SEATTLE, WA—Former Nirvana guitarist and singer Kurt Cobain is preparing to celebrate nearly two decades of sobriety, a remarkable achievement for the legendary musician after a crippling heroin addiction tore apart his band and his marriage. Cobain, who left Nirvana suddenly in 1994 to address his addiction, has remained out of the public eye since the band’s split.
“I haven’t seen him once,” says former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, “Which, I guess if you know the story, shouldn’t come as a surprise.”
While Grohl hints that he still harbors resentment toward Cobain leaving the band, he also says he is happy his former friend and bandleader has been able to resist falling back into his old addiction.
“It’s something to celebrate, although I’m not sure what you get someone on their 19th anniversary,” says Grohl, “I guess a perfect gift for Kurt would be a shovel.”
Cobain’s ex-wife, Courtney Love, says she still has feelings for the rocker, although he hasn’t visited her or their daughter, Frances, in nearly 20 years.
“It’s sad that Frances doesn’t know her father,” says Love, “I thought I saw him one night, but it turned out I was just high on smack. I don’t have his willpower.”
Love says that despite his absence, she remains very proud of her ex-husband and his commitment to his sobriety. She says his story should be an inspiration to others who’ve struggled with addiction.
“I wish I knew his secret,” says Love, “To just quit cold turkey like that, after all those years of using. It’s pretty impressive.”
Still, other musicians who have struggled with substance abuse question whether too much credit is being given Cobain in his triumph over his heroin addiction.
“I’m glad the guy’s clean,” says Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, himself a recovering alcoholic, “But how hard can it be to stay off heroin when you’re dead?”
“Knowing Kurt and how much he loved the smack,” Love says, “Pretty hard.”