle away in his little kit and then have the mental capacity to sit there and manipulate this shotgun and shoot himself. If he wasn't unconscious he was at least to the point where he wasn't aware of what was going on. Anybody could have done anything with him."
Grant says he contacted the Seattle police immediately after the body's discovery; not surprisingly, he was received coolly. "There's a body there and a shotgun and what they think is a suicide note, so it's real easy to jump to that conclusion," he says. "It also makes their job a lot easier. In fact. they were upset that the homicide units even had to go out there. The homicide guys told me, 'You know, we wouldn't even be on this thing if it wasn't Kurt Cobain.' The stuff they fed the press about how they investigated it as a possible homicide is total bullshit. This was never looked at as a possible homicide."
He attributes their reluctance to investigate further to both human nature and manipulation on Love's part. The missing persons report phoned in by Love (for which she claimed to be Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor) was ambiguously worded to suggest that Cobain had purchased the shotgun after he fled the rehab center (although a receipt found at the scene confirms that he bought the shotgun before he left Seattle for Marina del Ray). And she continually stressed to the police, the public and anyone else who would listen that her husband was suicidal.
Grant's concern about the "copycat" suicides committed by misinformed Nirvana fans spurred him to go public with his claims on December 1, 1994, in an interview on the "The Gil Gross Show," which is syndicated to 175 stations by CBS Radio. Love's lawyers learned of Grant's scheduled appearance when Gross promoted the interview on the show a few days before it took place. "They called and warned us that we better not do it," says the show's producer, Greg Cockrell. "They made clear there would be legal action. Gil said, 'Go ahead, we're doing it anyway."
Except for requesting a tape of the show, Gross never heard back from Camp Courtney. Her lawyers, however, did succeed in gaining a public apology from "The Tom Leykis Show. a radio program syndicated by Westwood One...[picture: Kurt and Courtney at the 1993 MTV Awards]
...Entertainment to 116 stations, after they ran an interview with Grant on January 5, 1995.
Love's attorneys also filed a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs in an attempt to revoke Grant's investigator's license. Grant recently applied for and received a renewal of it.
"They are making an all-out effort to scare everybody away." says Grant. "Of course, they're blowing smoke. Anything they would do would just bring more attention to the case, and that's exactly what they want to avoid."
Conversely, that's exactly what Grant is trying to encourage. Though he's been accused of being a profit-motivated publicity-monger, Grant says his aim is true. He continues to compile information. hoping to build a strong enough argument to compel the Seattle police to reopen the case. "They need to answer a lot of questions," he challenges. "But they won't unless they're under enough pressure. Until we get some acknowledgment of the facts and the details in the press--the inconsistencies, the misinformation--there's nothing that can be done. We can't get past first base."
When that happens, "Additional information will be revealed that will lead the investigators down a path of discovery," promises the PI, "and this house of cards will fall."EL DUCE
Watching El Duce perform with his band, the Mentors, Hollywood's kings of porn-metal, certain images come immediately to mind. As the stocky lead singer growls his way through salty tales of rape, revenge and general debauchery, shirtless and wearing his trademark black hood, he resembles a medieval executioner. To make the picture complete, all he needs is a headman's ax.
The resemblance apparently did not go unnoticed by Courtney Love, who met El Duce in the late '80s through Hole's original drummer, Carolyn Rue ( who was going out with the Mentors' guitarist, Sickie Wifebeater). According to El Duce, Love showed up at the Rock Shop, a Hollywood record store at 1644 Wilcox Ave., a few days before New Years Eve in 1993 at approximately 8:30 PM. As El Duce waited outside for a friend, a limousine transporting Love pulled up in front of the store. Love then allegedly made El Duce an offer he couldn't refuse.
"El, I really need a big favor of you." she said. "My old man's been a real asshole lately. I need you to blow his fucking head off."
"Are you serious?" El Duce asked.
"Yeah. I'll give you fifty thousand dollars to blow his fucking head off," Love confirmed.
"I'm serious if you are," El Duce said. "I wasn't really sure she was serious. And then she said, 'Where can I reach you?' At the time, I didn't have a phone, but I got my messages at the Rock Shop, so I said, 'You can reach me here.' They went into the store and he handed her a business card.
Karush Sepedjian, who manages the Rock Shop, recalls Love's visit this way: "El was kick-...[picture: El Duce, leader of the mentors]
...ing it out on the bench in front of the store and she came up. I overheard a little bit of it. I heard her saying, 'Look, can you handle doing this, can you get this done? What do you want for it?' They were talking about knocking off Kurt Cobain. Then El brought her inside and said to me, quietly, 'She offered me fifty grand.' She took the card and told me she would be calling me, looking for El a few months down the line.
