Check Out The Full File of Kurt Cobain - FBI releases
|What Was in the FBI’s Kurt Cobain File|
The FBI has made a number of its records related to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain public. Rolling Stone offers an analysis of what’s in the files — and explores what it can tell us about the aftermath of Cobain’s 1994 death.
A mere 10 pages, the file is slim but intriguing. The centerpieces are two letters, sent from names that have been redacted, urging the Bureau to investigate Cobain’s 1994 death as a murder, rather than suicide.
What Was in the FBI’s Kurt Cobain File?
Rolling Stone notes that the most pressing parts of the file are letters calling for an investigation of Cobain’s death as a murder. Browne writes that one letter cites the documentary Kurt & Courtney to bolster its argument. The FBI opted to pass on these requests, noting that such an investigation was a matter for local law enforcement.
The file released by the FBI contains correspondence with two unnamed individuals asking for a Bureau-led investigation into Cobain's death. “Millions of fans around the world would like to see the inconsistencies surrounding his death cleared up once and for all,” reads one letter sent in 2003. Another from 2007 claims that authorities "were never very serious in investigating it as a murder but from the beginning insisted on it being a suicide.”
The FBI's responses to these letters were similar. "Most homicide investigations generally fall within the jurisdiction of state or local authorities,” the letters read, adding: “In order for the FBI to initiate an investigation of any complaint we receive, specific facts must be present to indicate that a violation of federal law within our investigative jurisdiction has occurred.”
The file also contains a fax sent to the FBI by Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, the company behind the crime TV series Unsolved Mysteries. The fax is a summary of different conspiracies around Cobain's death, and cites the investigation of Tom Grant, a Los Angeles private investigator. "[Grant] has found a number of inconsistencies, including questions about the alleged suicide note,” the fax reads. In a statement to Rolling Stone CMP's co-founder Terry Meurer called the fax "a typical communication" between the company and the FBI.
*Check out the FBI’s full Kurt Cobain file here.
The entire file totals 10 pages Kurt Cobain File
The entire file totals 10 pages — a relatively small number compared with the FBI’s file on Jimi Hendrix, and a figure exponentially smaller than the FBI’s John Lennon files. Regardless, leafing through it can bring back memories of a sad time in music history and can also venture into Nirvana’s continuing musical impact.
“Millions of fans around the world would like to see the inconsistencies surrounding his death cleared up once and for all,” reads one, typed-out, from September 2003. That letter also cites director Nick Broomfield’s Kurt & Courtney doc as an example of similar skepticism.
The other letter, also from a blocked author but written by hand, dates from 2007. “The police who took up the case were never very serious in investigating it as a murder but from the beginning insisted on it being a suicide,” it reads in part. “This bothers me the most because his killer is still out there. …” The writer also cites so-called evidence (“there were no prints on the gun he supposedly shot himself with”) and claims that, in Cobain’s note, “he mentioned nothing about wanting to die except for the part of it that was in another handwriting and appeared to be added at the end.”
The FBI’s responses to the letters, sent from different officials at the Bureau but nearly identical in wording, are also contained in the file. “We appreciate your concern that Mr. Cobain may have been the victim of a homicide,” each reads. “However, most homicide investigations generally fall within the jurisdiction of state or local authorities.” The replies go on to say that “specific facts” about “a violation of federal law” would have to be presented for the Bureau to pursue, but based on these letters, “we are unable to identify any violation of federal law within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI.” With that, the Bureau said it would be passing on pursuing any investigation.
As of press time, the FBI did not respond to a Rolling Stone query about the timing of the publication. But with the release of the file, Cobain joins a curious list of musicians who have been the subject of FBI surveillance or investigations.
The Cobain file may not be as salacious, but it’s a reminder that the FBI’s interest in collecting files on musicians didn’t stop during the classic-rock era: The Man had his alternative side, too.
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