Monday, September 26, 2016

(Photos) Come As You Are: Kurt Cobain's Aberdeen

During my Pacific Northwest trip we made our way to Aberdeen, Washington a Pacific coast harbor town on the Olympic peninsula and the home town of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

Last week the saw the 25th anniversary of the release of their breakthrough album, Nevermind, the grunge classic remains one of the most influential rock albums ever produced.

Cobain committed suicide in Seattle at the deadly rock and roll age of 27 in 1994, seven months after the release of their final studio album, In Utero.

Traveling east on US Route 12--Aberdeen is the terminus of the long road--you are greeted by this sign, "Welcome to Aberdeen--Come As You Are," which of course is a reference to that well-known song from Nevermind.

Aberdeen's next sign proclaims the town to be the Lumber Capital of the World. Not any more. More on that later.

This Craftsman house at 1210 E. First Street is where Cobain lived from 1968, when he was one, until 1976 when his parents divorced. In the early 1980s the future star moved back here, before leaving this home for good in 1984. Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, still owns the house, but has been trying to sell it since 2013. Her first asking price was $500,000. the most recent asking price is $329.000, which is almost three-times what similar Aberdeen homes go for. The house is vacant.

From vacant to abandoned. There are plenty of foresaken houses in Aberdeen.

Competition from government-subsidized Canadian lumber firms and the Great Recession have hit Aberdeen hard. In 2009 timber giant Weyerhauser closed two Aberdeen mills. Another one was shuttered in 2005.

Aberdeen's best days seem to be behind it.

After a couple of spells of homelessness, Cobain moved into this home at 408 W. First Street, owned by the Schillinger family, where he slept on a couch.

And that is the very couch that you see me sitting on. Aberdeen doesn't have a Cobain museum, this piece of furniture is on display at the Aberdeen Museum of History.

During his second stay in Aberdeen, Cobain would lie beneath the Young Street Bridge on the Wishkah River and dream. This place, which is now bordered by Riverfront Park and Kurt Cobain Landing, is a magnet for Nirvana fans. The sign reads, "In memoriam: From the muddy banks of the Wishkah."

The Nirvana song, "Something In The Way," was inspired by Cobain's time under Young Street.
Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I've trapped
Have all become my pets
And I'm living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
It's okay to eat fish
'Cause they don't have any feelings.

That's the Blogger Laureate of Illinois at Kurt Cobain Landing.

Beneath the bridge.

Two years after Cobain's death a live Nirvana album, From the Muddy Banks of The Wishkah, was released.

Cobain's remains were cremated. One third of his ashes were sent to a Buddhist monastery in Tibet, one third stayed with his widow, Courtney Love, and the remainder were placed in the Wishkah River.

Related post:

My Mississippi Manifest Destiny: Johnny Cash's boyhood home

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