Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Grunge's Copycat Carnage






Almost a week ago, on May 18, 2017, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden died by hanging himself. If previous patterns persist there may be a copycat suicide, following the same method, which may occur on Thursday or Friday, May 25 or 26, 2017. It has happened before, although most people do not realize such a cycle exists.

I will share some notion of this mostly little researched history.

There are four major parts of this essay:

(1) Cobain Copycats
(2) Graphically Grunge, and
(3) Death and Dying and Grunge, and
(4) Death Data by Dates.

In my book The Copycat Effect, I devoted Chapter 13 to...

"Cobain Copycats"

That behavior contagion existed in the aftermath of Kurt Cobain's suicide was not a foregone conclusion in 1994. The lack of awareness and blindness of certain government agencies was linked to the media's avoidance of discussing copycats. A systematic revealing of the fact that several suicides versus one such incident were tied to Cobain's self-death was a theme of my 2004 chapter. Here are some excerpts:

...The medical examiner believes [Kurt] Cobain killed himself on April 5, 1994. But Cobain’s “death day” has always been “celebrated” three days later, on April 8, 1994, when Cobain's body was found by an electrician visiting the house to install a security system.
...
At 10:15 am, the Seattle police arrived and found the greenhouse locked. Finally, a firefighter smashed in a window, allowing the police in, and they discovered the rock star dead on the floor, a Remington 20-gague still pointed at his chin. Nearby, they found a red-inked suicide note, addressed to Love, and Cobain’s and Love’s then 19-month-old daughter, Frances Bean. It ended with the words “I love you, I love you.”
By 11 am, the media had surrounded the house, and the three King County coroners quickly told the press that Kurt Cobain had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. News of the Cobain suicide instantly spread around the world via such outlets as CNN and MTV News. Cobain was just 27, and joined an eerie exclusive club of other rock stars who died when they were just 27 years old (e.g. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison).

Cobain had an enormous fan base. Two days after Kurt Cobain's body was found, approximately 5,000 people gathered in the little park near the Seattle Space Needle, for a memorial candlelight vigil. It would turn into a mild disturbance as distraught fans yelled profane chants, burnt their flannel shirts (a symbol of the grunge movement), and fought with police. Although Courtney Love promised to appear, she only sent a tape in which she read from Cobain’s suicide note, as she interjected curses to him. For example, Cobain had used a line from the song “My My, Hey Hey” (noted by some, as “Hey Hey, My My”) by rockers Neil Young and Jeff Blackburn, to end his suicide note: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” Love introduced the line by saying: “And don’t remember this, ‘cause it’s a fuckin’ lie!” Then she decided to frame it after she read the note with her editorial: “God, you asshole!” Courtney’s anger was apparent throughout her curses on the tape. The crowd was stirred up.
Only One Cobain Copycat?
Attending the Seattle gathering on April 10, 1994, were several very upset followers of Kurt Cobain. According to the literature on the Cobain suicide, only one person in that crowd would kill himself in imitation of Kurt Cobain. Within hours of the candlelight vigil, 28-year-old Daniel Kasper returned to his Maple Valley, Washington, residence and used a gun to end his life. Authors Halperin and Wallace noted that neighbors said Kasper was despondent over the death of Cobain.
The standard suicide prevention books and journal articles believe that among all the supposed copycats that have followed a well-publicized celebrity suicide, what followed the 1994 suicide of grunge band leader Kurt Cobain is a story of successful deterrence. The myth of “no Cobain copycats” goes deep in American culture and is nicely summarized by routine governmental stamps of approval of this piece of folklore.

In 1999, Surgeon General David Satcher called for greater suicide awareness and intervention in the United States, and a national strategy to improve suicide prevention was launched in 2001. The federal publication US Medicine detailed the recommendations, noting studies conducted during the last 30 years showed that there is an increase in suicide by readers or viewers of media programs when the number of stories about individual suicides increases. This administration periodical then went on to note the one existing exception to this rule. US Medicine published that Madelyn Gould, professor of psychiatry and public health at Columbia University, had noted that after the celebrity suicide of Kurt Cobain “there was no increase in suicide because of a combination of sensible reporting and a strong anti-suicide message from his wife, Courtney Love.”
In November 1996, the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior began the drumbeat that still continues today. "We were truly shocked by what didn't happen," wrote David A. Jobes in an article on the impact of Cobain's suicide on impressionable, young Nirvana fans after researchers found only a small number of copycat suicides modeled on Cobain's. Jobes, a Catholic University psychology professor in Washington, D.C., and the study's chief author, was at a conference of suicide prevention specialists when Cobain's body was discovered at the Nirvana singer's home on April 8, 1994.

"We just looked at each other and said, 'This is going to be a disaster.' We were convinced," Jobes told AP reporter Tim Klass.

