Eleven years after his death, Kurt Cobain's hometown has finally embraced the legacy of the late grunge icon. Last week, the title of one of Nirvana's signature hits, "Come as You Are," was added to the "Welcome to Aberdeen" sign on the anniversary of Cobain's April 5, 1994, suicide.
"I think it's a good idea, and it's about time," Kurt's grandfather, Leland Cobain, told Aberdeen, Washington's local newspaper, The Daily World. "I drive by there every day and look for it. I have been waiting for it to go up."
The Cobain tribute was the work of the nonprofit Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee, whose co-chairman Jeff Burlingame said, "After getting feedback from Kurt's fans across the world, we settled on 'Come as You Are' because it had dual meanings." Burlingame explained that the band's fans will "understand the significance," but it is vague enough to appeal to just about anyone coming to visit the town.
The committee formed in May of last year with the aim of finding ways to pay homage to Cobain in his hometown by soliciting donations from fans all over the world.
"It's nice to have the sign up in time for the anniversary of Kurt's death," Burlingame said. The Committee paid $750 to replace the "Welcome to Aberdeen" sign — which was rusted and had a bullet hole in it — and add the Cobain tribute. "Several people have contacted us and intend to make pilgrimages to pay their respects. I believe this new sign will, by far, be the most photographed landmark in the city."
Among the projects the committee hopes to launch in the future are a Kurt Cobain Memorial Park and a youth drop-in center. According to the organization's Web site, its next project is to raise $125,000 to purchase two pieces of land in downtown Aberdeen for the park, which will feature a graffiti wall for fans to memorialize the singer. Ideas for the youth center range from an all-ages music venue to an art/music drop-in center.
"I think this sign goes a long way toward showing people that Aberdeen finally recognizes the contributions of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana," said committee co-chairman Paul Fritts.