March 1st, 1994, Nirvana took to the stage in Munich in what turned out to be the band’s final appearance together. Frontman, Kurt Cobain announced that this would be the final night of the tour, as he wanted to quit Nirvana, end his marriage and go home.
Cobain had personally invited American rock band, Melvins to open for Nirvana on the European leg of their In Utero tour. After the shows, the late singer would regularly drop by to congratulate the group on another job well done. So, when Cobain knocked on the Melvins’ dressing room door in Munich, Buzz Osborne initially assumed that Nirvana’s frontman was just making a courtesy call.
The Nirvana frontman instead informed Osborne that this would be the final night of the tour, as he wanted to quit Nirvana, end his marriage and go home. Osbourne said Cobain told him that he “should just be doing this solo”. Osborne later told Seattle music writer, Charles R. Cross, “in retrospect, he was talking about his entire life”.
In the days previous, Cobain had told his bandmates Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic that he wanted to prematurely end the tour, which was scheduled to end in Dublin on April 8th. As the band had not taken out cancellation insurance, the cancellation of the contract would have cost Nirvana tens of thousands of dollars.
Cobain sarcastically asked, “So, if somebody died, we’d still have to do the shows?” The singer was informed that death would be the only permitted acceptance to quit. Cobain’s lack of enthusiasm and passion shown on that final night in Munich, and his mood worsened when a mid-set power cut caused problems. After the show had ended, the Nirvana frontman told his booking agent to cancel the next gig.
Two days after the show, Cobain composed a suicide note in a hotel room in Rome. – “Like Hamlet, I have to choose between life and death. I’m choosing death”. He attempted to take his own life through an overdose of painkillers, although the story released to the media was that this was an accidental overdose.
Fifteen years later, Nirvana skinner Dave Grohl revealed in an interview, “So Krist and I get on the phone and then someone says, ‘He’s okay, he’s just in a coma, he’s not dead.’ It was so chaotic and crazy… it was so weird, and surreal, that 28 hours ago I was hanging out with these people. But then someone called and said that he died, and I lost it, I just f****** lost it.
“He came home, and we talked on the phone,” the former Nirvana drummer recalled. “And I told him, ‘Man, Kurt, f*** …’ I didn’t tell him that someone had told me that he’d died, but I told him that I was terrified and so worried. And he was really apologetic, like, ‘So sorry, I was partying and drinking, and I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing.’ And I said, ‘Listen, I don’t think you should die!’ And then, I think, well, then, you know what happened…”
Heart-Shaped Box turned out to be Nirvana’s final song Kurt Cobain ever played onstage. It was song number 23 on Nirvana’s Munich set-list, and the lead single from their acclaimed third studio album, In Utero. (If it sounded raw and rough on the night, in the wake of Cobain’s death by suicide on April 5, 1994, it sounds poignant and desperate in equal measure, imbued with too much meaning and too much pain. – Classic Rock)
On Valentine’s Day, online cassette store Tapehead City released an exclusive, limited “Love Buzz Red” edition of Nirvana’s 1989 debut album, Bleach. Unsurprisingly selling out 500 copies, the company have now launched a Blew edition of the album to mark its anniversary. Read about it here.