(New York) A guitar smashed on stage by singer Kurt Cobain, leader of the legendary American band Nirvana, has been auctioned off for nearly $600,000, the auction house announced on Saturday.
Julien’s Auctions, which thought it would sell for ten times less, sold it for exactly $595,000 during a public sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, which the company called “astonishing”, in a communicated.
The auction house previously clarified that the instrument, a black Fender Stratocaster, had been reassembled but could no longer be used to play on it. It features entries made by all three members of Nirvana: vocalist and guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer Dave Grohl.
The cracks caused by Kurt Cobain when he broke the guitar are still visible, Kody Frederick of Julien’s Auctions told AFP earlier in May. “When he was on stage, when he was performing, Kurt Cobain was a machine. He was angry and it showed. Especially in the way he treated his instruments,” he added.
In a way, this “damaged” guitar of a “damaged musician” represents this “raw and stormy time in the history of music”, he also noted.
Nirvana, a grunge group created in Washington State in the late 1980s, enjoyed dazzling success when it released its second album, Nevermind, in 1991, which sold more than 30 million copies. His hits like Smells Like Teen Spirit or Lithium, mixing sweet melody and angry energy, offer rallying hymns to post-adolescent disenchantment.
The group’s songwriter, Kurt Cobain, is propelled to the top, becoming a blonde idol considered the voice of the new generation. Perhaps too much for this lively skinned man, who struggles between heroin addiction and constant discomfort, in addition to maintaining a complex relationship with his wife, singer Courtney Love.
He committed suicide in Seattle in April 1994, aged 27. Nearly 30 years after his death, the mark he left on rock music — and on the minds of generations of teenagers and young adults — remains alive.