Kurt Cobain, the undisputed messiah for the disenchanted youth of the 90’s and onward, changed the music world forever when he took his own life on April 5th 1994. While his band members and family seem to accept this suicide verdict, there has been an ongoing conspiracy theory circulating that links the death to his then-wife Courtney Love. Certain theorists suggest that it was actually Courtney who killed Kurt, or at the very least hired someone to murder him. Let us explore some of the evidence in support of this Kurt Cobain murder conspiracy to see if it holds up, or if it is a whole lotta bogus like many other music world conspiracy theories.
Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Note: What Does it Really Mean?
One of the main sources of skepticism regarding Kurt Cobain’s suicide is the supposed ambiguity of his suicide note. Apparently Cobain’s heart-wrenching farewell to his wife and child (Frances Bean) does not strike certain theorists as containing any explicit evidence of his ensuing suicide. Yet the letter does end with Cobain writing that Courtney and Frances Bean “will be so much happier without” him, and he repurposes Neil Young’s lyric that it’s “better to burn out than to fade away” in addressing his legions of fans. It is hard to imagine a context for this letter that doesn’t connote an impending suicide, though theorists have proposed that it was actually an announcement of his decision to retire from music. This is feasible, yet these suspicions are deflated when brought up alongside an alleged second suicide note that is said to give more accurate insight into Cobain’s death. This note was recently discovered to have been in Cobain’s wallet upon his death, and refers to Courtney Love as a “bitch” who was using up his money for “doping and whoring”. While this does seem harsh, it is easy to see the traces of irony in the note, especially when considering that it was most likely written by Courtney herself. Though Kurt’s official suicide note does leave room for interpretation, the belief that this second Courtney-bashing note has any more authority on the context of his death sort of deflates the conspiracy. Sure their marriage wasn’t perfect but that’s not really any of our business, let alone a reason to jump to conclusions about a Kurt Cobain murder conspiracy! This faulty logic strikes me more like an instance of demonizing Courtney Love, and that ain’t cool.
Did Courtney Offer ‘El Duce’ $50,000 to Kill Kurt?
Another conspiracy theory that Kurt-was-murdered-advocates cling to is the mysterious story of ‘El Duce’. Born Eldon Wayne Hoke, El Duce was the singer and drummer of the shock-rock band called The Mentors. If you do not know much about this band’s extremely problematic musical career, you can get a taste of it here, but in short they were a band of attention-seeking knuckleheads who believed appalling misogyny to be super hilarious. Anyhow, in the mid-90’s El Duce came forward with the claim that he was offered $50,000 by Courtney Love to kill Kurt Cobain. This announcement was a hot topic that led El Duce to give statements at Jerry Springer and in the documentary Kurt and Courtney. But what really got conspiracy theorists riled up is the fact that El Duce died two days after giving his statement for the documentary, having been hit by a train. Now, the circumstances of his death are quite clear and there were witnesses; he was intoxicated and got stuck in a train tracks while greeting fans. Yet conspiracy theorists still claim that foul play was involved in his death because he ‘knew too much’. Coming from a guy who made his name by being contrarian and offensive, it is very feasible that El Duce merely fabricated the Courtney Love story to get attention in ways other than grotesque lyrics. Those who believe that his statement and his death are tied to this Kurt Cobain murder conspiracy are clearly seeing the situation from a skewed perspective.
As you can see, there is insufficient evidence to really justify the Kurt Cobain murder conspiracy theory that purports that Courtney killed Kurt. While there are certainly a number of other facets to this theory, I believe that they are all fairly unconvincing. But clearly, many people disagree.