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"Soaked in Bleach" makes a strong argument in favor of reopening investigation into Kurt Cobain's '94 "suicide"

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FILM REVIEW: Soaked in Bleach (Daredevil Films) 2015

It was on April 8, 1994, while sitting in the drive-thru lane of a Checkers Drive-In burger joint in Grand Rapids, Michigan that I heard the news that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain had been found dead in his Seattle home – a victim of suicide-by-gun.

While I liked Nirvana and I respected their role in shaking up the music industry, I wasn’t heavily into the grunge-music scene like some of my pals. Alice in Chains was probably my favorite band to come out of that scene, along with Mudhoney.

Anyway, I admit to being pretty bummed out about it, particularly since Generation X really had few “heroes” or “cultural icons” to look up to. Our role as the latch-key kid “forgotten generation” continues to this day, as the Baby Boomers and Millennials suck all the air and energy out of the proverbial room.

Anyway, enough moaning. For years I’ve suspected there was more to Cobain’s “suicide” than meets the eye. Yes, he did take drugs. Yes, he wrote songs with pretty gloomy lyrics. Recall  Nirvana’s 1992 hit “Come As You Are” (with a  guitar line ripped from Killing Joke’s earlier hit “Eighties”) “And I swear that I don’t have a gun / No, I don’t have a gun …” (the line "soaked in bleach" also comes from "Come As You Are").

And yet there was the evidence. There was a shotgun and heroin on the scene. Cobain was now an official member of the notorious “27 Club.” The professionals at the Seattle Police Department couldn’t possibly screw up the investigation into the death – a suicide – of a world-famous rock star, now could they? Even when there was no evidence that Cobain was suicidal? 

Soaked in Bleach director Benjamin Statler seems to think so. In his compelling documentary – complete with interviews, reenactments and some damning audio evidence against Cobain’s wife, sleazeball Hole lead singer Courtney Love – the evidence collected by Los Angeles-based Private Investigator Tom Grant, whom Love initially hired, points to the uncomfortable conclusion that Love is had Cobain murdered because he had threatened to divorce her a month earlier. Grant takes up much of the film, but his role is key and his professionalism comes through loud and clear. Again, Courtney Love comes across as an absolute ghoul in Soaked in Bleach.

Experts like Cyril Wecht (the former president of the American Academy of Forensic Science) and controversial former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, among others, are interviewed and they seem to agree that something is not quite right with the (botched) investigation of Cobain’s death. The red flags are everywhere, according to Statler and Soaked in Bleach. Not surprisingly, former Nirvana bandmates drummer Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and quiet bassist Krist Novoselic, are nowhere to be found. What do they think of Soaked in Bleach's findings, one wonders? 

I agree with the filmmakers and those interviewed: there needs to be a new investigation into the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. There are simply too many curious things about the case and too many unanswered questions brought up in this challenging and imperfect first-time film from Benjamin Statler.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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