Friday, April 2, 2004

Love and Death
Gawker has the press conference announcement. But Pop Wherry's got the full release (alright, other people probably have it too, but it doesn't seem anybody's posted it in full - though a shorter version is here). So here goes. Also: Apparently the writers will be on Dateline tonight.

Did the shot that killed Kurt Cobain come from his own hand?
Or was he murdered?
An explosive investigation, based on newly uncovered forensic evidence, reveals Cobain was murdered and that his "suicide" was a scientific impossibility!

In just three short years, Kurt Cobain went from struggling musician to rock icon. As leader of the Seattle-based grunge band Nirvana, Cobain single-handedly changed the music world with songs that masterfully blended punk, pop, and heavy metal, wrapped in some of the most profound and emotionally jarring lyrics ever written. He became the savior of thousands of Generation Xers who were desperate for someone who could articulate their particular feelings of alienation, frustration, and anger.

The Murder of Kurt Cobain
But Cobain's turbulent life came to a tragic end. On April 8, 1994, he was found dead in his suburban Seattle home from a shotgun blast to the head. Although the news of Cobain's apparent suicide shocked the world, many saw it as the inevitable final step for a rocker well known for his drug abuse and emotional instability.

LOVE AND DEATH: The Murder of Kurt Cobain (Atria Books; April 3, 2004; $25.00) by award-winning investigative journalists Max Wallace and Ian Halperin is a gripping account based on the authors' exclusive access to the explosive case tapes of Courtney Love's own former P.I., who taped all his conversations with Courtney and others in the days immediately before and after Kurt's death. The contents of those tapes are extremely damning. Wallace and Halperin also base their stunning revelations on hundreds of personal interviews with friends and acquaintances of Cobain and Love, police records from the Seattle Police Department and the State of California, and the collection of personal files of private investigator Tom Grant. In this compelling account, the authors explain why Cobain's suicide has remained shrouded in doubt in large part due to Love's seemingly deliberate and calculated distortion of the facts surrounding his final days. Delving deep into the numerous inconsistencies in Love's story and the mind-boggling contradictions of her accounts over the last decade, Wallace and Halperin present illuminating new arguments about whether or not Love had her husband murdered and why she has made it nearly impossible to get to the truth.

It is a story replete with drug dealers and addicts, suspicious family members and terrified witnesses. But in the end the authors rely only on the primary forensic, medical and legal evidence they have uncovered during their nine-year investigation, not on the accounts of a dubious cast of characters. Though no evidence exists of Love's guilt, Wallace and Halperin present a series of astonishing revelations that corroborate some of the details relied on by her own former private investigator in support of his theory that Love was somehow involved in a murder conspiracy. With fascinating insights explaining the threats, accusations, lies, and cover-ups which have pointed to Love for a decade, LOVE AND DEATH is the most explosive and comprehensive account of the enduring mysteries surrounding Cobain's death.

Some of the most compelling revelations include:
**At the time of his 1994 death, Cobain was leaving his wife and had booked two plane tickets out of Seattle for himself and a mystery woman who Courtney believed to be Kurt's new girlfriend. Already steps had been taken to remove her from his will. Because the couple had a pre-nuptial agreement, Courtney would have received little if the divorce had gone through.

**Just hours before he went missing from an LA drug rehab facility, he finalized his plans to leave Courtney, purchasing two airplane tickets out of Seattle for himself and a mystery woman, who Courtney believed to be his new girlfriend.

**Tapes of Kurt and Courtney's entertainment attorney (who was also the godmother of their daughter) expressing her belief that Kurt was murdered and that the so-called suicide note was actually a "forgery."

**A taped admission from Courtney that at the time of Kurt's March, 1994 overdose in Rome, he had left her not a suicide note, as she later claimed, but a note telling her that he was leaving her.