As Jobe informed the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families’ Hearing on Teen and Young Adult Suicide on September 7, 2001: “Along with colleagues at the Center for Disease Control, I was part of an effort to fax media guidelines and other suicide prevention information to the Seattle Mayor's office and to other community leaders in King County Washington. Bottom line, the coordinated leadership of the Seattle/King County community orchestrated a thoughtful and measured response to this crisis and along with a great deal of responsible journalism the copycat suicide crisis that we all anticipated never actually happened. In research that we conducted in King County there was no discernable increase in completed suicides after Cobain's death. However, crisis calls to Seattle's suicide hotline reached record levels following the death. From a scientific standpoint we cannot interpret a direct causal relationship between the community-based interventions that were used in Seattle and the absence of an outbreak of suicides in this community. But the promise of the Seattle example is the intuitive virtue of a community-based suicide prevention response that coordinates roles played by federal agencies, state and local governments, suicide prevention experts, journalists, and community-based crisis center services.”
In the four weeks following Cobain's death, 18 suicides were recorded in Seattle and the rest of King County, including the grunge megastar and an obvious and acknowledged one copycat, the 28-year-old Daniel Kasper. Or so we were lead to believe.
David P. Phillips, a leading expert on suicide, cautioned that more research should have been done to determine whether Jobes’ finding held on a nation-wide basis. Phillips believed that the local sample was too small to yield meaningful results. “I would say [Jobe’s study is] inconclusive, and it will remain inconclusive until the same study can be done on a national or at least a larger scale,” Phillips told reporter Klass in 1996. Jobes countered that he lacked the resources for a nationwide study but suggested that if any place had experienced a sizable ripple effect it would have been Seattle, where grunge music originated and Nirvana had its strongest following.

As recently as 2003, when professor of sociology Steven Stack won the famed suicide prevention Dublin Award for his paper, "Suicide: Media Effects, a Meta Analysis," the study contained only Jobes’ conclusion that no copycats followed publicity from Cobain’s suicide. But in a private correspondence with me on this subject, Stack wrote that as far as he knows, “the impact of Cobain's suicide has never been fully tested, as far as I know, nationwide in any rigorous statistical sense.”
What I have found, instead, in my years of researching the issue of the Cobain copycats is that the Kurt Cobain suicide did have an impact on suicides, but these were mostly outside of the Seattle area. In Australia, Canada, and France, suicides related to Cobain's death are detailed in the popular literature; there are perhaps 70 copycat suicides directly linked to Cobain, and the list continues to grow.
The suicide prevention community seems unaware of this. The Cobain events are seen as a "success story" in which "negative reactions” and “faxed flyers” are promoted as the "reason" for the low Seattle suicide copycats. Perhaps the local interventions did work. But that doesn’t seem to be the whole story. Looked at on a worldwide basis, the Cobain celebrity suicide did what other celebrity suicides have done before--created copycats.
How extensive was the wave of suicides after the first publication of the April 8, 1994, death of Kurt Cobain? It certainly was more than one suicide in one county. As I wrote in my book:

On April 10, 2001, a 14-year-old girl killed herself “for Kurt” in Italy. That the date was so close to the Cobain “death date” has not been lost on observers. When the Internet Nirvana Fan Club reported this, the webmaster commented: “This is the 68th copycat suicide I have heard about. The news was only printed in Italy.”

The rest of my chapter entitled "Cobain Copycats" gives the specifics on the over 70 imitative suicides that occurred in less than a decade between Kurt Cobain's death in April 1994 and when my book was published in 2004.


Graphically Grunge
One of the points I want to make and extend in this posting is that members of the Grunge community, actual performers, have been impacted by other members of the broader movement who died by suicide and self-destructive parasuicidal behavior (as drug overdoses are often classified).

One mystery still unresolved after hours upon hours of research is that no one really knows who coined the term "Grunge." People thought it was Mark Arm* for years, but he finally admitted he heard it from someone else whom he could not identify.

*Mark Arm, frontman for the Seattle bands Green River and Mudhoney.


Chris Cornell's "Jesus Christ Pose"

"In 1991, Seattle’s sound took the world by storm--but this same storm had been brewing in the Pacific Northwest for a decade before it hit MTV."

Thus wrote Stephen Tow in his The Strangest Tribe: How a Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge (Sasquatch Books, 2011). Many fine books have been written overviewing Grunge, from nonfiction, such as Tow's book and Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music by Greg Prato (2009) to fiction, as in Grunge Gods and Graveyards by Kimberly G. Giarratano (2014). Blogs come and go, just like Grunge bands, for death  - whether of the bands themselves or the members in them - are a thread running through the examinations of the Seattle-based sub-culture. Some like Grunge Graveyard (founded in 2014), even reflect this in their name.

Bands entitled Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, and Soundgarden made waves, and several chroniclers tried to capture the wonder that appeared and faded, sometimes quickly.

Rock historian Peter Frame and others did it through their "family tree" charts. Here are some examples:















Death and Dying and Grunge 

What I'd like to do is chronologically capture the deaths of some of the leading lights of Grunge since Grunge and its earlier roots began.

