The Kurt Cobain Tour Through Washington State

The travel section of this past Sunday’s New York Times (March 30, 2014) had a great piece on tracing Kurt Cobain’s footsteps through Washington State.  Author Dave Seminara travels through Seattle, Aberdeen, Hoquiam and all the points in between, looking for past homes, past hangouts and places where Kurt used to retreat to shoot up.  It’s good.

When I read that Cobain’s hometown Aberdeen was planning a day to honor him in February in advance of the 20-year-anniversary of his death on April 5, 1994, and that Nirvana was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, the reality that one of my favorite musicians has now been dead for two decades was unsettling. I had wanted to make a trip to Washington State to see where he came from, and what influenced him.

Because there are no organized Nirvana tours, I created my own, using “Heavier Than Heaven,” Charles Cross’s masterful Cobain biography, to create an itinerary that I hoped would give me a better understanding of Cobain and his music.

I started my Cobain trip at the Marco Polo, a no-frills motel on the gritty periphery of Seattle that Cobain frequented in his final days, when his heroin addiction controlled his life. According to the 2007 BBC documentary “The Last 48 Hours of Kurt Cobain,” Cobain used to duck out of his mansion in the exclusive Denny-Blaine neighborhood to meet one of his preferred heroin dealers along Aurora Avenue. He would then retreat to room 226 of the Marco Polo to shoot up.

Continue on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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