The last few months of Kurt Cobain’s life were a disaster.
Outside of the tour cycle for In Utero, Cobain was addicted to heroin and starting a downward spiral of depression that would lead to him taking his life. While the rest of the band was at arm’s length, Pat Smear saw everything up close.
During the Foo Fighters documentary Back and Forth, Smear remembered one of the final moments with Kurt when he overdosed on pills in Paris. Since Pat was traveling in the same bus, he was conflicted about letting the hospital know who he was saying,
“I’m like, should I say ‘This is Kurt Cobain. Take him in right now VIP.’ Or should I be like ‘This is just some guy. Don’t call the press.’ I finally went with ‘This is Kurt Cobain. VIP, do something about it.”
Once Cobain recovered and was sent off to rehab though, Smear remembered getting a haunting message on his answering machine. Since he wasn’t home at the time, Smear didn’t get to hear what Cobain said until it was too late, having already been found dead in his Seattle home.
Smear had talked about the incident still haunting him saying,
“I had a message on my phone from Kurt but I wasn’t there for him so whatever problems he was having at the time, I couldn’t help him. When Kurt died, it felt like part of myself died with him and I quit the music business.”
It didn’t take long for Pat to get back on his feet though. After Dave Grohl sent him a demo tape of the first Foo Fighters record, he was ecstatic saying,
“Dave sent me a demo of music and I listened to that whole tape from front to end and then went up to jam with them.”
It’s never easy to face one of your friends dying, but Smear found his way back from the edge through music.