Ian Curtis - 1980
Ian Kevin Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980) was an English singer-songwriter and musician. He is best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division. Joy Division released their debut album, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979 and recorded their follow-up, Closer, in 1980.
In the early hours of May 18, 1980, Joy Division's founder and leader Ian Curtis died by hanging himself in the kitchen of his house at No. 77 Barton Street, Macclesfield, at the age of 23. Curtis had just viewed Werner Herzog's 1977 film Stroszek and listened to his inspiration Iggy Pop's album The Idiot. His wife found Curtis's body the next morning; he had used the kitchen's washing line.


Andrew Wood - 1990
Andrew Wood (January 6, 1966 – March 19, 1990) was the singer of Seattle bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone.

On March 16, 1990, Wood was found in a comatose state by his girlfriend, having overdosed on heroin. Wood was taken to Harborview Hospital and placed on life support. Despite being responsive, Wood had suffered a hemorrhage aneurysm, losing all brain function. On March 19 physicians suggested that Wood be removed from life support. His burial site is located at Miller-Woodlawn Memorial Park in Bremerton, Washington.

Shortly following Wood's death, former roommate Chris Cornell of Soundgarden wrote two songs, "Reach Down" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven," in tribute to his late friend. Cornell then approached Gossard and Ament about releasing the songs as singles before collaborating on an album. Adding drummer Matt Cameron, future Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready, and future Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, they formed Temple of the Dog in 1990 to pay tribute to Wood, releasing one self-titled album in 1991.

Stefanie Sargent - 1992
Stefanie Ann Sargent (June 1, 1968 – June 27, 1992) was an American musician best known for being the lead guitarist and co-founder of Seattle band 7 Year Bitch.

Sargent was born to Paula and Kenneth Sargent on June 1, 1968 in Seattle, Washington State. She grew up in Seattle and attended Roosevelt High, then transferred to the Summit K-12 Alternative School, and graduated from high school at age 16.

After graduating, Sargent worked in various jobs and traveled throughout the West Coast, having played in several bands (especially Barbie’s Dream Car) before 1990, when she co-founded 7 Year Bitch alongside Selene Vigil, Valerie Agnew and Elizabeth Davis. She played in the band's debut record, Sick ‘Em (1992).

Sargent was found dead in her Capitol Hill (Seattle neighborhood) apartment on June 27, 1992. She had passed out on her back after returning home from a party where she had drunk alcohol and taken a small amount of heroin. She died of asphyxiation when she failed to wake up after vomiting. Sargent's death was widely misreported as an overdose by heroin, which is inaccurate. She was 24.

After a prolonged period of uncertainty, the band decided to continue, recruiting guitarist Rosin Dunne as Sargent's replacement later that year.

In July 1993, longtime friend and Gits frontwoman Mia Zapata was brutally raped and murdered while walking home late at night. This event, coupled with Sargent's death the previous year, had a profound effect on the group. As a reaction, the band recorded and released their second album ¡Viva Zapata! (1994) in tribute to both of their fallen friends.

Their songs, "The Scratch" and "Icy Blue" were featured in the movie Mad Love (1995) with Drew Barrymore and Chris O'Donnell.


Mia Zapata - 1993
Mia Zapata (August 25, 1965 – July 7, 1993) was the singer of Seattle indie band The Gits. Zapata spent her childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, and founded the Gits in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1986.

In Seattle on July 7, 1993, Mia was raped and murdered.

At around 2:00 a.m. on July 7, 1993, Zapata left the Comet Tavern in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. She stayed at a studio space in the basement of an apartment building located a block away, and briefly visited a friend who lived on the second floor. This was the last time she was seen alive. She may have walked a few blocks west, or north to a friend's apartment, or may have decided to take the long walk south to her home.

She was beaten, strangled, and raped in the Central District of Seattle. It is believed she encountered her attacker shortly after 2:15 a.m. Her body was not initially identified as she had no identification on her when she was found.

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According to the cable television show Forensic Files (Season 12, Ep 7: "The Day the Music Died"), a man two blocks from the Comet Tavern heard a scream around 3:00 a.m. A woman discovered her body in the street at around 3:30 a.m., near the intersection of 24th Avenue South and South Washington Street in the Central District.

Zapata’s body was found with her arms out and her legs crossed, and she was placed between two Roman Catholic buildings on either side of the street. Zapata’s body was found, as Unsolved Mysteries noted, "lying face up in an almost Christ-like pose."

(This is extremely disturbing and ties directly into Chris Cornell's comments and art dealing with the "Jesus Christ Pose." Please see here for more.)

According to the medical examiner, if she had not been strangled, she would have died from the internal injuries suffered from the beating. According to court documents, an autopsy found evidence of a struggle in which Zapata suffered blunt impact to her abdomen and a lacerated liver.

Zapata is interred at Cave Hill Cemetery in her hometown of Louisville. The Seattle music community, including its most famous bands - Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden - helped raise $70,000 to hire a private investigator for three years. The funds dried up without any major breaks in the case, but the investigator, Leigh Hearon, continued to investigate on her own time. In 1998, after five years of investigation, Seattle police Detective Dale Tallman said: "We're no closer to solving the case than we were right after the murder."

