Kurt Cobain’s Manager Details Final Intervention With Nirvana Singer On 25th Anniversary Of His Death

Music veteran Danny Goldberg says he met with Cobain in Seattle one week before his death, but it did not go well.

Musicians Pat Smear, St. Vincent and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana perform onstage at the 29th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on April 10, 2014 in New York City.
Larry Busacca / Getty Images

Music veteran Danny Goldberg says he met with Cobain in Seattle one week before his death, but it did not go well.

It has been 25 years since the tragic death of Kurt Cobain, and fans still mourn the loss of the Nirvana singer who committed suicide at age 27 at the height of his stardom. But one week before Cobain ended his life in early 1994, his manager, music industry veteran Danny Goldberg, was one of several people who staged an intervention to try to help him get off of heroin. Sadly, it didn’t go well.

In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Goldberg talked about the last time he talked to Kurt Cobain, just one week before his death. The former Nirvana manager revealed that Cobain’s wife, Hole singer Courtney Love, asked him to be part of the intervention because the Nirvana frontman was in the worst state that she had ever seen him in. Goldberg and fellow entertainment manager Janet Billig Rich enlisted the help of a “12-step person” who had been involved in interventions before, and a team of people flew to Cobain’s Seattle home.

As expected, Goldberg revealed that Kurt Cobain was not happy to see them.

“Kurt was really stoned, and we went to the house, and it was weird, and he was not happy, and feeling invaded by people lecturing him on how he should behave — and who would?”

While Goldberg said he tried to deliver the “typical anti-drug, get-clean plea” to Cobain, it was not appreciated by the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” singer. The longtime manager also admitted that while he wanted to help Kurt, he was in a hurry to get home to his family in Los Angeles, so he had an impatient and brittle tone in his voice as he talked to the struggling rocker.

“I’d been away from my family in New York, and this was sort of an extra stop. Otherwise maybe, maybe if I’d stayed another hour, I would’ve thought of some intelligent thing to say, or got him to take a walk. You know, you just go over in your head: ‘Is there something I could’ve done?'”

Once he was home, Goldberg called Cobain and apologized for the awkward intervention, but when they hung up he knew Kurt was still depressed. His last words to Kurt Cobain were that he loved him. Goldberg, who later spoke at Kurt Cobain’s eulogy, said he “will never get over” the singer’s tragic death, which clearly still haunts him 25 years later.

In his new book, Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain, Goldberg also floated a controversial theory about why Kurt Cobain may have shot himself in the attic of his Seattle home just one week after the intervention, according to Alternative Nation. In the book, the music manager quoted Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic’s theory that “something affected” Kurt Cobain’s brain shortly before his death and that it may have sparked his decision to end his life. In March of 1994, Cobain overdosed on Rohypnol while on tour in Rome and something drastically changed with him after that near-death experience.

In an interview with Real Clear Life, Danny Goldberg was also asked about Novoselic’s theory that Kurt Cobain’s decision to take his own life may have been impacted by a possible brain injury caused by his overdose in Rome six weeks earlier. Goldberg admitted that while he didn’t have anything to add to the theory, he felt it was worth mentioning in the book.

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“You can say, oh, somebody had a terrible childhood, well…most people with terrible childhoods don’t kill themselves,” Goldberg said. “People are unhappy, people have drug problems, but the fact is most people who are unhappy and have a drug problem don’t kill themselves.”

April 5, 2019, marks the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.


If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.