In March, Love called the Rock Shop looking for El Duce. Sepedjian took the call. "I said. 'He's not around, he's on tour.' She was like, 'What?!!?' She was screaming, 'That son of a bitch, we made an agreement!' She was cursing, saying "What am I gonna do?' I said 'I don't know, I've got a business to run, you know? Good-bye."
Ten days later. Cobain's body was found. "I was like, 'Whoa. I wonder if she actually did pay some sucker to blow his head off" the gravel-voiced El Duce says. Sepedjian agrees "Maybe she got somebody else."
"I think Kurt was getting ready to divorce her for adultery charges," El Duce theorizes. "She had to have him whacked right away so she could get the money."
Often--and understandably--accused of misogyny, the unabashedly puerile Mentors--vocalist El Duce, bassist Dr. Heathen Scum, guitarist Sickie Wifebeater and drummer Moosedick--have been delighting their cultish cadre of followers and offending everyone else since 1977. Authors of such controversial songs as "On the Rag," "Clap Trap" and "Heterosexuals Have the Right to Rock," the band has attained notoriety in underground music circles for its bizarre live shows. which include go-go dancers and various sex toys.
Perhaps the Mentors' greatest claim to fame occurred in 1985, when Tipper Gore quoted their song "Golden Showers" at a Congressional hearing during the Parents Music Resource Center campaign against obscene lyrics. "Bend up and smell my anal vapors," Tipper quoted El Duce, "Your face will be my toilet paper."
El Duce may just be trying to cash in on the Cobain death controversy. His side-project band is suitably named Courtney Killed Kurt.HANK HARRISON
Hank Harrison, Courtney Love's father. doesn't get much respect. Generally portrayed by the media as Love's deadbeat dad, Harrison wants to set the record straight about his life with Courtney.
While most accounts contend Harrison has had little contact with Courtney after his marriage to her mother, Linda Carroll, broke up when she was five years old, he tells a different story. "I was with her from the day she was born until the time she was six either every weekend or every day," he explains from somewhere in Northern California. "Then they went to Oregon and she was adopted out from under me. I didn't have any contact with her until she was fifteen, when I got her out of juvenile hall and she came to live with me. I had complete custody of her until she was eighteen."
Courtney had been sent to live in juvenile hall (reform school) for shoplifting. Harrison believes that's where she picked up a particularly bad habit. "Juvenile hall taught her how to snitch," he says "It took me a long time to figure out where she learned to snitch. She got extra favors in juvie by turning people in. She snitched me off a couple of times to the cops for having grass in the house."
Love's words about her father are equally unkind. She claims that she was conceived on a date rape, and was given LSD and beaten by her father. "I don't want this man near me ever," she told the San Francisco Chronicle last May. Harrison--who went to the College of San Mateo with Phil Lesh before Lesh cofounded the Grateful Dead, managed the group when they were known as the Warlocks and has written two books about his experiences with the band (The Dead Book and The Dead)--is constantly characterized by Love as someone who has forever milked his Grateful Dead affiliation. "He makes his living as a parasite off the Grateful Dead," she said in the February issue of Playboy. "He scams all the Deadheads who worship him because they think he is close to the Dead."
"Phil changed her diapers!" Harrison responds, incredulous to Courtney's barbs. "Jerry's first baby, Heather, and Courtney used to play together. It hurts me so much that she doesn't realize how lucky she was to be one of the chosen children of that scene. Sure, I make a living off the Dead. There's a demand for the books. What does she want me to do, let my books go out of print?"
Despite the jabs at her dad, Courtney has been known to flaunt her Grateful Dead credentials The Playboy article reported that Lesh is her godfather (true), and she has often stated that she is pictured on the back of the Dead's Aoxomoxoa album (false) and...[picture: Hank Harrison and Courtney in November, 1979. She was 15 years olds.]
...attended Woodstock when she was five (also false).
Harrison's next book, "Beyond Nirvana: The Legacy of Kurt Cobain" won't do much to patch up the feud between father and daughter. In it he charges her with complicity in the death of her husband. "She profited from his death in a considerable way," he says "I know for a fact that he was trying to divorce her and she didn't want the divorce, so she had him killed or knew it was going to happen. The timing was of the essence. There is no doubt in my mind that Kurt Cobain was murdered."