In 2003, Florida fisherman Jesus Mezquia, who had come from Cuba in 1980 in the Mariel boatlift, was arrested in connection with Zapata's murder. DNA evidence was used to tie him to the murder and charges were brought against him. A DNA profile was extracted from saliva found on Zapata's body and kept in cold storage until the STR technology was developed for full extraction. An original entry in 2001 failed to generate a positive result, but Mezquia's DNA entered the national CODIS database after he was arrested in Florida for burglary and domestic abuse in 2002. He had a history of violence toward women including domestic abuse, burglary, assault, and battery. All of his ex-girlfriends, and his wife, had filed reports against him. There was also a report of indecent exposure on file against him in Seattle within two weeks of Zapata's murder. However, there was no known prior link between Mezquia and Zapata. 

Mezquia never testified in his own defense, and still maintains his innocence. The theory is that he saw her leave the bar and followed her a short distance before he attacked. Her headset covered her ears so she would have been unaware of any danger until he grabbed her and dragged her to his car where he assaulted her in the back seat. Mezquia was convicted in 2004 and initially sentenced to 37 years, which he appealed. He was then sentenced to 36 years. Mezquia has been in prison since January 2003.

In the aftermath of her murder, friends created a self-defense group called Home Alive, which disbanded in 2010. Home Alive organized benefit concerts and released albums with the participation of many of Seattle's music elite; such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Heart, and the Presidents of the United States of America. Joan Jett also recorded an album with the surviving members of the Gits called Evil Stig ("Gits Live" backwards). The Home Alive group's instructors offered a range of courses, from anger management and use of pepper spray to the martial arts.

In 2005 a documentary, The Gits Movie, was produced about Mia Zapata's life, the Gits, and the Seattle music scene. Its first showing occurred at the Seattle International Film Festival in May of that same year. Another version of the film appeared two years later at the 2007 SXSW (South By Southwest) Film Festival. The final cut of the film was released theatrically in over 20 North American cities on July 7, 2008, the 15th memorial anniversary of Zapata's death. The following day the film was released on DVD along with a Best of the Gits CD (both from Liberation Entertainment).

¡Viva Zapata!, by punk band 7 Year Bitch, was released in June 1994, on C/Z Records in Seattle, as a tribute to Zapata. Some of the songs on the album address the issue of Zapata's murder directly.

Following Zapata's death, Joan Jett and Kathleen Hanna wrote a song called "Go Home" that was later released on Jett's 1994 album, Pure and Simple. Later, a video for "Go Home" was released which depicts a woman who is being stalked and attacked but is then able to defend herself against the assailant.

In February 2013, a play called "These Streets," inspired by the stories of and featuring music by Mia Zapata and other female musicians in Seattle, debuted at ACT theatre in Seattle.

Zapata's death caused a sense of defeat and fear within the Seattle community. The Seattle Times marked Zapata's murder as the moment "the Seattle scene lost its sense of invincibility.” Cristen Storm recalls Zapata's death as a reality check, stating: "[They were] all very tough people and as a group of women, [they] are all really strong, outspoken, and hard-hitting, very opinionated women and that perception of, 'We're not victims at all in any way and this can't happen to women that aren't victims,' and I think [Zapata's death] shattered that myth for us, [and showed] that it happens to all types of women."

Mia Zapata is often cast as a symbol for feminist activism, a martyr, and an angel. Dresdner said "[Mia] was sainted, and that was very peculiar... she became this icon for feminism and all kinds of things that she had very little to do with in her actual life." Margaret O'Neil Girouard, who wrote her thesis on Zapata, believes Zapata is an example of women artists being classified based on the perceived motivations behind their art. Moriarty believed "[Mia wanted] to relate to people on a personal level in her lyrics [rather] than on a political level."

Andrew Kessler (the Gits' guitarist, known as Joe Spleen) believed "[Mia] had no social or political agenda and no real interest in that stuff. Also, after her death, she quickly acquired a symbolic status as a feminist icon, martyr, and poster child for rape and violence toward women in the eyes of many folks—which had nothing to do with who she was as an actual person. In fact Mia would be mortified that she has been remembered and portrayed in such a way."

Mia is often associated with riot grrrl, though bandmates such as Kessler claim she had no involvement and "little interest" in the movement. It has been speculated that this association may be due to her presence as a "charismatic female musician" in the Northwest, who was performing throughout the emergence of riot grrrl.
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Mia is a feminine name, originating as a hypocoristic of various unrelated names. It is usually derived from the name Maria and its variants (Miriam, Maryam, Mary) = love, beloved.

Zapata is Spanish, and is a metonymic occupational name for a cobbler or shoemaker, from zapato = half boot.

The proper name Jesus used in the English language originates from the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua (ישוע), also having the variants Joshua or Jeshua. In a religious context the name refers to Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. In the Spanish cultural sphere, Jesús is a very common male personal name.

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Doug Hopkins – 1993

Douglas Owen "Doug" Hopkins (April 11, 1961 – December 5, 1993) was an American musician and songwriter. Hopkins was born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in Tempe, Arizona. He co-founded the Gin Blossoms, a popular modern rock band of the early 1990s, with Richard Taylor. He was the band's lead guitarist and a principal songwriter.

As the Gin Blossoms experienced mounting success performing songs he had written, Hopkins became increasingly despondent. Though he had always dreamed of having a gold record, when he received one (for the song "Hey Jealousy"), he hung it up for two weeks before taking it down and then destroying it. Nine days later, during an intake consultation in the detox unit of Phoenix's St. Luke's Hospital, Hopkins snuck out and bought a .38 caliber pistol. The next day, December 5, 1993, Hopkins died by suicide


Kurt Cobain - 1994
Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was a member of Nirvana, Fecal Matter, and Earth.
See above, under "Cobain Copycats."

Plus...

On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain's body was discovered at his Lake Washington Boulevard home by electrician Gary Smith who had arrived to install a security system. Apart from a minor amount of blood coming out of Cobain's ear, the electrician reported seeing no visible signs of trauma, and initially believed that Cobain was asleep until he saw the shotgun pointing at his chin. A note was found, addressed to Cobain's childhood imaginary friend Boddah, that stated that Cobain had not "felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing [...] for too many years now". A high concentration of heroin and traces of diazepam were also found in his body. Cobain's body had been lying there for days; the coroner's report estimated Cobain to have died on April 5, 1994.


Kristen Pfaff - 1994
Kristen Marie Pfaff (May 26, 1967 – June 16, 1994) was an American musician, best known as the bassist for alternative rock band Hole from 1993 to 1994. Prior to Hole, Pfaff was the bassist and backing vocalist for Minneapolis-based band Janitor Joe.
Some band members, in method and timing, have demonstrated they are clear examples of copycats.

As I mention in The Copycat Effect, regarding Pfaff's death, it occurred soon after Kurt Cobain's:
On June 15, 1994, Kristen Pfaff, the bass player for Courtney Love’s band Hole, shut herself in her bathroom and died of an alleged drug overdose. She was found [the next morning] in her bathtub, in an eerie scene similar to the one of rock star Jim Morrison who was found dead in his Paris bathtub. Kristen was supposed to be returning to Minneapolis the morning of June 16. Some feel her death was a “hidden suicide.” She was 27, the same age as Cobain and Morrison when they died.
Shannon Hoon - 1995
Richard Shannon Hoon (September 26, 1967 – October 21, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer of the band Blind Melon until his death from a cocaine overdose in 1995.

The singer of the band Blind Melon, grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, and then left for Los Angeles where he eventually formed Blind Melon.
Hoon died from a heart attack brought on by cocaine use on October 21, 1995. He was found dead in New Orleans in the band’s tour bus.

Every year on the Saturday closest to Hoon’s birthday, fans called Melonheads make the trek to his grave for a weekend of commemoration.


Bradley Powell - 1996
Bradley James Nowell (February 22, 1968 – May 25, 1996) was an American musician who served as the founder, lead singer, and guitarist of the band Sublime.

In about 1990, Nowell teamed up with longtime friend Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, to record the song "Saw Red". The song was eventually released on Sublime's Robbin' the Hood album, which was self-recorded on a four-track cassette, and released in October 1994. Several songs from the album detail Nowell's worsening drug addiction. Nowell is believed to have predicted his own death in the song "Pool Shark," with the line, "One day I'm going to lose the war."

Nowell was married to Troy Dendekker on May 18, 1996. Seven days later, on the morning of May 25, Sublime was supposed to begin a five-day tour through Northern California, followed by a European and East Coast tour. However, while the band was staying at the Ocean View Motel in San Francisco, drummer Bud Gaugh woke up to find Nowell lying on the floor next to his bed. His dalmatian, Louie Dog, was curled up on the bed whimpering. Bradley had tried to wake up his fellow band-mates to go to the beach with him that morning, but they were too hung-over and tired to get out of bed. Initially, Gaugh assumed he had been too intoxicated to get into bed, however, he noticed a green film around his mouth, and it became apparent that he had overdosed on heroin. Gaugh called for paramedics, but Nowell had died several hours earlier, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Nowell was cremated and his ashes were spread over his favorite surfing spot in Surfside, California. A headstone was placed at Westminster Memorial in Westminster, California in his memory.

Eight months after Nowell's death, No Doubt headlined a "cautionary" benefit concert in honor of his memory. Nowell's widow wanted to make it clear that the goal of the concert was not to glamorize his death, but rather to promote drug awareness and prevention among fans. Proceeds from the concert were given to a nonprofit offering support for musicians struggling with drug addiction, as well as a scholarship fund for Nowell's son, Jakob.

On January 11, 1997, a Los Angeles Times article titled "Cautionary Concert in Rocker's Memory", writer Jerry Crowe quoted No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal as saying, "Obviously, it's going to be very emotional because you're there playing a show to commemorate a good friend who died and died for very wrong reasons. But you're also there to change things for the future and prevent stuff like that from ever happening again. A lot of times we hear about musicians using drugs and it's so blasé and clichéd. You just kind of say, 'Oh, he'll be fine. Somebody will take care of him.' But that's not true. It's important for every single one of us to stand up and say, 'Enough of this shit.' It's time to make a difference".

