I felt like I had written a pretty good review of Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain documentary, Montage Of Heck. I come to hate most of my writing about 6 hours after I publish it, but I found myself inspired by what I ostensibly realized to be a raw and honest portrayal of a figure that had been confusing, and who had been placed into the kind of pop-culture display case that too often obscures the truth, the reality, the real person behind the icon. And I fortunately found the words to express all of that well.
But it’s probably all bullshit, and it would be irresponsible of me to not acknowledge it. It frustrates me to know I may have been taken for a bit of a ride, but it would frustrate me more to think that anyone might read that review and then not read this, and wind up with an even-more warped view of who Cobain was, exactly the usually inevitable destiny I applauded the movie for averting.
I read this piece by Buzz Osborne of The Melvins over on The Talkhouse this morning, where he reminds us that he was there at the beginning, and there at the end, and that Kurt was “a master of jerking your chain.”
For instance, I know the whole “I tried to fuck a fat retard” story is complete bullshit. Not even an inkling of truth. That’s too good a story to have gone this long without me hearing about it, especially if, as he suggests, the girl’s father freaked out about it at the high school. In that small-town shit-hole, exciting news of that nature would have been common knowledge before the sun set. It never happened. And the trying-to-kill-himself-on-the-train-tracks story is bullshit as well. It never happened either. There it is, though, told in a recording of Kurt’s own voice so it must be true… right? Wrong.
Kurt also told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with his stomach. He made it up for sympathy and so he could use it as an excuse to stay loaded. Of course he was vomiting — that’s what people on heroin do, they vomit. It’s called “vomiting with a smile on your face.”
He also has a bit to say about Courtney’s representation:
And then there’s Courtney.
A lot of what she says in this documentary doesn’t exactly jibe with things Kurt told me himself, but I suppose that’s not surprising when you consider history becomes elastic every time Courtney Love opens her mouth.
For instance, she’d have us believe that Kurt tried to off himself when she’d only thought about cheating on him?
Wow. That’s a whole lot different from the stories he told me in regards to Courtney’s behavior — and this was well before he ended up dead. And that’s just one example.
There’s a bit more, and some positive comments as well. I’m not sure why Buzz wasn’t in the movie. I can’t help but think it would have been so much better of a film if it had laid out Kurt as it does, and then throw a Tyler Durden-esque monkeywrench into the picture, with a rogue like Buzz calling it all into question, essentially giving you the full Kurt Cobain experience, flipping it upside-down and leaving you to use your own critical skills to figure out how much of what you just saw was real and how much was made up.
Regardless, Buzz’ piece is a good read overall. I sincerely hope it gets more views than my own review, because my original points still stand: It’s important to know the truth, not just in the general sense, but especially when it comes to the ridiculous standards and mythology we associate with our creative role models.