Today marks 20 years since Kurt Cobain passed away, and 12 years since Layne Staley passed. Both were major figures in the grunge scene, being the frontmen of Nirvana and Alice in Chains, respectively. Both Cobain and Staley battled against serious drug addictions that were no secret to the public.
Layne Staley is most famous for his work with the band Alice in Chains, who became one of the biggest selling acts of the 90’s, and sold over 25 million albums worldwide, the most famous album being Dirt (1992).
Staley battled with depression and drug addiction throughout most of his career, which would eventually lead to his demise. On April 19 2002, after reports that he had not been seen or heard from in two weeks, police visited his apartment. Reports on the remains of the 34-year-old musician note that he probably died on April 5 of a drug overdose. The body was found near two crack pipes, a small pile of cocaine, and heroin paraphernalia.
It’s now 12 years later, and Staley’s music is still as relevant as ever. The soul and passion he showed using just his voice is incredible, even now, which is something that is clear in their unplugged show. For anyone who knows me, you know that I’m a massive MTV Unplugged fan, and this is a great example of why. So much passion, so many emotion, and such FEELS come from listening and watching. You almost get the hint that Staley is suffering, from just the look on his face, and the emotion in the words he sings.
Kurt Cobain is famed for being the troubled and shy front man for Nirvana, the “King of Grunge”, and for writing one of the biggest rock anthems – Smells Like Teen Spirit. Cobain was found dead in his home on April 8 1994 from a shotgun wound to the head and a large amount of heroin in his blood. There is a lot of controversy surrounding his death – was it suicide, or murder? It’s not secret that Cobain suffered from depression and instability, even before he became famous; the fame only brought an easier access to drugs – it’s been said that he suffered from agonizing stomach ulcers, and used heroin to help cope with the pain. Tom Grant, a private investigator hired by wife Courtney Love, has mentioned how he believes that Cobain would have been too high on heroin to be able to pull the trigger.
Nirvana songs are lyrically dark and endlessly fascinating. For me, I find that there’s a lot of ambiguity over what the songs could mean, but a lot of the time it’s really dark, and there’s usually a drug reference hidden away in there. Nirvana are one of my favourite bands, and have been for years now. The sincerity and feeling in the songs are almost too much to handle, and it doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, it’s always a good time to listen to Nirvana. The live shows especially look full of so much energy. The sloppiness in the playing makes it so much more authentic, and makes each performance unique. They played such amazing shows, and it’s actually depressing how I’ll never be able to see them live. I guess I’ll just have to make do with my Live at Reading DVD…
The world lost two legends on the same day; I just thank them both so much for everything they left behind.
RIP Kurt Cobain.
RIP Layne Staley.
Rock in peace.