Kurt Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington declared Thursday, February 20th “Kurt Cobain Day” yesterday. But the tribute festivities turned awkward with the unveiling of a bizarre Crying Cobain statue (with its solitary tear) in the town’s museum. Needless to say, Nirvana fans have reacted with a mixture of shock, confusion and uncontrollable giggling.
A report on Seattle’s KOMO News said that sculptor Randi Hubbard began work on the sculpture shortly after Cobain’s death in 1994. The statue sat in her auto shop – Hubb’s Muffler Shop, which Cobain’s grandfather reportedly visited frequently to watch its construction – for the past two decades. Art students from around the area helped her finish it along the way. Hubbard offered it to the city at one point, but city officials refused it, with the sculpture’s eventual acceptance into the Aberdeen Museum of History. The report said that nearly 5,000 people visit the museum each year and that museum personnel expect that number to double with the addition of the statue.
Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson told USA Today, “We have been remiss for a long time of not honoring him.” He also said that he wanted Kurt Cobain Day, which was a controversial decision because of Cobain’s expressed disdain for the town and arrest for vandalism there, to boost tourism in Aberdeen. “We hope this is just as big as Graceland eventually,” he said.
Kurt Cobain Day also featured a 30-minute set by local rock band Gebular, along with appearances from Aaron Burckhard (the very, very early drummer for Nirvana during their formative stages) and Warren Mason, a guitar teacher from Cobain’s youth. That whole experience seems a bit underwhelming, and that’s before mentioning the local news coverage from network King 5, who (as Stereogum notes) essentially mocked the entire tribute and made tasteless jabs at Cobain himself. Reporter Dennis Bounds referred to the rock legend as “the well-known heroin addict who shot himself 20 years ago” and also made the astute observation that Cobain was “not exactly George Washington.” Excellent insight, indeed.
This generally depressing tribute also has some competition: The city of Hoquiam, Washington (where Cobain also briefly lived) recently announced that April 10th would be known as their “Kurt Cobain Day.” On that very day, Nirvana will join the elite ranks of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with other Class of 2014 inductees Hall and Oates, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt.