THE SO CALLED "SUICIDE" NOTE
After all the lies and inconsistencies prior to the discovery of the body,
my first question when I read the note was, "Did Kurt write this?" It took
some time to be sure, but I eventually determined he did.
I believe he wrote the whole thing, with the possible exception of the line
at the end which reads, "which will be so much happier without me." Upon
close examination, the thickness of the line print in these words, (on the
copy I made from Courtney's fax machine), appears to be thinner than the
line print in the rest of the note. This may indicate a different writing
instrument, less pen pressure, or a different "writer" altogether.
Several handwriting experts have examined this letter and their opinions
about these last words differ. As far as I'm concerned, this "added line"
theory is not a critical issue.
There's a substantial amount of evidence to prove Kurt was leaving
Courtney. Her constant verbal abuse and criticism had convinced him he was
a bad influence on his daughter.
If he did write this line, he was simply indicating he thought Frances
would be better off away from what he perceived to be his "bad influence."
Could it have been a "suicide" note? I wasn't sure at first. But as I
reviewed my notes, studied the case, and continued gathering information
over the next several months while working with Courtney, I concluded with
complete confidence, this was NOT a "suicide" note. This was a note to
Kurt's fans explaining his decision to quit the music business, to stop
touring and to stop performing.
Read the contents carefully. Here was a guy who cared about his fans. Here
was a guy with compassion. He had a drug habit, he had some flaws, but he
seemed to care about others more than he cared about himself.
Is this a letter from a self-centered father who had no concern for his
daughter? Does this sound like someone who didn't care about the images
he'd be leaving his little girl -- images of violence and physical
destruction that Frances would be forced to visualize the rest of her life
whenever she thought about her dad?
Are these observations alone proof that Kurt Cobain did not commit suicide?
No. Just something to think about as you try to understand what was on
Kurt's mind when he wrote this letter.
To Boddah pronounced
Speaking from the tongue of an experienced simpleton who obviously would
rather be an emasculated, infantile camplainee. This note should be pretty
easy to understand. All the warnings from the punk rock 101 courses over
the years. Since my first introduction to the, shall we say, ethics
involved with independence and the embracement of your community has proven
to be very true. I haven't felt the exitement of listening to as well as
creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I
feel guilty beyond words about these things. For example when we're
backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowd begins it
doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddy Mercury who seemed to
love. (?)relish in the love and adoration from the crowd. Which is
something I totally admire and envy. The fact is I can't fool you. Any one
of you. It simply isn't fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of
would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I'm having 100
% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch in time clock before I
walk out on stage. I've tried everything within my power to appreciate it,
(and I do. God, believe me I do, but it's not enough. I appreciate the fact
that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. I must be one
of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they're gone. I'm too
sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasm I
once had as a child. On our last three tours I've had a much better
appreciation for all the people I've known personally and as fans of our
music, but I still can't get over the frustration, the guilt and empathy I
have for everyone. There's good in all of us and I think I simply love
people too much. So much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad
little, sensitive, unappreciative, pisces, Jesus man! Why don't you just
enjoy it? I don't know. I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and
empathy and a daughter who reminds me too much of what I used to be. Full
of love and joy kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and
will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can
barely function. I can't stand the thought of Frances becoming the
miserable self-destructive, death rocker that I've become. I have it good,
very good, and I'm grateful, but since the age of seven I've become hateful
towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for people to
get along, and have empathy. Empathy! Only because I love and feel for
people too much I guess. Thank you all from the pit of my burning nauseous
stomach for your letters and concern during the past years. I'm too much of
an erratic, moody baby! I don't have the passion anymore and so remember,
its better to burn out than to
fade away. peace, love, empathy. Kurt Cobain
Frances and Courtney, I'll be at your alter.
Please keep going Courtney
for her life which will be so much happier
without me. I Love you. I love you!
WHAT WAS HE SAYING?
