A letter Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain wrote to his fans about his addiction to heroin is among the never-before-seen diary entries to be published Nov. 4 by Riverhead Books as “Journals.” Excerpts from the volume, which reproduces more than 270 pages from Cobain’s notebooks, appear in this week’s Newsweek.
In the 1992 letter, written in the aftermath of a stint in drug rehab (and excerpted here with typographical errors intact), Cobain described the “uncomfortable stomach condition” that had been plaguing him for years and how doctors were unable to pinpoint its cause.
“So after protein drinks, becoming a vegetarian, exercise, stopping smoking, and doctor after doctor I decided to relieve my pain with small doses of heroine for a walloping 3 whole weeks,” he wrote. “It served as a band-aid for a while but then the pain came back so I quit. It was a stupid thing to do and Ill never do it again and I feel real sorry for anyone who thinks they can use heroine as a medicine because um, duh, it don’t work.”
Cobain was never able to permanently wean himself off heroin; large doses of the drug were found in his system following his April 1994 suicide.
The letter also reflects Cobain’s love/hate relationship with his celebrity status, which had reached its zenith by mid-1992. “I’m really bored with everyones concerned advice like: ‘man you have a really good thing going. Your band is great. You write great songs, but hey man you should get your personal s*** together,'” he wrote. “‘Don’t freak out, and get healthy.’ Gee I wish it was as easy as that but, honestly I didn’t want all this attention but Im not freaked out which is something a lot of people would like to see. Its an entertaining thought to watch a rock figure whos public domain mentally self destruct. But I’m sorry friends Ill have to decline.”
He ends the letter by writing, “Hope I die before I turn into Pete Townshend,” in a nod to the Who’s “My Generation.” Cobain’s suicide note included the line “it’s better to burn out than to fade away,” from Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).”
As previously reported, Cobain’s widow Courtney Love recently settled long-standing legal issues with surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, paving the way for the Nov. 12 release of the Universal Music Group best-of, “Nirvana.” The set is highlighted by the previously unreleased track “You Know You’re Right,” which rocketed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart last week. A video comprised of archival Nirvana concert clips is now airing on MTV and VH1.