OK, I was really hoping that the first story printed by Mr. Mahoney, written by me, here in the Herald regarding any suicide/murder of an infamous musician, would be remembering GG Allin, maybe that one will come later on... but for now he has asked what my opinion was of the death of Kurt Cobain and how this personally affected me. This probably due to my age (mid 30’s), which makes sense, but as far as his musical career goes; I never really followed it and never found much interest in the man himself. Aside from a few habits of his I had compassion for, like his addictive need and struggle for self-medication, my musical preferences are inclined to the early 70’s glam rock and old school punk. So nothing anyone like Kurt “dead men don’t pull triggers” Cobain did interested me.
No one could compare to the Stooges, ever. That is how I felt on a musical level. But on a more personal level, I had to empathize with him. At one point or another floating around the music scene here in San Francisco way back when, I believe to had come in contact with Courtney Love herself and had no idea at the time she would rise above the predestined gutters of junkie-dom and make such a profound impact on the music-conspiracy scene, let alone have her own remarkable career. I have really had enough, though, of the injustice of accusations of her having anything to do with her husband’s (and let’s not forget the father of her child) murder theories.
So aside from the Hole Lotta Love mail I’ve read and others, I really wish she would be left alone. I didn’t think much of the suicide the day it was announced on the news and through friends, the only thing that went through my head at the time was, “Finally that poor boy is out of his misery.” I have had too many junkie friends die the slow death and he made his quick and less painful... rather than a typical junkie’s endless, agony-filled demise. I thought, Well he made his choice; he had the courage to make a choice. Most of my junkie friends didn’t make a choice… you don’t when you O.D. But still he was a genius, something the music world was devoid of, say in the 1990’s.
It’s strange though, the only reason I remember his suicide was because I was working in the porn industry at the time and just a few months after Kurt had presumably done himself in, Savannah (the top Porn queen at the time), had done the same. The two stories were inevitably juxtaposed. She was at the height of her career, as was Kurt.
Supposedly she was the “new”, yet irreplaceable, Tracy Lords. It was apparent in her despondent and shaky videos that she was both a heroin and cocaine addict, making it far less sensual than the movie producers had hoped. She couldn’t articulate anymore and was completely catatonic, (like that mattered in porn), but it was obvious the pain she was in and the severity of her addictions. In interviews, she didn’t seem to deny this. Kurt, on the other hand, went back and forth changing his story, especially once in rehab, which is completely understandable… he wanted out!
I remember reading about how Savannah had, soon after making a fairly decent amount of films, shot herself in the head. She had done so many drugs the night of her suicide. She got in a car accident, somehow drove herself home, and upon arriving, cried to the ‘blitzed hair band members’ she was staying with at the time to help her, and how she was ‘scarred for life and her career was over.’ She was no longer marketable. Yet they did nothing to help her. I even heard they laughed at her whining, and told her to drive herself to the E.R. with bloody face and concussion (these may be rumors, though). She was too high to consider going for help and took the only remedy she could think of…suicide; a gun shot to the head.
There was shock and horror in the porn world when news came that she was dead. My lord, these Porn execs must have been terrified that their number one moneymaker was dead. The money! The lost revenue from this commodity! Everyone in the business was hysterical. Not for her really, but for the business. How would they ever find yet another Tracy Lords again? This wasn’t going to be easy. Think of the plastic surgery costs. How would they find another? I think it was the same for poor Kurt. How would they find a new leader with the same disposition, for the X, Y and Z generations growing in record herd numbers? He knew he was becoming what he hated -- a media puppet -- though he put up more of a fight. I wondered was this a trend; were celebrities finally waking up to the reality of their reluctant, deniable stardom? Was every entertainer joining the NRA? What if Kurt and Savannah had hooked up? What would that have been like? She was quoted as saying, “I love sex and I love sex with rockers more than anything else.” It could have happened. Duels at high noon.
Of all the outrageous stories I have heard for reasons to pardon their addiction, never have I heard of someone doing heroin for ‘stomach’ problems. That seemed a ridiculous excuse... yet I understand because technically, it’s harder to get aid with a Federally Controlled Substance than it is street drugs like black tar junk. I can think of all the times in my life I have walked down the streets here growing up in SF, literally having heroin forced upon me, sometimes up to five offers for me to buy on a single block -- and I wasn’t even looking to buy. But if you need pain medication for a simple injury you find yourself sitting for hours, say a good 12 to 14, in an emergency room for a bottle of pain pills that might last for a week, at the longest.
And this is after a nice long grueling interrogation of you, your personal habits and then finally... medical history. The guilt and shame some doctors will place upon a person without knowing the legitimacy of your complaint was unbearable when leaving the E.R. This makes no sense to me, yet does back up the excuse of Kurt’s as to why he started heroin. My heart goes out to him. After hearing about a difficult time in a friend’s life that left them in need of serious medication, with no one to count on for support, sadly these pills that eased their pain became their only friends, the only thing they could truly rely on. I remember hearing Kurt had kept bottles of his pain relievers in a shoebox and talked to them. Said they were his friends. “Welcome home, I missed you, I love you, old friend,” he was reported to say as he kissed the bottles.
At one point, after finding myself in the same situation as my friend, I found myself bonding with the medication too. I was relieved to find I wasn’t alone in that. It was common practice to keep the bottles that accumulated throughout time hidden, in a box as well, afraid of the ‘need’ being discovered. This shame doesn’t belong to you, yet it’s there… society and the government placed the stigma a century ago. So all I can say is, I felt for him, I understood why he did it, if in fact it was suicide. ###