The statue was unveiled last Thursday, 20th February, as Aberdeen celebrated their first inaugural ‘Kurt Cobain Day’, on what would have been Cobain’s 47th birthday. The piece was created by sculptor Randi Hubbard, who started working on the piece shortly after the Cobain’s tragic suicide in 1994.
Seattle’s KOMO News are reporting that the statue remained in Hubbard’s auto shop for two decades, with Cobain’s grandfather frequently visiting to monitor its construction. The sculpture was eventually finished with the help of a number of local Arts students.
Hubbard has reportedly offered the statue to the city of Aberdeen in the past, but city officials refused to accept it. Now the piece has been brought into the Aberdeen Museum of History, with museum employees now expecting the number of people who visit the museum each year to double, due to the addition of Hubbard’s statue.
According to Rolling Stone, Aberdeen’s ‘Kurt Cobain Day’ celebrations also featured a performance from local rock group Gebular, and short appearances from Aaron Burckhard (one of Nirvana’s early drummers) and Warren Mason, who was Cobain’s childhood guitar teacher for a short period.
Stereogum have noted that the local news coverage of ‘Kurt Cobain Day’ hasn’t been completely free of controversy. Dennis Bounds, a reporter for local TV network King 5 essentially mocked the Cobain tributes, as well as the nature of Cobain’s death. Bounds referred to the rock legend as “the well-known heroin addict who shot himself 20 years ago,” and also declared that Cobain was “not exactly George Washington”. Watch King 5‘s coverage down below.
Countering this have been comments made by Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson, who told USA Today that the city has “been remiss for a long time of not honoring him”. He posited that despite the initial controversy surrounding the idea of a ‘Kurt Cobain Day’ (Cobain had expressed some disdain for the town, and was once arrested for vandalism there) he felt the event was necessary to promote tourism in Aberdeen. “We hope this is just as big as Graceland eventually,” he said.
Aberdeen’s ‘Kurt Cobain Day’, which will now become an annual tradition, isn’t without some friendly municipal competition. Neighbouring town Hoquiam, where Cobain also lived briefly, recently announced that on the 10th April (the day Nirvana are set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), the town will celebrate ‘Nirvana Day’.
Speaking with local radio station KXRO, Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney said: “[Nirvana] bring great honor, I think as I say, to our entire community. And I think that it’s good Kurt Cobain lived in Hoquiam for a little while, but he and Krist Novoselic are part of our community, and I think it’s good to honour our sons and their great accomplishments.”