Harrison, who never met his rock-star son-in-law and has yet to meet his granddaughter, Frances Bean, knew something was wrong the minute he heard Cobain was dead. "I suspected some foul play, "he says.
Richard Lee, who hosts a public-access T\/ show in Seattle called "Kurt Cobain Was Murdered" was the first to publicly reach the same conclusion--that Cobain did not commit suicide. Harrison read Lee's postings on the Internet and called him up. Lee "didn't have anything substantial," Harrison says "but when I got a hold of [private investigator] Tom Grant. I started thinking. 'Oh. man. do I feel good.' Now I know that sounds weird. but I felt good for myself, because I wasn't psychotic anymore. I wasn't imagining things I wasn't alone. I wasn't the only guy in the world that thought that some foul play was going on."
Regardless of the bad blood between Harrison and Love, he says "It was horribly disappointing to find out that Grant thought my own daughter did it. It took me about six months of phone calls and talks and letters to Grant, and complete openness to Grant, before he'd even trust me sufficiently to talk to me, because when he found out who I was he figured I was pulling some kind of scam. He said, 'I know a lot about you. Hank.' He let it be known that he had been checking me out. He couldn't believe Courtney's own father would be on his side. (Harrison contends. "I never hit Courtney or beat her or abused her or denied her anything. At no time was Courtney ever given acid or anything like that." )
What evidence does Harrison have that Love was involved in Cobain's death? First and foremost he says. "Courtney has a dark side, a suppressed and repressed dark side to her personality that is extraordinarily violent. She tride to kill me twice. She's been extraordinarily violent with her friends, and was kicked out of every band she's been in for violent outbursts. It's almost like she has multiple personalities. And one of those personalitiesis really evil--really, really dark and sinister--more so than you can imagine. I mean real sick. And I didn't make her that way. I've had to deal with this most of my adult life, after I lost her, and then when I got her back and found out how screwed up she was."
Love. who was born on July 9. 1964 in San Francisco. reunited with her father in 1979 when he gained custody of her. Harrison had become a technical writer at Lockheed and founded his own publishing imprint, The Archives Press He was living on a houseboat in Sausalito. CA "She was really impressed by the Bohemian lifestyle," he recalls. "A lot of art, a lot of books. She was cool. but she was only fifteen. As she got more and more emancipated, she started to see me as not such a successful character. She wanted to have a bigger father who could do her some goods in terms of her showbiz fantasy.
"When she was little--real, real little--she really wanted to be a big star. I know a lot of girls say they want to be a movie star, but she meant it. She'd just do a little dance for the party. Anybody who was in the house, she'd do a dance for them. She'd always find some way to draw attention to herself."
In 1980, Courtney moved to Ireland with her father, who took a two-year sabbatical there. "She lived with me for five months until the winter snows melted. As soon as spring came along, she went to Liverpool. She was boy-crazy. She was ballin' cats, turnin' tricks. She would dance and get money that way too. Every time I saw her, she had big bucks. She would always
have money and clothes. This was Love's new-wave period, when she groupied around England with the likes of Julian Cope and Echo and the Bunnymen.
Harrison returned to the Bay Area in 1982, followed shortly by Courtney. He and his business associate Triona Watson bought a Victorian house in Menlo Park, south of the city, where Courtney would frequently visit. "We were her only stable. local Bay Area address," he says "She was itinerant, going from crash pad to crash pad, punk scene to punk scene, junkie pad to junkie pad. She was living in 'the Vats'--the abandoned Hamm's brewery. People used to go down inside the vats and get drunk on the fumes. She was a 'vat rat' for a while."
A cyberpioneer at the dawn of the Silicon Valley microcomputer revolution, Harrison took the job as editor of Doctor Dobb's Journal and would go on to hold positions at InfoWorld and A Plus magazines These accomplishments did not impress Courtney. She decorated her room in the 1870 Victorian with dozens of lit candle,. lace and baby dolls and replayed movies like Frances Birdy and Pretty in Pink "She watched the Frances Farmer story thirty-two times" Harrison says "It worried me. I realized at that point that Courtney was deeply troubled."
Courtney would spend the weekends in San Francisco. One time she came back "so spaced out that we had to sit on her and give her Valium." says her father, who was a veteran of bringing people down from bad acid trips. His diagnosis was that Courtney was on a highly dangerous mixture of bathtub fentanyl. "This was really severe. She was screaming at me and really freaking out. She was psycho."
