Arrow-right Camera


Kurt Cobain Too Popular For Cemeteries Fearing Rush Of Rowdy Fans, Graveyard Rejects Singer’s Ashes

Tue., July 4, 1995

Finding a final resting place for the ashes of rock star Kurt Cobain of Nirvana has proved harder than his widow, Courtney Love, expected.

Love, lead singer of the rock band Hole, said she was rejected at Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill because of security concerns.

At Calvary Catholic Cemetery, she couldn’t meet a demand for a $75,000 tombstone and $100,000 a year for security

“I don’t have that kind of money, and Kurt didn’t have that kind of money,” she said Sunday.

Cobain, who made millions off his success with Nirvana, committed suicide in April 1994 at the couple’s mansion near Lake Washington.

Last winter, Love approached Lake View, where martial-arts movie star Bruce Lee, his son, Brandon, and members of many of the city’s pioneer families are buried.

The answer was no.

“Their reason was that they already had their hands full with Bruce Lee and Brandon being buried there, and they couldn’t take on another celebrity,” said Dean Mathiesen, Love’s personal assistant.

Earlier this year Love arranged to purchase a grave site at Calvary.

“We had chosen a really nice tombstone, a really nice setup in a new area that had just opened up, and we would be at the top,” Mathiesen said.

“They were going to put a garden in around it. They helped us create this elaborate, beautiful monument, but when it came down to it, the monument was like $50,000 to $75,000. Courtney didn’t want to do it.”

Love had envisioned a simpler tombstone costing about $20,000.

But in early June, she said, Associated Catholic Cemeteries, representing Calvary, faxed her a sketch of its proposal for a lavish memorial featuring a 4-foot-high angel with a 6-foot wingspan.

“It was so tacky,” Love said. “It had Kurt’s face on it.”

Last week, attorney Patrick Crowley, representing the cemetery, sent her a letter threatening to cancel the original purchase agreement if Love did not agree to pay at least $100,000 a year to cover the estimated costs of security, maintenance and repair for the memorial.

John McCoy, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, said in a telephone interview that accepting Cobain’s ashes would “present the cemetery with some security and crowd-control problems.”

“We want to preserve the sacred quality of the cemetery as a place for solace and prayer and meditation,” McCoy said. “It’s not a gathering ground for rock performances. They can’t show up in numbers we can’t accommodate.”

For centuries the church’s hallowed grounds were off-limits to burial of those who committed suicide, but that restriction has been lifted in recent years and was not an issue at Calvary, he added Monday.

Crowley declined to comment Sunday night, but in his letter to Love, he said she had misrepresented her reason for wishing to bury Cobain’s ashes at Calvary.

“It has recently come to our attention that the real reason for making the purchase was that other cemeteries had refused to sell burial space,” Crowley said in the letter.

“It does not appear that the Catholic character of the cemetery had anything to do with the selection.”

Love said she had approached only two cemeteries, Lake View and Calvary.

Love and her assistant said they will keep looking for a suitable site for Cobain’s ashes.

Tags: burial, bury

Click here to comment on this story »