Exactly 20 years ago today — on April 8, 1994 — Kurt Cobain’s body was found in his Seattle home by an electrician who had come to install a home security system for the famous rocker and Nirvana frontman.
Cobain had taken his own life about three days prior by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun after taking a massive dose of heroin.
Or so the story goes.
But discrepancies in the investigation of his death and suspicious circumstances surrounding Kurt’s final days led many of his fans to believe that Kurt had been killed and the crime scene had been staged. Or later, that Kurt Cobain had pulled an “Andy Kaufman” and faked his own death to start a new.
Here are the top 5 conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain that still persist to this very day.
1. Kurt Cobain Is Still Alive & Is Rivers Cuomo, Leader Vocalist of Weezer
A recent discussion on Reddit brought to light the uncanny resemblance of Cobain to lead Weezer vocalist Rivers Cuomo.
But beyond their shared physical features, there are also some linear peculiarities in the lives of the two men.
Weezer formed in 1992 when Nirvana was falling apart. As a Reddit conspiracy poster points out:
Weezer tour dates and studio sessions [did] not conflict with any Nirvana tour dates
Weezer’s debut album was also produced by music mogul Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars. Having someone like Ocasek finance an obscure garage band like Weezer’s debut album was very strange for the time. Even stranger, Cobain was known friends with Ocasek, and Nirvana performed a cover of The Car’s song My Best Friend’s Girl at their final concert in Munich on March 1, 1994.
But while Cobain and Cuomo never being in the same place at the same time and their connection to Ocasek may just be circumstantial, the plot does thicken.
Cuomo keeps a formula book of all of Cobain’s songs, deconstructs them, and has a documented obsession with them. In fact, Weezer plays entire gigs of more obscure Nirvana covers under the name “Goat Punishment.”
According to Weezerpedia, Goat Punishment is:
a pseudonym that has been employed by Weezer in the past, when the band played small, semi-secret club dates in the Los Angeles area..which consisted solely of Nirvana…covers.
Cuomo is a born-again Christian. Cobain expressed multiple times a desire to get out of the scene.
Could Cuomo be the “born-again” Cobain? It may seem like a stretch. Most detractors like to point out that Cobain played guitar left-handed while Cuomo plays right. But Cobain was notably an ambidextrous guitar player and that’s an easy fix. Cobain’s iconic voice is also up for debate, but timbre and tone are easily modified even amongst the most inexperienced singers.
Like Elvis before him, the grunge rocker may still walk among us. And much happier.
2. Kurt’s Left-Handed Guitar Playing Killed Him
As many Nirvana fans know, Cobain blamed his heroin addiction on the fact that he suffered from a chronically upset stomach. He’s quoted in Barney Hoskyns’s Sounds Dirty: The Truth About Nirvana as saying:
My stomach was so bad that there were times on our last tour where I just felt like a drug addict because I was starving. I went to all these different doctors but they couldn’t find out what was wrong with me… That’s not the main reason I took heroin, but it has more to do with it than most people think.
Eventually he was diagnosed with a pinched nerve, due to undiagnosed scoliosis, that was causing his stomach pains. And while Kurt was notably ambidextrous, he chose to play guitar left-handed—which was the worst thing he could do for his scoliosis. As quoted in Kyle Anderson’s Accidental Revolution: The Story of Grunge:
Kurt’s spine curved out a bit on his right side, but it was made worse by the fact that he played guitar left-handed (and thus held his guitar with his right shoulder). Ironically, Cobain was naturally right-handed, and it’s been theorized that had he played guitar that way, the spinal curvature may have corrected itself over time.
So it’s theorized that because Cobain chose to play the guitar left-handed, he aggravated his back and thus ended up a heroin addict. Seems the most sensible painkiller choice for a stomach ache, right?
3. Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Letter Was Originally an ‘I’m Leaving You’ Letter to Courtney Love — So She Killed Him
When it was reported that Cobain had killed himself, theories raged about Courtney Love’s involvement. Those are often the most reported conspiracy theories surrounding Cobain’s death: how his wife, Courtney Love, was somehow involved.
One of the fewer reported peculiarities was Cobain’s suicide note. Once it was leaked, some people noticed that the last few lines of the note did not match Cobain’s handwriting.
The last few lines of questionable origin read:
Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your alter.
Please keep going Courtney, for Frances.
For her life, which will be so much happier without me.
Cobain and Love’s relationship was notoriously tumultuous, and at the time of his death there were talks of a divorce—which would give nothing to Love, who continues to have a long history of financial woes.
Without the last few lines, the entire note could be interpreted as a “I’m leaving you” letter. You can read the full text of the “suicide note” here.
4. 20 Years Later, Still No Conclusive Crime Scene Photos
This past year, Seattle PD gave Cobain’s suicide case another look and released new photos of the crime scene from newly discovered film.
Unfortunately, the photos were nothing profound or concrete and the entire case still lacks photographic evidence that Cobain had even sustained a gunshot wound.
characteristically uncooperative, dilatory, and non-compliant with his requests for records and information
And while Lee may seem like a crackpot in the way he handles his matters, it still remains true: there is no photographic evidence confirming that Cobain is dead or, more importantly, died the way police reports claim.
Unfortunately for the Cobain case, we may never know.
Courtney Love tried to get everyone involved in the investigation of his death to sign a confidentiality agreement. And while nobody signed it, the speculation surrounding the circumstances of Cobain’s death created enough subterfuge to effectively muzzle and truth from coming out. But who knows, the man who changed rock could still be very much alive.