THE COBAIN TIMELINE

1964

Courtney Michelle Harrison (Courtney Love) aged 5

July 9th: Courtney Michelle Harrison is born

~ Courtney Michelle Love is born at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Fransisco with the name Courtney Michelle Harrison. She was the first child of psychotherapist Linda Carroll, and Hank Harrison, a publisher and road manager for the Greatful Dead. Her godfather is the founding Greatful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.

1967

Kurt Cobain as a young boy

February 20th: Kurt Cobain is born

~ Kurt Cobain was born at Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington, the son of waitress Wendy Elizabeth (née Fradenburg; born 1948) and automotive mechanic Donald Leland Cobain (born 1946). His parents were married on July 31, 1965, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. His ancestry included Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, and Scottish.

May 26th: Kristen Marie Pfaff is born

~ Kristen Marie Pfaff was born to Janet Pfaff and her first husband in Buffalo, New York. Her parents divorced when she was a child, and her mother remarried to Norman Pfaff, who adopted Kristen and gave her his surname. She had one younger brother, Jason, a musician. She studied classic

1990

January 12th: Courtney and Kurt meet

~ Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain meet at a nightclub in Portland, Seattle.

1992

February 24th: Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love get married in Honolulu, on Waikiki beach.

April 16th: Kurt Cobain features with bandmates from Nirvana on the front cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.

August 18th:

~ Kurt and Courtney’s first and only child Frances Bean Cobain is born in Los Angeles, California.

September 1st:

~ Vanity Fair publishes a lengthy, and critical piece on Courtney Love.

Strange Love: The Story of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Lynn Hirschberg, Vanity Fair, 1992.

“Hole, which is much more extreme and less melodic than Nirvana, released Pretty on the Inside on Caroline Records, an independent that is a subsidiary of Virgin. The record is intensely difficult to listen to—Courtney’s singing is a mix of shouting, screeching, and rasping—but her songwriting, which has been compared to Joni Mitchell’s, is powerful. “ ‘Pretty on the Inside,’ ” writes Elizabeth Wurtzel in The New Yorker, “is such a cacophony—full of such grating, abrasive, and unpleasant sludges of noise—that very few people are likely to get through it once, let alone give it the repeated listenings it needs for you to discover that it’s probably the most compelling album to have been released in 1991.”

Strange Love: The Story of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Lynn Hirschberg, Vanity Fair, 1992.

So it began—the first-ever bidding war over an unsigned female band. (In the record business, independent labels are not considered contenders—until you’re on a major label you’re unsigned.) It wasn’t clear whether or not most of the bidders liked, or even knew, Hole’s music—it was the magic combination of Madonna’s interest, Kurt Cobain’s interest, and the strength of Courtney’s personality. In any case, Clive Davis, president of Arista Records, reportedly offered a million dollars to sign the band. Rick Rubin, head of Def American, was interested, but he and Courtney clashed when they met. She had similar difficulties with Jeff Ayeroff at Virgin. “Now, Kurt,” she exclaims, “is able to go into Capitol, go into a meeting, decide he doesn’t like it halfway through, walk out on the guys mid-sentence, and everyone goes, ‘There goes Kurt. He’s so moody. Nirvana’s great.’ But I go in and spend three hours with Jeff Ayeroff and tell him more about punk rock than he ever knew. I give him quality time, but, I’m sorry, I don’t want to be on his label and he gets a boner about it and calls me a bitch.”

Strange Love: The Story of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Lynn Hirschberg, Vanity Fair, 1992.

In the end, she signed with Gary Gersh at Geffen, the same label as Nirvana. “We didn’t make the deal because she is married to Kurt Cobain,” says Ed Rosenblatt. “But it is a little weird. Hole is a band who we happen to believe in and, oh, by the way, she’s married to…”

Strange Love: The Story of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Lynn Hirschberg, Vanity Fair, 1992.