By the time Courtney turned 20 in 1984. she had developed friendships with Portland, OR musicians Jennifer Finch ( L7 ) and Kat Bjelland (Babes In Toyland ) . Together they formed Sugar Baby Doll before later splintering into three different groups. She toured around the country, from Portland to Minneapolis to Los Angeles to San Francisco. In LA, Courtney infiltrated the punk-rock scene: She was cast in two Alex Cox films, Sid and Nancy and Straight to Hell, and married Leaving Trains' frontman Falling James Morland. They lived together for eight months, then split up the day after their wedding in 1989.
"I think the main problem was that I was on SST Records," Morland told Nerve magazine in 1993. "She thought that was too small of a label for her husband to be on. That wasn't very punk-rock of her, was it?" He said they did not maintain a "cordial or friendly relationship."
Harrison had lost contact with his own daughter in 1987. The falling out...(continued on page 42)
...he believes. was over heroin. "She called me on her birthday and wanted money. he says. "I said, Why don't you fly up here? I'll get you a ticket. we'll sit down and have a chat, or I'll fly down there and bring you some money. She said she needed the money wired to her right away. She was strung out. I told her that heroin is not my thing and I don't want to support her doing heroin. She promised that she would never talk to me again and she would have me killed."
During the next six years--a period that saw Courtney start her own band, Hole. meet Kurt Cobain, the meteoric rise of his band Nirvana, the marriage of Kurt and Courtney and the birth of their daughter--Harrison was out of the picture. All he knew was what he read in magazines. Finally he saw Courtney again at a show featuring the Lemonheads, Fugazi and Hole in San Francisco in the fall of 1993.
Harrison recalls: "I called first to make sure it was OK She was happy to see me, gave me big hugs. She said she didn't want me to talk to anybody, she just wanted me to sit there, shut up and listen to the show. I had a vodka and saw the show. I was impressed with the band. I was just blown away. really.
"The next day I met her at the hotel. Courtney was--and this I'm absolutely sure of because I saw it with my own eyes--having an affair with Evan Dando. He and Courtney were sleeping together in the same bed. I figured Kurt must be pretty liberal, because she's on the road with Evan Dando, and she's constantly smooching all over him. They were very, very chummy. He came up to me and shook my hand. He had read one of my Dead books! He said. 'Let's go to dinner.' But Courtney yelled, 'No! Get out of here!' She told him to go away.
"And then while we were in the room she called Kurt. She asked to speak to Mr. Poupon. That's how I found out what his secret name was. I never met him, but I was in the room when she talked to him on the other end of the line. That was the closest I ever got to Kurt."
Harrison ended this visit by asking Courtney if he could "come up [to Seattle] and see the baby over Chnstmas." She wrote down two addresses and phone numbers that turned out to be bogus. Harrison now believes the one reason Love "trotted me around" was because she wanted her bodyguards to "see who I was, so that I could be taken care of at some future date. That's where she's at. She's way smarter than me. I've only got about a 130 IQ and a photographic memory, but I'm like a burned-out hippie kind of guy. I don't have any real guile or bad karma. She's totally fucking intelligent. Like a surgeon or something. She thinks six or seven levels at once, like her mother."
Harrison has not had any contact with his now-infamous daughter since then. But he's convinced she has been harassing him with "threats of violence--hang-up calls and odd silences--on the phone. Last October, two men tried to rough him up. "One guy started laying hands on me.,pushing me around." he says "I let the dogs out of the car and the dogs chased them and they ran off. I don't know if that had anything to do with Courtney or not, but I've been told that Courtney has a contract on me.
Are these the deranged ramblings of a paranoid or the dead-on perceptions of a truth-seeker?
"I am not trying to put my daughter in jail," Harrison explains. "It's just that I found myself caught up in a web of bizarre events that affects my life. It would be very much like your child came home with plans for an atom bomb in his briefcase and you wanted to know where the fuck he got them. My daughter came home with a dead husband and I want to know what the fuck happened!"
Did Courtney Love conspire to kill Kurt Cobain?
"Absolutely." contends her 55-year-old father. "I think he was drugged and killed by people that Courtney had no control over. They might have said. 'Look. we're going to kill the guy--you have to go along with it.' Either they told Courtney about it, or Courtney knew about it and was in on it in some way. and kept her mouth shut.
"She tore Kurt apart. Even though he was a big rock star, he couldn't make his old lady happy. Nothing Kurt Cobain could do could make Courtney Love happy. And so the guy got more and more and more depressed. If he did kill himself, I know why!"DAVID WOODARD
No living Amencan writer has influenced rock'n'roll songwriters more than William Burroughs. Of the stars who have paid homage to Burroughs, none made as strong an impression on him as Kurt Cobain. It therefore came as a surprise to the editors of HIGH TIMES when on December 17, 1994. the magazine received a fax from a Seattle-based group, "Friends Understanding Kurt," laying partial blame for Cobain's death on the Master himself.
