My Time With Kurt Cobain

“In early 1992, when I first met Kurt Cobain, he and Courtney Love were living in a little apartment in a two-up-two-down building on an ordinary street in the Fairfax section of Los Angeles. I had flown there from New York to interview him for a Rolling Stone cover story, the one with a famous photograph of him wearing a homemade T-shirt that said “Corporate Magazines Still Suck.” I was nervous. Not much was known about Kurt at that point, other than he was this guy from Seattle who screamed in his songs, smashed his guitars, and might be a heroin addict. He was also the most celebrated rock musician on the planet.

It was dusk when a taxi dropped me off at his place. Courtney greeted me at the door and graciously offered me a plate of grapes. There was a tiny, dimly lit living room with no furniture, LPs and guitars strewn around the floor, and a small Buddhist shrine with burning candles. As “Norwegian Wood” played faintly on a crappy stereo, Courtney led me down a short hallway to the bedroom. I got to the door and opened it to find Kurt lying in a little bed in a little room, his back against the wall, facing the doorway, his shocking blue eyes gazing at me through the subdued lighting. His bare feet stuck out past the bedsheets, and his toenails were painted a rosy hue. The smell of jasmine flowers wafted through the screen of the window above his head. To this day, whenever I smell jasmine I’m transported to that moment.”

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