Courtney’s deal, worth around a million dollars, is bigger and better than her husband’s. She and Carroll insisted on that. “I got excellent, excellent contractual things,” she boasts. “I made them pull out Nirvana’s contract, and everything on there, I wanted more. I’m up to half a million for my publishing rights and I’m still walking. If those sexist assholes want to think that me and Kurt write songs together, they can come forward with a little more.” She pauses. “No matter what label I’m on, I’m going to be his wife,” she says. “I’m enough of a person to transcend that.”

Strange Love: The Story of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Lynn Hirschberg, Vanity Fair, 1992.

Probably. But in the circles she travels in, Kurt Cobain is regarded as a holy man. Courtney, meanwhile, is viewed by many as a charismatic opportunist. There have been rampant reports about the couple’s drug problems, and many believe she introduced Cobain to heroin. They are expecting a baby this month, and even the most tolerant industry insiders fear for the health of the child. “It is appalling to think that she would be taking drugs when she knew she was pregnant,” says one close friend. “We’re all worried about that baby.”

Strange Love: The Story of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Lynn Hirschberg, Vanity Fair, 1992.

1994

January 27th: Kurt features In Rolling Stone

According to the Cobain press myth — “pissy, complaining, freaked-out schizophrenic,” as he quite accurately puts it — the 26-year-old singer and guitarist should have fired the soundman, canceled this interview and gone back to his hotel room to sulk. Instead, he spends his wind–down time backstage, doting on his daughter, 1-year-old Frances Bean Cobain, a petite blond beauty who barrels around the room with a smile for everyone in her path. Later, back at the hotel, armed with nothing stronger than a pack of cigarettes and two minibar bottles of Evian water, Cobain is in a thoughtful, discursive mood, taking great pains to explain that success doesn’t really suck – not as much as it used to, anyway – and that his life is pretty good. And getting better. “It was so fast and explosive,” he says in a sleepy, gravelly voice of his first crisis of confidence following the ballistic success of Nevermind. “I didn’t know how to deal with it. If there was a Rock Star 101 course, I would have liked to take it. It might have helped me. I still see stuff, descriptions of rock stars in some magazine — ‘Sting, the environmental guy,’ and ‘Kurt Cobain, the whiny, complaining, neurotic, bitchy guy who hates everything, hates rock stardom, hates his life.’ And I’ve never been happier in my life. Especially within the last week, because the shows have been going so well — except for tonight. I’m a much happier guy than a lot of people think I am.”

Kurt Cobain, The Rolling Stone Interview: Success Doesn’t Suck. David Fricke, Rolling Stone, 1994

March 1st:

~ Cobain is diagnosed with bronchitis and sever laryngitis

March 3rd:

~ Courtney Love joins Kurt Cobain in Rome.

March 4th:

~ Love wakes to find that Kurt had overdosed on a combination of champagne and rohypnol. (*Love would later say this was Kurt’s first suicide attempt.)

March 25th:

~ Love arranges an intervention regarding Cobain’s drug use which involved ten other people. The ten people involved included musician friends, record company executives, and one of Cobain’s closest friends, Dylan Carlson.

April 8th:

~ Kurt Cobain’s body is found by an electrician at his home in Seattle Washington. At some point he had suffered a single gunshot wound to the head; a Remington Model 11 20 gauge shotgun was found resting on his chest.

June 6th: Kristen Pfaff dies of a suspected heroin overdose

Kirsten Pfaff, Courtney’s bandmate dies of what was said to be a heroin overdose.

1995

December 5th: Courtney Love appears on a Barbara Walters special

~ Courtney Love appears on a Barbara Walters special whereby she answers some in depth questions about Kurt’s death, the pregnancy and her drug use.

Courtney Love interviewed by Barbara Walters

Courtney Love appears on Barbara Walters

TV Interview Transcript

Barbara Walters:What's the biggest misconception about you?

Courtney Love:That I'm not educated...and that I'm not clean and that
I'm not-

BW:Clean being clean in person or clean on drugs?

CL:Oh, both.

BW:You are on nothing?

CL:No.

BW:You are on nothing today?

CL:No, no.

BW:No heroin?