Jason Westfall, one of Sublime's managers, was quoted as saying that the other members of Sublime had no interest in continuing to perform and record under the "Sublime" name: "Just like Nirvana, Sublime died when Brad died." Sublime played their last show at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California. In late 2010 and early 2011 the remaining band members, along with Rome Ramirez, began touring under the name Sublime with Rome.

Chris Acland - 1996

Christopher John Dyke Acland (September 7, 1966 – October 17, 1996) was an English musician. He was the drummer of the London-based shoegazing and Britpop band Lush. Acland played in a number of bands, including The Infection, Les Turds, A Touch of Hysteria and Panic, before founding Lush in 1988 with Steve Rippon, Emma AndersonMeriel Barham and Miki Berenyi. After personnel changes gave way to a stable lineup, Lush released their debut mini album, Scar, and developed a following as a live act. 

On October 17, 1996, after Lush had completed their tour and music festival appearances, and two days after Anderson announced a desire to quit the band, Acland hanged himself in his parents' garden in Burneside, Cumbria. His bandmates in Lush were devastated and disbanded after a period of mourning.

John Baker Saunders - 1999
John Baker Saunders (1954 – January 15, 1999) was the bassist of Seattle bands Mad Season and The Walkabouts. He came from Minneapolis, and ended up in Seattle.

Saunders’ body was found on January 15, 1999. An autopsy revealed that he died from a heroin overdose.

Layne Staley - 2002
Layne Thomas Staley (August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002) was a member of Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Class of '99, Alice N' Chains, and Sleze.
On April 19, 2002, Staley's accountants contacted Staley's former manager Susan Silver and informed her that no money had been withdrawn from the singer's bank account in two weeks. Silver then contacted Staley's mother Nancy McCallum, who placed a call with 911 to say she hadn't heard from him "in about two weeks." The police went with McCallum and her ex-husband to Staley's home; "When police kicked in the door to Layne Staley's University District apartment on April 19, there, laying on a couch, lit by a flickering TV, next to several spray-paint cans on the floor, not far from a small stash of cocaine, near two crack pipes on the coffee table reposed the remains of the rock musician." It was reported that the 6 foot (1.8 metres) Staley weighed only 86 pounds (39 kg) when his body was discovered. McCallum recalled the moment she encountered Staley's body, after she was advised not to do so by the police. "The police first went in and then they said − I said, well, I need to go in and be with him. And they said, “Oh I wouldn’t do that.” And I said, “I can do this.” I’ve always promised myself that if anything happened to my children I would be there for them. And I went in, and he was tiny and I thought at first that he had made like a life-sized mannequin of himself because he had lots and lots of art projects always. And I thought, you know, somebody could have thrown that little guy over their shoulder and walked down the street and nobody would have even know that it was a real person...so, and I sat with him for a few minutes. And I told him that I was really sorry how things had turned out...."

In an interview on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with McCallum, former Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr said that he spent time with Staley the day before he died as Starr's birthday was April 4. Starr claimed that Staley was very sick but would not call 911. The two ex-bandmates briefly argued, which ended with Starr storming out. Starr stated that Staley called after him as he left: "Not like this, don't leave like this". Since Staley is believed to have died a day later, on April 5, Starr expressed regret that he did not call 911 to save his friend's life; Starr reported that Staley had threatened to sever their friendship if he did. Starr was the last known person to see Staley alive. The interview ended with Starr apologizing to McCallum for not calling 911, but McCallum was insistent that neither she nor anyone in her family blamed Starr for Staley's death. She also told Starr: "Layne would forgive you. He'd say, 'Hey, I did this. Not you.'" With that said, Starr still blamed himself for the death of Staley. Starr kept this story a secret until his appearance on Celebrity Rehab in August 2009. During this same interview, McCallum also claimed that Staley had attempted rehab 13 times, although it is not clear whether any of these attempts were during his reclusive years.

An informal memorial was held for Staley on the night of April 20, 2002, at the Seattle Center which was attended by at least 1000 fans and friends, including Cantrell, Starr, Inez, Kinney and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell.

Mike Starr - 2011
Mike Starr (April 4, 1966 – March 8, 2011) was the original bassist of Alice in Chains (1987-1993). He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He formed SATO in 1983; then he made connections that resulted in Alice in Chains. Starr briefly joined another band by the name of Gypsy Rose, which included early Alice N' Chains producer Tim Branom on lead vocals and his future bandmate Jerry Cantrell on guitar. Starr and Cantrell left Gypsy Rose and the two of them began working together to form a new band. First, they contacted drummer Sean Kinney, who coincidentally was dating Starr's sister Melinda at that time and had exchanged phone numbers with Cantrell's roommate Layne Staley. Then the trio began staging what Cantrell and Kinney later said were fake auditions in order to coax Staley into joining their band. Eventually, Staley quit the other bands he was performing with at that time and joined their band as well.

