Courtney Love Recalls Story Behind Kurt Cobain's Infamous Hospital Robe

Photo of Kurt COBAIN and NIRVANA

Photo: Redferns

Nirvana's 1992 Reading Festival performance is probably their most infamous. Kurt Cobain got rolled out onstage in a hospital robe, pretending like he was dead, and ended up performing the whole set in it. During a new interview with BBC Radio 6, Courtney Love divulged that the bloodied garment was actually the same gown she wore when she delivered their daughter Frances Bean Cobain, who was born just 12 days before the festival.

“I just had Frances. I was in one of the robes, you know, with your butt showing, and I had to run to the other hospital—it’s Cedars-Sinai, it’s in Beverly Hills, its many buildings. But at this point it was like a condo we, like, lived there. I grabbed [Kurt], dragged him back in this robe. And I’ve got, you know, things coming out of me on the robe," Love recalled. "He played Reading in that robe. They roll him out like there’s this thing like, ‘Kurt’s dead’, this whole thing. They roll him out and he’s wearing my bloody placenta robe."

Sadly, less than two years later Kurt did pass away. Earlier this month, Frances shared an emotional tribute to her dad on the 30th anniversary of his death.

"30 years ago my dad’s life ended," she wrote. "The 2nd & 3rd photo capture the last time we were together while he was still alive. His mom Wendy would often press my hands to her cheeks & say, with a lulling sadness, 'you have his hands.' She would breathe them in as if it were her only chance to hold him just a little bit closer, frozen in time. I hope she’s holding his hands wherever they are."

"In the last 30 years my ideas around loss have been in a continuous state of metamorphosing," she continued. "The biggest lesson learned through grieving for almost as long as I’ve been conscious, is that it serves a purpose. The duality of life & death, pain & joy, yin & yang, need to exist along side each other or none of this would have any meaning. It is the impermanent nature of human existence which throws us into the depths of our most authentic lives. As It turns out, there is no greater motivation for leaning into loving awareness than knowing everything ends."

"I wish I could’ve known my Dad," Frances lamented. "I wish I knew the cadence of his voice, how he liked his coffee or the way it felt to be tucked in after a bedtime story. I always wondered if he would’ve caught tadpoles with me during the muggy Washington summers, or if he smelled of Camel Lights & strawberry nesquik (his favorites, I’ve been told). But there is also deep wisdom being on an expedited path to understanding how precious life is. He gifted me a lesson in death that can only come through the LIVED experience of losing someone. It’s the gift of knowing for certain, when we love ourselves & those around us with compassion, with openness, with grace, the more meaningful our time here inherently becomes."

"Kurt wrote me a letter before I was born," she shared. "The last line of it reads, 'wherever you go or wherever I go, I will always be with you.' He kept this promise because he is present in so many ways. Whether it’s by hearing a song or through the hands we share, in those moments I get to spend a little time with my dad & he feels transcendent."

"To anyone who has wondered what it would’ve looked like to live along side the people they have lost, I’m holding you in my thoughts today," Frances concluded her message. "The meaning of our grief is the same."

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