A battered and broken black Fender Stratocaster guitar, owned by Kurt Cobain and gifted to his friend Mark Lanegan from fellow Washington grunge greats Screaming Trees, after all three members of Nirvana had signed it, has sold at auction for almost $600,000.
According to the auction house, Cobain gave the guitar to Lanegan during the North American leg of Nirvana's Nevermind tour in 1992.
Featuring a hand-written dedication from Cobain, who was spelling his forename 'Kurdt' when he first met Lanegan, reading - “Hell-o Mark. Love, your pal Kurdt Kobain. Washed up Rock Star" - and autographed by Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, the guitar had been expected to reach an estimated price of $60,000-$80,000 when listed by auction house Julien's Auctions. But at the May 20 auction held at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, the bidding peaked at $596,900. The identity of the guitar's new owner has not been made public.
Kurt Cobain and Mark Lanegan had a long-standing mutual appreciation and friendship. In his compelling 2020 memoir Sing Backwards and Weep, Lanegan wrote about seeing Nirvana for the first time at the public library in Ellensburg, Washington, and instantly recognising that Cobain's group was special.
"I loved Kurt, and I envied him because Nirvana were fully-developed from the first moment I heard them," Lanegan wrote. "Nirvana were who they were from the first time I saw them - great songs, great singer, great look. Everything."
Such was Lanegan's respect for Cobain that he tactfully never revealed that, following that Ellensburg library gig, Krist Novoselic had called him to say he was tired of playing in Nirvana and wanted to audition for the then-vacant bass role in Screaming Trees. This respect was mutual: Cobain guested on Lanegan's 1990 solo album The Winding Sheet, most notably on a cover of Where Did You Sleep Last Night.
In November 2020, a 1973 Fender Mustang smashed onstage by Cobain during Nirvana’s American tour in 1989 sold at auction for $486,400 at Julien’s Auctions’ ‘Icons and Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll’ event.
"I loved Kurt, and I envied him because Nirvana were fully-developed from the first moment I heard them. Nirvana were who they were from the first time I saw them - great songs, great singer, great look.