Some writers claim the letter doesn't make much sense. This is because
they're reading it in the context of a "suicide" note. Once you realize
it's simply a retirement letter, it all comes together. It makes perfect
IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT that Kurt is alive and well. His band broke up and he
moved away from Seattle. All performances have been canceled. Now read the
Imagine Kurt wrote it to explain his decision to his fans.
Why does it all make so much sense now? Because that's precisely why this
note was written!!
WHO IS BODDAH?
In an article written a couple of years ago, Wendy O' Conner, Kurt's mother
indicates Kurt had an imaginary childhood friend named "Bodah." After
Kurt's death, a reprint of this article appeared in the new Rolling Stone
book about Cobain. The spelling of this name in the reprint was changed to
Boddah, matching the spelling of the name on the "note."
According to our preliminary research, the addition of the word"
pronounced" after the name Boddah on the "note" seems to indicate this was
a spiritual reference to Kurt's beliefs in Buddhism. Although it may appear
to some who have no understanding of Buddhism that this was like addressing
a letter to God, the terms used here would more accurately be interpreted
as, "to all who are enlightened."
This theory certainly makes more sense than the idea that he would address
a note to an imaginary childhood friend, only to proceed to talk to his
fans, those who understood him and his ideals... those who are
The important thing here is the body of the note. The body of the note
clearly indicates who this note was written to. This note does not belong
to Courtney Love. It was written to Kurt's fans. It belongs to Kurt's fans.
A CLOSER LOOK
What did he mean by: "the... ethics involved with independence and the
embracement of your community has proven to be very true." ?
I believe Kurt was saying he'd been warned about greed, corruption and
exploitation in the music industry. He was saying these "warnings" had
proven to be true. This realization robbed him of the excitement he once
experienced while playing and performing in earlier years.
When MTV broadcast the reading of portions of this note by Courtney, the
caption displayed on the screen for another line in the letter read, "I HAD
it good." The actual note reads "I HAVE it good." A subtle but distinct
difference in revealing the mental state of the writer.
What about the line at the end of the body of the note? "I don't have the
passion anymore and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade
This has always been a commonly used phrase to describe motivation for
retirement. In the entertainment field, it usually refers to quitting while
you're on top instead of fading from popularity.
Others also use this phrase to describe their personal decision to retire.
I quit the Sheriff's department because I was "burnt out." I was bored.
There were no more challenges. I'd done everything I wanted to do on the
department including undercover assignments, dune buggy, mountain bike and
helicopter patrol. I was a detective at Malibu Sheriff's Station when I
made my decision. As far as I was concerned, I had the best job in the
county. I had a good reputation, no enemies, no beefs. I was simply "burnt
Looking back over the years, I've often regretted that decision. Whether or
not you agree, I feel I'm a better detective than I am a businessman. I
eventually came back to what I do best. In time, Kurt may have come back
too. Of course.... now we'll never know.
What did he mean when he wrote, "Please keep going Courtney, for Frances,
for her life...?"
While I was with Courtney at the Peninsula hotel, several days before
Kurt's body was found, she said almost exactly the same thing to me. "If he
doesn't want to do it, (referring to the Lollapalooza tour), he ought to do
it for his baby, for Frances."
Kurt, no doubt, had heard this from Courtney before. He didn't want this
lifestyle any more. He didn't care about the money, but he knew money and
fame were important to Courtney. So he was telling her, "YOU do it. YOU do
it for Frances and for her future."
Although Kurt wanted out of the marriage, he still loved Courtney. He was
leaving, but he'd continue to publicly support her. (Refer to the "other
note" referenced below and in the Summary Of Events where Kurt says, "I'll
be there to protect you.")
Kurt naively believed this would be enough to satisfy her. It would give
her the freedom to do what she wanted to do... and it would give him
freedom from the business of creating his music... something he once
enjoyed with the innocence of a true artist.
