Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love spent New Year's Eve 1992 trying to save the life of an unconscious rock star who was turning blue on their hotel room floor

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
Kurt and Courtney at Mudhoney's gig at the Hollywood Palladium, LA on December 4, 1992 (Image credit: Lindsay Brice/Getty Images)

On New Year's Eve 1992 Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm joined Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and Hole's Courtney Love for drinks in their room at Seattle's Inn at the Market hotel: his first memory of 1993 was waking up on their floor with paramedics trying to save his life.

The trio had met up at a NYE gig headline by Sub Pop punks The Supersuckers at Seattle's RKCNDY club. The story of what happened next is documented in Everybody Loves Our Town, the definitive oral history of grunge, written by US music writer Mark Yarm.

Arm told Yarm, "Kurt and Courtney were there and were like, 'Hey, we're going to go back to our room, maybe get some dope'... I had been drinking and went back to their hotel room with Ron Heathman, the Supersuckers guitar player. I did some dope, and I decided I wasn't high enough and went to do some more."

"We didn't really notice at first," Ron Heathman told Yarm, "but Mark had gone out. He was turning blue. This wasn't an uncommon occurrence in the Seattle scene, so we're all borderline paramedics at this point. There was the ice-cube-up-the-butt trick, which we didn't have to use that night. Kurt and I traded giving Mark CPR - the pumping and the breathing, the whole nine [yards]."

It's Heathman's recollection - and one that Courtney Love admits is "possible" - that Hole's singer initially opted to phone Sub Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman rather than the emergency services.

"[Courtney] was like, 'You need to get over here, because one of your fucking band members on your fuckin' label is dying, and I can't have this fucking coming back on us because they're checkin' our trash!' She's worried about what the media would say. I kind of get that, but let's deal with someone's life first... Kurt's the one that was like, 'Will you fuckin' call the paramedics?'

"The saddest part about the whole thing is that the whole time, Francis Bean [Kurt and Courtney's daughter] was asleep on the hotel bed."

Reflecting on the incident, and his previous misadventures with heroin, in Everybody Loves Our Town, which borrows its title from a line in Mudhoney's Overblown, Mark Arm said, "I OD'd probably five times. If I was alone, I would have been dead for sure. Here's my advice to the kids: Don't do drugs alone. And don't do drugs around people who are afraid to call 911."

For more memories of the grunge explosion, and its attendant triumphs and tragedies, pick up Everybody Loves Our Town.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.