CL:My god. (defensively)

BW:I'm going to ask you all the questions people think. No more
heroin?

CL:No, no, no, no-

BW:Finished? Prozac?

CL:No, no, no, stop!

BW:Prescription drugs?

CL:Didn't work, the prozac didn't work.

BW:Did you use heroin while you were pregnant?

CL:Yes, in the first month of my pregnancy, absolutely I did. Never
denied it. Never have denied that.

BW:Are you a good mother?

CL:Yes, I'm an excellent mother.

BW:Ever do drugs in front of your child?

CL:My God! What a question. No.

BW:Courtney, you know these are the things that people say. Some
people feel that you, in a way, have a death wish and that you're
going to end up dying long before-

CL:I think that's what the stage diving was about. Like "Alright,
kill me. Crucify me. Get me, come on. Tear my breasts off. Take
off my underwear. Little shreds. Go on, do it. Take out my hair.
Break my arms, break my teeth." I lost a tooth. You see, right here.
(points with her finger) They knocked it out. I got a cap.

BW:Is that over?

CL:Honestly? No, I don't know if it ever will be. It's always been
there.

BW:Why Courtney? Why do you have the feeling that you got to do away
with yourself?

CL:I'm a rebel and I'm pissed, I'm mad that I feel like that
Americans feel like "Well, this soap opera would be so much neater is
she was dead." So they project this onto me.

BW:Angry with you that you're still alive and he's not?

CL:Not even angry, hostility, so much as like "finish it off."

BW:Let's get rid of this story.

CL:"It's the soap opera. We've been watching `General Hospital' for
years now. You're supposed to die now." I have a daughter, and it
makes me just want to flip them the bird. It makes me angry.

BW:That people want to see you finished because it angers them-?

CL:Yhea, there's a part of me that has amazing huge guilt and anther
part of me that's like...(lights cigarette) forget it. I'm going to
be 95. So I'm torn between the two places.

BW:Courtney, your childhood reads like, um, some kind of novel that
people wouldn't believe. What was your childhood like?

CL:I don't know my father, my biological father.

BW:You don't know him personally?

CL:Not really. I mean I've had interactions with him, more like
altercations with him. He had custody taken away from him when I was
three.

BW:Why...Your father was not allowed to see you unsupervised till you
were an adult.

CL:He wasn't allowed to see me at all. Never.

BW:Why?

CL:He gave me acid when I was three.

BW:How...why?

CL:Because he wanted (laughs) you won't believe this...it's so
hysterical. Apparently he wanted...he was a Hygienics freak and I'm
biologically part Jewish, part Irish. It's no wonder I'm neurotic.
And he was antisemitic, his father was antisemitic, as was he, and he
also made acid. Three people testified that he gave me acid. He
wanted to make a superior race, and by giving children acid you could
do that. Now he denies this and...who knows.

BW:And at fifteen, at least from what I read, you began to travel
around and earn money as a stripper.

CL:Um-hum. Yhea, well, I did once. Then I have stripped erraticly
over the years. Yes, but at fifteen I went to Japan and I remember I
called my mother from Japan and I'm like "I'm in Japan and I'm
stripping." and she didn't believe me.

BW:That's hard to believe. How did you get over to Japan at fifteen
to start stripping?

CL:I had to give up my passport in order to get back after I realized
what was really going on. I turned myself in for deportation. (She
sips her tea)

BW:You're mother is an intelligent woman, a therapist today, who...
simply wasn't there for you? Yes? No?

CL:Yes, I was the first child and also the child of a man that
repulsed her.

BW:Did you feel abandoned?

CL:Yhea.

BW:To say the least?

CL:Yhea, but a lot of people get really into...The name of my band
came from a conversation I had with my mother. People always think
it's obscene. And I guess it has that on top of it. As someone who
always wanted to be a poet, there was no money in it. I've always
been looking for the quadruple entendre, you know, the barge, you
know, what Shakespeare could do. And my mother said to me "Now
Courtney, you know you can't walk around with a hole in yourself just
because you had a bad childhood." And I remember thinking "What a
brilliant name, HOLE."