December, 1994 Issue
As mentioned in the Summary Of Events, during an interview with Rolling
Stone's David Fricke, Courtney responds to a probing question about the
so-called "suicide" note left at the scene of his death.
D. F. - "Did Kurt's suicide note make any sense to you - that he'd found
any kind of peace in what he was going to do?"
C.L. - "He wrote me a letter other than his suicide note. It's kind of
I put it in a safe-deposit box. I might show it to Frances - maybe. It's
very f_ked-up writing. 'You know I love you, I love Frances, I'm so sorry.
Please don't follow me.' It's long because he repeats himself. 'I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'll be there I'll protect you. I don't know where
I'm going, I just can't be here anymore.'"
How do I know Kurt was not talking about suicide in THIS letter?
Because of the obvious terminology and... Courtney admits this "other" note
was "not really like a suicide note."
On Sunday, April 3rd, when she couldn't find him, Courtney told me she
thought Kurt was leaving her. This "other" letter simply confirms what
Courtney already knew, but what she never wanted anyone else to know.
A CONVERSATION WITH COURTNEY
After reading in Rolling Stone that Courtney claimed to have another note
left to her by Kurt, I was curious where this note was found. Even more
important, I WONDERED WHY SHE HADN'T TOLD ME OR THE PRESS ABOUT IT!
On January 19, 1995, Courtney and I talked on the phone for over an hour.
Following is a transcript of the discussion we had about this "other" note.
TG - What about the other note? You mentioned in Rolling Stone about
another note that he wrote to you.
CL - It's like a letter and it's not really like a suicide note. It's like,
it seems more like, it was like in a sealed envelope, and it was just like
to me, and it seems like he wrote it in rehab.
TG - Where'd you find it?
CL - It was in my bedroom, under my pillows.
TG - Under your pillows?
CL - Yeah, and I didn't tell anybody about it but Rosemary and uh, I told
Sgt. Cameron about it.
TG - Yeah...
CL - I let him see it, um...
TG - There's only one problem with that, Courtney.
CL - What ?
TG - I looked under your pillows.
CL - Well...
TG - Just like we looked under your mattresses.
CL - It was there.
TG - That's how I found the Rohypnol, between your mattresses. That note
wasn't under your pillows on the bed.
CL - Tom, it was... and I showed it to Sgt. Cameron, and he can prove it. I
own it. I'll show it to you. Whatever you... if you want to see it.
TG - Yeah, I'd like to see it. I'd like to see it. But what I'm telling you
is, it was not there the night before the body was found, or the night
before that. Because we, you know, you can ask Dylan about this, we picked
the pillows up. We were looking for drugs. We looked under the mattresses.
That's where the Rohypnol was. There was no note in an envelope.
CL - It was like right... right..., it was ah... it was in ah... it was in
along legal envelope, white envelope, that was sealed. It had my name on it
and it was definitely in Kurt's writing, and it was right under my pillows.
TG - Yeah, Ok.
CL - Like, I have a bunch of pillows on that bed... it was right there.
TG - All I can say to that, Courtney is: If you say so!
IS ALL THIS LOGICAL?
Did Courtney really tell Rosemary Carroll about this "other" note?
Not likely. At least not for several months. Rosemary was initially
furnishing me with evidence that implicated Courtney in Kurt's death. She
would have told me about this "other note" if she knew about it.
Did Courtney show it to Sgt. Cameron?
I don't know. But if she did, it should have been booked into evidence and
it should have been listed in the police reports. The fact that it wasn't
indicates either Courtney is lying or the police have covered up the
information about this "other" note.
THERE WERE TWO NOTES!
One was to his fans explaining his decision to quit performing. The other
was to his wife explaining his decision to leave her. Neither of the notes
One of these notes was deliberately concealed from me and from the public
while Courtney pretended to encourage me to investigate Kurt's death! Why
conceal the second note? Because when read together, the second note would
prove the first note was NOT a "suicide" note!
When and where did Kurt actually write these two letters? I'll have more to
say about that in the future.