R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe says he tried in vain to help Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain during his struggle with heroin addiction only to be rebuffed by the tragic star who took his own life in 1994.
Stipe says he grew close to Cobain, his wife Courtney Love and their young daughter and even attempted to convince him to work with R.E.M. on a collaboration he admits was just an attempt to help his friend.
In an interview wiith Interview magazine Stipe said:
“I knew him and his daughter. And Courtney came and stayed at my house. R.E.M. worked on two records in Seattle and Peter Buck lived next door to Kurt and Courtney. So we all knew each other. I reached out to him with that project as an attempt to prevent what was going to happen. I was doing that to try to save his life. The collaboration was me calling up as an excuse to reach out to this guy. He was in a really bad place.”
Cobain initially agreed to the collaboration but when the time came was unreachable and Stipe was reluctant to continue pursuing the matter further. “I sent him a plane ticket and a driver, and he tacked the plane ticket to the wall in the bedroom and the driver sat outside the house for ten hours. Kurt wouldn’t come out and wouldn’t answer the phone. I didn’t feel like it was my place to get on a plane myself and go to Seattle. I was doing what I thought was the best thing to do at the time. And, you know, frankly I’m not great with heroin addicts. I tried heroin, but it was by accident. I’m not great with that level of substance abuse.”
And Stipe admits that he finds it difficult to listen to Nirvana’s music now as he feels Cobain had so much more to give:
“He had reached a point where he was about to push through to something that was so phenomenal and so beautiful,”
It was all written, it was all right there and it was so obvious where he was going, and then he didn’t make it. I still have trouble—I can’t listen to an entire Nirvana record.”
We can only wonder if the collaboration had taken place if Cobain would still be with us today.