On March 8, 2011, at 1:42 pm, police were called to a home in Salt Lake City where they found 44-year-old Starr's body. There were no indications of foul play, and authorities suspected Starr died of a drug overdose.

Ronnie Montrose - 2012
Ronald Douglas Montrose (November 29, 1947 – March 3, 2012) was an American rock guitarist, who led the bands Sawbuck (1969-1972), Montrose (1973-77 & 1987) and Gamma (1979-83 & 2000) and also performed and did session work with a variety of musicians, including Van Morrison (1971–72), Herbie Hancock (1971), Beaver & Krause (1971), Boz Scaggs (1971), Edgar Winter (1972 & 1996), Gary Wright (1975), The Beau Brummels (1975), Dan Hartman (1976), Tony Williams (1978), The Neville Brothers (1987), Marc Bonilla (1991 & 1993), Sammy Hagar (1997), and Johnny Winter. The first Montrose album was often cited as "America's answer to Led Zeppelin" and Ronnie Montrose was often referred to as one of the most influential guitarists in American hard rock.

Montrose was born in San Francisco, California. When he was a toddler, his parents moved back to his mother's home state of Colorado, spending his youth in Denver until he ran away to San Francisco when he was 16.

In 1985 he joined Seattle's Rail (winners of MTV's first Basement Tapes video competition) for several months.

During his 2009 tour, Montrose revealed that he had fought prostate cancer for the previous two years but was healthy once again; he continued to tour until his death in 2012.

On March 3, 2012, Montrose died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 64, in Brisbane, California. He used a Smith & Wesson Model 38 Special CTG Airweight revolver. His death was originally assumed to be the result of his prostate cancer returning. However, the San Mateo County Coroner's Office released a report which confirmed the guitarist had taken his own life.

The toxicology reported a blood alcohol content of 0.31 percent at the time of death. In early 2012, the deaths of his uncle and of Lola, his bulldog, worsened what Guitar Player magazine called a “clinical depression that plagued him since he was a toddler.”

Jeremy Brown - 2015
The cause of death of Jeremy Brown, Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts’ guitarists, was released by the Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. The report stated that Brown’s death was an accident, and the result of intoxication from multiple drugs.

Coronary atherosclerosis and cardiomegaly are also listed as significant causes.

Brown passed away on March 30, 2015, at the age of 34, the day before Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts’ release of the album Blaster.

Scott Weiland - 2015
Scott Richard Weiland (born Scott Richard Kline; October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. During a career spanning three decades, Weiland was best known as the lead singer of the band Stone Temple Pilots from 1989 to 2002 and 2008 to 2013. He was also a member of supergroup Velvet Revolver from 2003 to 2008 and recorded one album with another supergroup Art of Anarchy.
As the lead singer of the Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland fronted it from 1986 to 2002 and again from 2008 to 2013. In addition to his most recent band, the Wildabouts, Weiland was part of the group Velvet Revolverfrom 2003 to 2008.

Weiland, 48, was found dead on his tour bus on December 3, 2015, in Bloomington, Minnesota, before he and his band The Wildabouts were scheduled to go on stage. He was 48. Police searched Weiland's tour bus and confirmed there were small amounts of cocaine in the bedroom where Weiland was discovered dead. Police also found prescription drugs including Xanax, Buprenorphine, Ziprasidone, Viagra, and sleeping pills on the tour bus. Additionally, two bags of cocaine were found and a bag of a green leafy substance. Tommy Black, bassist for The Wildabouts, was arrested by police on suspicion of possession of cocaine, although the charges against him were later dropped. Despite the discovery of drugs, no underlying cause of death was immediately given, although the medical examiner later determined it to be an accidental overdose of cocaine, alcohol, and methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA); the examiner's office also noted his atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, history of asthma, and prolonged substance abuse in its report.

News of Weiland's death quickly spread throughout the internet with many of his fellow musical peers, including his former band members along with fans and music critics throughout the world sharing their condolences, tributes and memories. A day following his death, his former bandmates in Stone Temple Pilots issued a statement saying that he was "gifted beyond words" but acknowledged his struggle with substance abuse, calling it "part of [his] curse". Weiland's ex-wife Mary Forsberg, released an open letter about her ex-husband, his addictions and not being a good father to their children. Forsberg said, "I won't say he can rest now, or that he's in a better place. He belongs with his children barbecuing in the backyard and waiting for a Notre Dame game to come on. We are angry and sad about this loss, but we are most devastated that he chose to give up. Let's choose to make this the first time we don't glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll and the demons that, by the way, don't have to come with it."

In the wake of Weiland's death, Chris Cornell dedicated a December 4, 2015 performance of "Say Hello 2 Heaven" (which Cornell had written for Andrew Wood) by Temple of the Dog to Weiland.

Chris Cornell - 2017

See the main essay, "Chris Cornell, Christ, Corn, and the Jesus Christ Pose."

