Gary James' Interview With Duff Wilson On
Kurt Cobain's Death
He was called "The Voice Of A Generation" and "The Prince Of Grunge." His group, Nirvana, formed in 1987 and released their first record, "Bleach", which cost all of $606.17 to record in 1989. In 1991, Geffen Records signed the group. Nirvana's debut album, "Nevermind", sold more than ten million copies worldwide. On April 8th, 1994, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home. Was it a suicide or was it murder? One of the first, if not the first article on the subject was written by Seattle Times reporters Linda Keene and Duff Wilson, some six weeks after Kurt Cobain's death. We spoke with Duff Wilson recently about that article.
Q - Duff, the article that you and Linda Keene wrote on Kurt Cobain's death appeared in my local paper on May 16th, 1994. That was really the first article I read that questioned the official version of Kurt's death. Here we are twenty-three years later. Are you satisfied that the unanswered questions you raised have been answered?
A - I investigated it. I spent some weeks on it at that time, but haven't done much since then. So it's hard for me to conclude. I talked to
Tom Grant way back then and other people, some of whom are named in the article. I'm only catching up on it today when the Seattle Police looked at it again. I guess it's been a couple of years. And I was just looking quickly, I'm not sure it's the latest from Tom Grant, off the CobainCase.com and these people know so much more about it than me 'cause I haven't kept up with it. For instance, the article asks where did Cobain spend his final eighty hours and who was with him? Hopefully there's been a lot of good work done on that since then because I don't know much more than what we reported. They didn't know. It was suspected he was at a cabin. They didn't find anybody I think who was actually with him except for a woman who was providing him with heroin at the time and that's before the final eighty hours. Who was trying to use the credit card (Kurt's credit card)?
Q - I don't know. That was going to be one of my questions to you. I haven't seen any definitive answer on that.
A - Me either. I haven't a clue. Who's done the best investigation on this since then? Is it Tom Grant or have other people investigated it hard?
Q - Tom Grant has come to his conclusion and the Seattle Police have come to their conclusion. Had Tom Grant and Dylan Carlson checked the greenhouse, would there be no controversy?
A - They went to the house at 3 A.M and 9:45 P.M. and they said they never went to the greenhouse. I'm sorry. When was the time of death set?
Q - He was found on April 8th and could've been there two to three days before. I don't have an exact date and most likely neither does anyone else.
A - Yeah, that's my impression. It was sometime before Tom and Dylan checked the house April 7th. What do you mean by your question how would it have made a difference if they had found the body instead of somebody else finding it?
Q - Had Tom Grant and Dylan Carlson been first on the scene, anything that looked out of place to them, they would have seen it first, maybe even taken some photos. I don't even know if they had a camera with them. Now we have the Seattle Police first on scene. And so, a host of questions have been put forth by Tom Grant.
A - Right. I understand. He was looking for Cobain. He'd been hired by Courtney Love. He was a private investigator and former law enforcement. So he was probably carrying cameras. Who knows? He was pretty sharp. Did you see the photos the police released a few years ago?
Q - I did.
A - I hadn't.
Q - Have you seen Soaked In Bleach?
A - No. I'd like to see it.
Q - You wrote that the Seattle Police spent two hundred hours interviewing Kurt's family, friends and a heroin dealer. Was this heroin dealer the person he got his heroin from on the day he was found dead?
A - I don't know if that was established. The best I know is what's in the article. Let me see, "His reputed heroin dealer, who was a woman who lived on Capitol Hill."
Q - Do you know what happened to that woman?
A - No, I don't.
Q - You say in your article, "Cobain's actions are hard to trace, fueling speculation there was more to his suicide than the public, press or police know." That statement would probably still be true today.
A - Yeah. I was talking to Tom Grant way back then and he was investigating and raising questions that he's made more public recently.
Q - Sgt. Dan Cameron, who passed away some years back, said, "We went to some pretty remarkable ends to come to this conclusion (suicide) to eliminate any questions in the future." But today there are more questions than ever before.
A - I don't know. Doesn't it seem like there's the same amount of questions that have not been definitively answered?
Q - Actually, there's new questions that come up.
A - Like what?
Q - Have you ever heard of Kurt's grandfather, Leland Cobain?
A - Yeah, I've heard of him.
Q - He has a video online and states there were no fingerprints on the shells or gun. Do you know anything about that? Have you heard that before?
A - No, just what I've read on Tom's website.
Q - He (Leland Cobain) said that Courtney knew the coroner. I've never heard that before. And that she was sleeping with the detective in charge. I've never heard that before.
A - Which detective?
Q - He never did say. I have no idea who he's talking about.
A - Me either.
Q - When you wrote that article, were you in Seattle?
A - I was in Seattle and I went to L.A.
Q - Had you ever seen Nirvana in concert? Had you ever spoke to Kurt Cobain?
A - I wish. I wish I would've seen 'em. I was driving around L.A after he died, listening to his music. I feel sorry that I missed seeing him. It was an awesome band.
Q - It would appear that it shouldn't be that difficult to come to a definitive answer as to how Kurt died. After all, it happened in 1994, not 1794. We have all kinds of technology that should've put this to rest once and for all, and it doesn't stop. It keeps on going and going.
A - How do you think it could be put to rest?
Q - I'm not sure it could at this point. If Courtney Love, Dylan Carlson and Michael Dewitt said to Tom Grant, "Okay Tom, we'll sit down with you and answer any question you have," wouldn't that resolve it? I suppose only Tom Grant would know the answer to that. And then, who's to say he would be happy with their answers.
A - Yeah. That would prove nothing except what people say.
Q - Really, we're back to square one. Kurt Cobain's death will always be a mystery. There's always going to be controversy surrounding his death.
A - I think so. If it was a suicide probably only Kurt Cobain would know if he committed suicide because nobody was allegedly in the room with him when he was committing suicide, right? If it was not a suicide then the participants in any conspiracy would know, if there was one.
Q - Who would want to see Kurt Cobain dead? A drug dealer he owed money to? A promoter who was mad he pulled out of the Lollapalooza tour? A jealous musician friend?
A - I don't know. I can't speculate on that.
Q - How much co-operation did you get for that interview? Did you talk to Sgt. Dan Cameron? Did you get to talk to Courtney?
A - We talked to Cameron for sure. Courtney declined to be interviewed. We talked with Tom Grant, Rosemary Carroll and the other people that are quoted there. We talked with taxi drivers and taxi supervisors to determine some of the movements, but not all of them.
Q - Did you ever do a follow-up to this article?
A - I don't think that I did. Nothing significant. I don't think anything that went into print.
Q - Do you think Kurt committed suicide or was he murdered? Or do you not have an opinion?
A - Sorry, I don't have an opinion on that. I need more information. Some has been developed in the last twenty years. The key questions are the ones that Grant is raising and the police are responding to in some degree and I don't have a final opinion myself. Sorry.
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