BW:You talk about lyrics but...there are times on stage when you
simulate you're husband's death. To some people, that's really
terrible taste. Why do you do it?

CL:What do I do? Do I ignore it, do I acknowledge it, is there a
middle ground? What can I do? Do I sit here, play Betty Crocker,
and pretend that I don't write music, and die?

BW:So this is your way of what? Paying tribute to him by doing that
on stage?

CL:It's more catharsis. It's catharsis and there's not a thing I
could or would take back because it was for me, not for them, and yet
they get something out of it. I'm not a clown; I would never
dishonor my husband, and I don't think I have.

BW:Do you blame yourself? Cause I know that there were fans of his
that blame you.

CL:Yes, I do.

BW:What could you have done to him? (Courtney sips tea, hand
shivering) And what do you blame yourself for?

CL:About a thousand things. About a thousand million things.

BW:Could you have stopped it?

CL:Yes. (Holds back the tears in her eyes)

BW:Could you have stopped it permanently?

CL:No, but...(wipes there tears from her eyes) I could have been...
diligent. Oh, God please.

BW:Let's talk about something else.

CL:No, finish it, damn it, finish it. That's what they want to know.

BW:Okay. Why do you think your husband killed himself?

CL:He was ganged up upon. I don't think that intervention works on
certain people at a certain age.

BW:Ganged up upon by people trying to get him off the drugs?
(Courtney nods) You think he should have stayed on the drugs?
(Courtney nods again) If he stayed on the drugs would he have been
alive? Do you really think-

CL:I don't know!

BW:-that his death is your fault?

CL:In this instance, yes.

BW:Because...?

CL:Because I didn't need to call for the intervention. I shouldn't
have called for the intervention. I just panicked.

BW:Because you tried to get him off drugs and because he wasn't able
to get off drugs, even though you were trying to do the right thing,
it's your fault?

CL:He thought he was a waste of space. Yes, yes...I told him he
dropped the baby. And I was mean about it. I wasn't really mean,
but I wasn't nice about it. (She sniffs) You know, we were really
polite to each other, generally. And I told him on the phone, I'm
like "You know you dropped the baby...the other day (when he was in
rehab), you dropped the baby." He was like "What?!" I'm like "You
dropped the baby, you dropped Francies on her head." She was wearing
a big hooded coat, HE DID NOT HURT HER, and I DID NOT NEDD TO TELL
HIM THAT.

BW:And you think that's why he did it, because you said-

CL:I think that's a major reason.

BW:Oh, Courtney (sympathetically)

CL:I do, I think that's a major reason. Also he felt like a waste of
space, and a sellout, and he had made everything too huge and it was
his fault that everthing was too huge, know what I mean? I mean it
came like a mac truck. First it was magical, it was so weird. It
was surreal and magic in the air. Everybody my age remembers that
period when his band got big, and then huge, and then the grown-ups
knew, and then the boomers knew, and then, you know (points to
Barbara) I'm not putting you down or anything mean-

BW:And then I knew, someone as square as I knew. Sure.

CL:Person to person, heart to heart, whatever, age wise and lifestyle
wise we're different. And..and he was too famous.

BW:What about your own career? Does that have any meaning to you?

CL:I wouldn't be alive if I hadn't gone on tour and if I hadn't
worked.

BW:Are you good?

CL:Am I good?

BW:Yhea, critics say you're good. Critics say she's more than Mrs.
Kurt Cobain, she's good.

CL:I'm a poet. I couldn't have gotten anywhere if I wasn't good.
You know, you wouldn't be talking to me now if we actually sucked.
We don't suck and-

BW:What's the opposite of not sucking?

CL:We're really good. And that might sound arrogant and I'm sorry,
but that's just the truth.

2000

Courtney appears at the Million Mom March, in Washington D.C. on the 14th May 2000.

2002

September 21st:

~ Courtney Love appears on a special program for MTV called 24 hours of Love.

2011

November:

Courtney Love appears in Vanity Fair

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