One of the greatest rock stars of all time is getting a memorial tribute fit for a legend. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s childhood home in the US state of Washington will be immortalised as a museum with a “tribute lounge” nearby.
Last week, Washington state’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation announced that the one-and-a-half-story house in Aberdeen, where Cobain lived from 1968 to 1984, had been officially approved for inclusion on its Heritage Register of culturally important buildings.
Lee Bacon and his wife Danielle bought the house from the Cobain family in 2018 for $225,000. The pair are apparently huge Nirvana fans — we found Lee’s Pinterest account which is totally dedicated to Nirvana, and Cobain in particular.
For the past three years, the Bacons have been working to restore the house to its exact state during the time that Cobain lived there. Kim Cobain, Kurt’s sister, has been helping the pair with the restoration
She told Rolling Stone “I enjoy being involved and providing my input. I am very happy and supportive Lee and Dani took this on three years ago.”
The exterior of the house has been repainted to match the “light-coloured fern” and “dark-coloured mint” colours it sported in the Seventies. The interior includes the original dining room table and china hutch from Cobain’s family, as well as the mattress from his bedroom and the toddler bedroom set used by Cobain and his sister Kim. According to the Bacons’ application, the kitchen has retained its “period Seventies plywood cabinetry with canary-yellow Formica countertops.”
The Bacons told Rolling Stone that their plans are now “90 to 95 percent” complete and that they plan to open it to public viewing soon.
“Our goal is to make the house a tribute project to Kurt’s early life and career, with museum detail,” he said.
“The next chapter is how to make that happen.”
Neighbourhood zoning regulations prevent the structure from becoming a full-time museum, but Bacon is exploring ways to open it up early next year for the occasional private tour.
During their recent hearing to have the building approved on the state register, the Bacon’s played the council the Nirvana hit ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and made the argument that “the property is directly associated with an individual who made an important contribution to a community or to a group of people.”
Allyson Brooks, executive director of the state’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, acknowledged the unusual nature of the request.
“It’s rare to have a childhood home considered,” Brooks says.
“Generally we want to be sure that we’re acknowledging that something happened in a childhood home that was significant. In this case, it’s Kurt Cobain, who developed his musical passions and skills in Aberdeen and in that house.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the request, which Bacon has said was “emotionally rewarding.”
Brooks says the outcome of that vote didn’t surprise her.
“We didn’t get any pushback,” she says. “Everyone on the council recognised the importance of the place.”
To complement the house, Lee has also purchased a 25,000-square-foot building in downtown Aberdeen that he plans to turn into what he calls a “Tribute Lounge and Gallery Cafe” dedicated to Cobain.
Through artifacts, photos, memorabilia, and later-period Cobain shots by noted grunge-era photographer Charles Peterson, Bacon says the Lounge will “tell the story of the house” and Cobain’s early years in Aberdeen.
Guitar builder Larry Brooks will supply the backstory of the custom-made Jag-Stang guitar he built for Cobain, and Bacon is considering including items donated by fans.
According to Bacon, the Lounge and Cafe would be “the starting hub for information, tours, and dedicated transportation to the family home,” which is a mile and a half away.
Admission to the exhibit will be free, as it will be for any possible house tours.
The next step for the Bacons is getting a plaque made for the front of the house to properly commemorate the spot.
“We have to write it for someone in the future, 20 years from now, who wants to learn about Kurt,” Bacon says.
“We want it to be for someone who doesn’t know who he was or the contributions he made.”