Though the new Kurt Cobain documentary "Montage of Heck" has been receiving rave reviews since it debuted on HBO last month, a high school friend and musical colleague is not among its fans.
Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, the Washington State heavy rock band Cobain often cited as an influence, has taken the Brett Morgen-directed film to the mat in a scathing piece for The Talk House. Though Osborne writes that "I love documentaries," he clearly has no love for "Montage of heck," saying that he sat through it twice and that "90 percent of Montage of Heck is bullshit. Total bullshit. That's the one thing no one gets about Cobain -- he was a master of jerking your chain. For instance, I know the whole 'I tried to fuck a fat retard' story is complete bullshit. Not even an inkling of truth. That's too good a story to have gone this long without me hearing about it, especially if, as he suggests, the girl's father freaked out about it at the high school. In that small-town shit-hole, exciting news of that nature would have been common knowledge before the sun set. It never happened. And the trying-to-kill-himself-on-the-train-tracks story is bullshit as well. It never happened either. There it is, though, told in a recording of Kurt's own voice so it must be true -- right? Wrong."
Osborne says that Cobain told him he fabricated his well-chronicled stomach problems "so he could use it as an excuse to stay loaded," and that Cobain's chronic vomiting is "what people on heroin do." He also called Cobain widow Courtney Love's memory "elastic" and writes that, "I suppose this movie will be interesting for Nirvana completists, because it certainly reinforces their already twisted view of the man. I found it to be mostly misguided fiction. Not a happy experience. I did enjoy the really cool animation, though, and they did a fantastic job of showing what a depressing shit-hole Aberdeen really was and still is. For that, I salute them!"
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.