Nirvana's Kurt Cobain committed suicide 20 years ago today at 27 years old. According to the BBC, however, the small town of Aberdeen, Washington — where Cobain was born in 1967 — is conflicted about the grunge icon's history of drugs, depression, and, ultimately, the taking of his own life in the garage of his Seattle home.
"Some people think that honouring him we are encouraging kids to use drugs,” says Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson.
Of course, Cobain famously tagged Aberdeen as a place "full of bigoted rednecks," and was often vocal about his unhappy childhood in the town, especially after his parents divorced when he was just eight years old. Nirvana's bassist Krist Novoselic lived in Aberdeen as a teen, as well, and the band's early rehearsals also took place in the town.
However, Cobain's first recognition from his home town didn't occur until 2005, when the Kurt Cobain Memorial Foundation placed a sign reading "Welcome to Aberdeen, Come As You Are" at the east entrance to the city. Apparently the sign—which refers to a Nirvana hit—is still controversial amongst the citizens of the town.
But, controversy and sniping aside, Cobain and Nirvana definitely kicked rock music in the butt, and that's something all musicians should recognize. Rest in peace, Kurt.
Here's the video that started the fire—Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit":