NIRVANA FRONTMAN KURT COBAIN made an unusual request when he arrived for his last-ever magazine cover shoot on July 23, 1993. “When Kurt showed up at the door he very politely and quietly asked for a bucket,” recalls photographer Jesse Frohman. “I said, ‘Sure, but what do you need a bucket for?’ And he said, ‘Because I think I’m going to puke.’" The photographer, who was shooting Nirvana at New York’s Omni hotel for an Observer magazine feature, learned later that Cobain was still feeling ill after overdosing just hours before. However, although visibly stoned and queasy, the singer happily posed for photographs with fellow band members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, first in the hotel’s basement conference room and later in the street and at the Roseland Ballroom where Nirvana were due to play a show that night.
“I didn’t know then that Kurt had taken an overdose," explains Frohman. “He did look frail but at the same time he looked fantastic. He arrived wearing sunglasses with a pile of clothes under his arm. I really think he was a natural fashion icon who didn’t realise it. He was just being a rock star.”
On seeing the contact sheets from the shoot, Froham realised immediately he “had something special”; but it wouldn’t be until the following year, when Cobain took his own life on April 5, 1994, that he also recognised he had “something else, something to treasure” – the singer’s last formal photo-shoot.
Kurt Cobain: The Last Session, by Jesse Frohman, is published by Thames & Hudson.
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