Music History

Venue Owner Recalls Chaos of Days Following the Death of Kurt Cobain

We’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of Kurt’s death.  Cue all the retrospective articles, posts, tributes, books, radio shows and TV specials.  (And yes, I’m not immune; there will be a two-part look back on Kurt and Nirvana coming up on The Secret History of Rock in April.)

This article from The Guardian recalls what it was like for a London venue owner in the days that followed the news.

On 8 April 1994, I woke up with a minor hangover, but nothing too serious. Somewhat groggily I brushed my teeth, put the kettle on, and flicked on the morning news. Bang. There it was: the top story on every channel. “Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, has been found dead at his home of a gunshot wound to the head.
“That didn’t half snap me wide awake. It was only on the drive down to Brixton that the full gravity of the situation hit me. I had already advanced all the box-office money for the upcoming Nirvana shows to put together In Bloom [Parkes was putting on four Nirvana gigs followed by an outdoor festival – In Bloom – headlined by the band].
If we were going to have to refund every Nirvana ticket, it would come to over £250,000. This was the inbuilt danger of my high-risk business model. It had served me extremely well up to now, putting the Academy way ahead of the competition; but it meant that when the shit hit the fan, the walls really got spattered.The question of what actually happened could determine the entire financial future of the Academy.

Keep reading.  Meanwhile, Kurt’s birthday has been given special status in his hometown of Aberdeen, Washington.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38035 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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