The gist of the charge was that in the last months of his life, Cobain acquired a device called the Dream Machine, which had been created by Burroughs' fnend and collaborator Brion Gysin and popularized by Burroughs. The Dream Machine, the group wrote. is "a dangerous trance-inducing contraption," and there has been a "string of suicides associated with the machine since the '60s." Furthermore. they claimed, it was "in fact, the catalyst in Kurt's unbelievably tragic, untimely death." To this day Courtney ponders whether...[continued on page 84]
...the Dream Machine is really responsible for Kurt's death...If Kurt had not come into contact with its manufacturer, he would be with us today."
The Dream Machine consists of a cardboard cylinder with holes in it attached to a recordplayer turntable, in the middle of which sits a 100-watt light bulb. When the machine is turned on, the cylinder spins at 78 rpm. Subjects sit in front of the cylinder and close their eyes, and the light reflects through the holes in the spinning cylinder onto the eyelids. The resulting flashes of light may, if the subjects are susceptible, create a mild sensation akin to the effect of the simplest light show. Aided by the inhalation of good pot the device might create at best a mild dreamlike sensation, or at worst (unless you're prone to epileptic seizures) an even milder headache. It's an adaptation of flicker technology, first seen with strobe lights and now packaged as brain machines.
Burroughs once said about the Dream Machine. "Subjects report dazzling lights and unearthly brilliance and color...Elaborate geometric constructions of incredible intricacy build up from a multidimensional mosaic into living fireballs like the mandalas of Eastern Mysticism or resolve momentarily into apparently individual images and powerfully dramatic scenes like brightly colored dreams."
Following up the same fax. SOMA, the San Francisco "journal of Left Coast culture." found Steve Newman, a representative of Friends Understanding Kurt, who claimed Cobain had used the Dream Machine for "up to 72 hours at a time." Newman said the core of FUK was himself, Love, Love's attorney Celeste Mitchell and other friends of Cobain's, as well as various peripheral members. Love, he explained, played more of a "low-key role." HIGH TIMES' efforts to contact FUK were unsuccessful. Interview requests made through Love's record company, Geffen, and publicity agency, PMK, about this subject were not answered. An attempt to acquire photos taken during Cobain's visit to Burroughs' home in Lawrence, KS in 1993--that had been given to Rosemary Carroll, Love's principal attomey--also didn't ment a return call.
However. we did locate David Woodard. the San Francisco businessman who manufactures and sells replicas of Gysin and Burroughs' Dream Machine for $145. In an interview conducted by Victor Bockns for HIGH TIMES, Woodard contended that Cobain called him as many as 20 times over a penod of six months during 1993 and 1994 to talk about his life and the Dream Machine. "I got the sense that he was using it for long periods. but 72 hours? That's ludicrous."
Woodard met Cobain at a party in Seattle in the summer of 1993. He prefers not to...[picture: Dream Machine Maker - David Woodard in San Francisco]
...detail the specifics of how and when Kurt bought the machine. According to the FUK fax, "Woodard honorably complied with Kurt's very sincere wish, promptly and professionally shipping a freshly minted machine to Madrone [Seattle]: The state of California does not prohibit the sale of this fancy death machine to desperate young millionaires.
Surprisingly, Woodard admits that the Dream Machine may have compounded Cobain's problems. "If anything," he says. "the Dream Machine helped him to see that he was beginning to fall apart as a cultural figure. He felt like Andy Warhol, Wagner and Satan rolled up into one. He was in a very special place which invited timely suicide. It seemed like it was the perfect decision."
Does Woodard concede that the device he sold Cobain contributed to his death? "I pictured the suicide as being informed by an inner voice which was made audible through his experiences with the Dream Machine," he explains. "Yes, the Dream Machine played a part."
The controversy over what effect a psychedelic light machine had on Kurt Cobain dunng the last days of his life may be a smokescreen that plays into the hands of those who would have us believe he took his life two years ago. Tom Grant calls the FUK fax a "confusion tactic" and "a futile effort to throw a blanket of deception over the truth." He clearly believes Friends Understanding Kurt is Courtney Love.
Hopefully. this article will stimulate discussion and lead to more revelations from those who really know what happened to Kurt Cobain and why he is no longer with us.