**Police reports obtained by the authors under the Freedom of Information Act cast a very suspicious light on Courtney's actions in the days before and after Kurt's death. They conclusively reveal that she filed two false police reports, planting evidence that Kurt was suicidal. The police reports also explode a widely-reported myth -- the false idea that Kurt had barricaded himself inside a room before shooting himself in April, 1994.

**The authors, drawing on the leaked medical examiner's autopsy report, reveal that Cobain had so much heroin in his system at the time of his death (a triple lethal dose) that he could not have possibly injected himself, rolled down his sleeves, put away the heroin kit, picked up the shotgun, positioned it backwards and shot himself in the mouth, as the official scenario claimed. According to forensic pathologists and opiate experts, he would have been unconscious within seconds of injecting this dose, no matter what his tolerance level.

**All of the evidence points instead to a murder staged to look like a suicide. According to FBI and homicide experts, staged suicides are very common and surprisingly easy to get away with, especially in deaths involving junkies. The authors interview a coroner who believes that somebody gave Cobain an overly pure dose of heroin, waited for him to lose consciousness and then positioned the shotgun so that it appeared Cobain pulled the trigger.

**The absence of any legible fingerprints on the shotgun would appear to back up this theory, indicating that somebody wiped the prints off the gun.

**These and many other discrepancies were never investigated by the police and medical examiner who concluded it was an "open and shut case of suicide" while still at the scene.

**The authors paint a scenario that can only lead to one conclusion: Kurt Cobain was murdered.

**In the book, Cobain's grandfather Leland Cobain goes public for the first time charging that his grandson was murdered.

**He joins a myriad of other voices who now question the suicide verdict and believe Cobain was the victim of foul play, including Courtney Love's own father and her former private investigator, Tom Grant, the man she hired to find Cobain when he went missing from a Los Angeles drug rehab clinic four days before his death.

**The authors call for the case to be reopened so that the many discrepancies can be independently investigated by an outside law enforcement agency for the first time.

**They do not point the finger at Courtney Love, but reveal a lot of damning evidence about her conduct during the months immediately preceding Cobain's death.

LOVE AND DEATH raises serious questions about Love's knowledge of the facts of her husband's death and, as Wallace and Halperin argue, the evidence that does exist at least warrants a reopening of the case. "As the tenth anniversary of Kurt's death approaches, the doubts over how he died show no signs of receding," the authors write. "If anything they are stronger than ever. The sheer volume of people who believe Courtney had her husband killed does not make it true. Perhaps she is simply the victim of several unfortunate coincidences. Yet only one person has the power to clear her name, and that person is Courtney Love."


Max Wallace is an award-winning investigative journalist, social historian, and documentary filmmaker and is a former winner of the Rolling Stone Magazine Award for Investigative Journalism. He is former Station Manager of North America's oldest alternative radio station, CKCU-FM. His last book was The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of the Third Reich.

Wallace has appeared as a guest columnist for the Sunday New York Times and written for the Toronto Globe and Mail, contributed to the BBC and appeared on the Today Show, CNN, Maury Povich, and Howard Stern. He was a consultant for Nick Broomfield's BBC documentary, Kurt & Courtney. He is also an award-winning documentary film-maker who was nominated for a Gemini Award (Canada's equivalent of an Emmy) for his first film, Too Colorful For the League (CBC TV, PBS).

Ian Halperin is an award-winning investigative journalist, author of five books, and a former winner of the Rolling Stone Magazine Award for Investigative Journalism. He is also a frequent correspondent for Court TV. Halperin has appeared on Howard Stern, Sally Jesse Raphael, The Maury Povich Show, and MSNBC's Headliners and Legends with Matt Lauer. He was also a consultant for Nick Broomfield's BBC documentary, Kurt & Courtney. His last book was the bestselling undercover exposé of the fashion industry, Bad and Beautiful.

LOVE AND DEATH: The Murder of Kurt Cobain
By Max Wallace and Ian Halperin
Atria Books Hardcover Original
Publication Date: April 3, 2004
Price: $25.00
ISBN: 0-7434-8483-5

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