A guitar smashed by Kurt Cobain on stage sold for $600,000

A broken guitar by Kurt Cobain on stage auctioned at $600,000


A guitar smashed on stage by singer Kurt Cobain, frontman of legendary American band Nirvana, has been auctioned off for nearly $600,000, the auction house announced on Saturday.  

Julien's Auctions, which thought to sell it for ten times less, sold it for exactly 595,000 dollars during a public sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, which the company described as “amazing”, in a press release.

The auction house had previously specified that the instrument, a black Fender Stratocaster, had been reassembled, but could no longer be used to play on it. It features listings 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, Julien's Auctions' Kody Frederick told AFP earlier in May. “When he was on stage, when he was playing, 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 era in the history of music”, he also noted.

Nirvana, a grunge group created in Washington State (northwestern United States) at the end of the 1980s, enjoyed dazzling success with the release of its second album, “Nevermind”, in 1991, which will sell more than 30 million copies. His hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Lithium”, blending 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 flayed man, who struggles between heroin addiction and constant malaise, in addition to maintaining a complex relationship with his wife, singer Courtney Love.

He committed suicide in Seattle in April 1994, at age 27. Nearly 30 years after his death, the mark he left on rock – and on the minds of generations of teenagers and young adults – lives on.