Soaked in memoria.
Was Kurt Cobain as depressed a clod as he made himself out to be? SOAKED IN BLEACH, a documentary investigating the apparent suicide of Nirvana’s driving force and the haphazard way the authorities handled the case, tells us he was not. In fact, compelling evidence from a private investigator points to Cobain’s death being a meticulously planned murder! By his wife, Courtney Love!
So many years after the fact, do I even care? Well, not on any emotional level; maybe on an academic level. I confess that in 1994, when I heard the news of Cobain’s “suicide,” I celebrated. The grunge movement his band spearheaded had destroyed the rock and roll scene, and every emerging rock artist was turning into a flannelette faux-lesbian like Eddie Vedder.
Only years later would I grow to appreciate Nirvana, Pearl Jam and their ilk, for the progressive hard rock bands they really were, and realize that grunge was just a semantics marketing tool. Yes, sorry young angst-ridden rebels: you tore a hole in your sweater as a fashion statement for nothing.
SOAKED IN BLEACH (from lyrics in Nirvana’s Come As You Are) focuses heavily on testimony from private investigator (and ex-LA County detective) Tom Grant, with corroboration from forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht (a critic of the Warren Commission’s findings in the JFK assassination), then-Chief of Police Norm Stamper, journalist Max Wallace, Love’s entertainment attorney Rosemary Carroll and others.
The pile of evidence seems so damning because the people who were meant to be on Courtney Love’s side were the very people who discerned cracks in her alibi, who could not ethically remain silent while so many red flags kept popping up due to Courtney herself – oh, drug-addled, covetous, talentless bimbo Courtney. It was she who hired Tom Grant to find Cobain when he “went missing” in April 1994.
From Grant’s account, Courtney’s plan was to maneuver him into finding Cobain’s body at Cobain’s Seattle home; when Tom missed that cue, Courtney resorted to a hastily-cobbled Plan B, which reeked of suspicion. When Cobain’s body was eventually discovered – with a shotgun in his dead hands – so much protocol was ignored and so many shortcuts taken to dispose of the body before proper investigation, that it screamed foul play. Or at least apathy where there should have been legal professionalism.
Everything – from the doors being barricaded to the position of the spent shotgun shell – is questioned by Tom Grant. And everything – from the startling amount of heroin Cobain had in his system to the suicide note, to the fact that the room described as a pigsty was so unusually clean – is debunked. The doors were not barricaded, the expelled shell is on the opposite side of the exit chamber, the injected heroin would have nullified Cobain before he had a chance to suicide, the suicide note is forged… Nothing is as it should be. Nothing makes sense. The official reports perfunctorily dismissed it as suicide and thence discontinue investigations into any discrepancies.
Though public perception of Cobain was that of a suicidal loner (not least due to his downer lyrics and heroin addiction), it would seem Courtney was the only person perpetuating that fiction during his final days. Because Cobain was apparently happy with his newfound health, his daughter (with Courtney, Frances Bean), his band, and his life, “I’m a much happier person than most people think I am.”
We cannot leave this documentary without believing that Courtney Love – as addled and ignorant as she is – pulled an O.J. Simpson on us! She got away with murder!—
Debut director Benjamin Statler bases this doc heavily on Tom Grant’s testimony, corroborated though it is (through his assistant and talking head officials), all given, by the way, sitting in a room with a backdrop of rain storm-pelting the windows behind him to affect a feeling of doom and gloom. Grant is unequivocally the star of this show. As with any contentious incident, don’t take ANYONE’S word on faith alone.
He tells us he was 47 in 1994; we also learn from independent research that he never made any money on that case; we calculate Grant is around 70 now and trying to feather his autumn nest. What’s his motivation for coming forward now? Who instigated this doc anyway, two decades after the fact?
Remember who we’re dealing with here: junkies. Courtney is portrayed as an airhead who can’t keep her story straight. She is. We know this woman from years of public appearances. She doesn’t hide the fact she’s a trollop and an incognizant cunt. And it is implied that other people were involved in the Cobain coverup. Her motivation – and that of her accomplices – was to inherit Cobain’s considerable fortune before he filed for divorce, which he was aiming to do. With a pre-nup in place (surprising, considering these junkies took the time to even prepare one!), Courtney would not be entitled to any money were Kurt to divorce her. He had to die for her to get rich.
I’m taking it for granted you have dealt with junkies in your life, so I ask you: can you imagine not one of them blabbing about the Cobain murder coverup after all these years? These people are scum of the Earth (I don’t say that lightly or as an outsider; I say that after having to work with many of them in a professional capacity in the music business, none of them reliable or trustworthy or worthwhile); they’re whores for their candy, they’re riddled with insecurities and cowardice and weakness. And after two decades, not one of Kurt’s or Courtney’s hangers-on has come forward to confess, in the hopes of getting a book deal or a sitcom, or just enough infamy to continue scoring skag? So as much as Grant’s testimony rings true, this one aspect does cast doubt over any murder conspiracy.
SOAKED IN BLEACH is structured like a documentary with Grant as its main talking head, interspersed with reenactments. Reenactments bother me, because they turn fiction into fact, speculation into reality; reenactments dump words and actions onto characters and make contentions seem like truths. This doc tries to alleviate those sins by having the actual person’s recorded words underscore the actor’s words (in overlapping audio).
We see all the main players in archive footage, including Kurt Cobain, but actors (or “reenactors”) take up most of the screentime: Daniel Roebuck as Grant, Sarah Scott as Courtney and Tyler Bryan as Cobain, who mainly has to lie there and look rigor mortis.
Courtney Love did not participate in this documentary. She said it was “on the grounds that it may insimmerate me– uh no, on the grounds that it may incinerate– on the grounds that it may inseminate– on the grounds that it may, uh, that it may– aw, shut the fuck up and gimme that crack pipe…”