Chris Cornell (born Christopher John Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was best known as lead vocalist for the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. He was also known for his numerous solo works, soundtrack contributions since 1991 and as founder and frontman for Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to his friend, the late Andrew Wood.

Cornell, 52, was found dead of a possible suicide inside his hotel room just hours after he took the stage for a concert in Detroit on May 17, 2017.

He was the lead singer of rock bands Soundgarden, and later Audioslave. Cornell “performed to a sold out crowd Wednesday night at the Fox Theatre in Detroit” but was found “dead in the bathroom with something around his neck.”

Cornell was one of Seattle’s best known grunge artists. He is best known as the frontman of Soundgarden, which was one of the first and most important grunge bands from Seattle, the epicenter of that musical movement. Soundgarden was the first grunge band to sign with a major record label (A&M Records in 1988). Later, Cornell, Vedder and others formed Temple of the Dog, and, in 2001, Cornell and others created the new group Audioslave.

Andrew Wood was Cornell's roommate. “After Wood died of a heroin overdose in March 1990, the Soundgarden frontman began writing songs in honor of his friend,” reported Consequenceofsound.


Death Data by Dates

Dates, by Years


Ian Curtis - 1980
Ian Kevin Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980)
Suicide (hanging)

Andrew Wood - 1990
Andrew Wood (January 6, 1966 – March 19, 1990)
OD

Stefanie Sargent - 1992
Stefanie Ann Sargent (June 1, 1968 – June 27, 1992)
OD

Mia Zapata - 1993
Mia Zapata (August 25, 1965 – July 7, 1993)
Murder

Kurt Cobain - 1994
Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994)
Suicide (gunshot)

Kristen Pfaff - 1994
Kristen Marie Pfaff (May 26, 1967 – June 16, 1994)
OD

Shannon Hoon - 1995
Richard Shannon Hoon (September 26, 1967 – October 21, 1995)
OD

Bradley Nowell - 1996
Bradley James Nowell (February 22, 1968 – May 25, 1996)
OD

John Baker Saunders - 1999
John Baker Saunders (1954 – January 15, 1999)
OD

Layne Staley - 2002
Layne Thomas Staley (August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002)
OD

Mike Starr - 2011
Mike Starr (April 4, 1966 – March 8, 2011)
OD

Ronnie Montrose - 2012
Ronald Douglas Montrose (November 29, 1947 – March 3, 2012)
Suicide (gunshot)

Jeremy Brown - 2015
March 30, 2015
OD

Scott Weiland - 2015
Scott Richard Weiland (born Scott Richard Kline; October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015)
OD

Chris Cornell - 2017
Chris Cornell (born Christopher John Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) 
Suicide (hanging)


By Dates of Months 

January 15
1999 - John Saunders - OD

March 3
2012 - Ronnie Montrose - Suicide (gunshot)

March 8
2011 - Mike Starr - OD

March 19
1990 - Andrew Wood - OD

March 30
2015 - Jeremy Brown - OD

April 5
1994 - Kurt Cobain - Suicide (gunshot)
2002 - Layne Staley - OD {Same date as Cobain's suicide; day after Mike Starr's birthday}

May 18
1980 - Ian Curtis - Suicide (hanging)
2017 - Chris Cornell - Suicide (hanging) {Same date as Curtis' suicide; same method}

May 25
1996 - Bradley Nowell - OD

June 16
1994 - Kristen Pfaff - OD

June 27
1992 - Stefanie Sargent - OD

July 7
1993 - Mia Zapata - murder

October 21
1995 - Shannon Hoon - OD

December 3
2015 - Scott Weiland - OD

Birthdates/Death dates

January 6
Andrew Wood birthday

January 15
1999 - John Saunders – OD

February 20
Kurt Cobain birthday

February 22
Bradley Powell birthday

March 3
2012 - Ronnie Montrose

March 8
2011 - Mike Starr - OD

March 19
1990 - Andrew Wood - OD

March 30
2015 - Jeremy Brown – OD

April 4
Mike Starr birthday

April 5
1994 - Kurt Cobain - suicide/gunshot
2002 - Layne Staley - OD {Same date as Cobain's suicide; day after Mike Starr's birthday}

May 18
1980 - Ian Curtis - hanging
2017 - Chris Cornell - hanging {Same date as Curtis' suicide; same method}

May 25
1996 - Bradley Nowell – OD

May 26
Kristen Pfaff birthday

June 1
Stefanie Sargent birthday

June 16
1994 - Kristen Pfaff - OD

June 27
1992 - Stefanie Sargent - OD

July 7
1993 - Mia Zapata – murder

July 15
Ian Curtis birthday

July 20
Chris Cornell birthday

August 22
Layne Staley birthday

August 25
Mia Zapata birthday

September 26
Shannon Hoon birthday

October 21
1995 - Shannon Hoon – OD

October 27
Scott Weiland birthday

December 3
2015 - Scott Weiland - OD

Thanks to the following for hints, information, and more: Lawrence (Hoon); Greg Kershler (Sargent); Tweedster (Nowell); and others.



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