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Sells like teen spirit? Cobain guitar up for auction

By AFP - May 07,2023 - Last updated at May 07,2023

GARDENA, California — A guitar smashed on stage by Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain is going under the hammer later this month in the United States.

The guitar has been put back together, but is no longer playable, said Kody Frederick of Julien’s Auctions, which expects the musical artefact to fetch $80,000.

“You can see here the break that took place as he slammed down the guitar, where the neck here kind of connects, as well as down here on the bottom where he slammed the guitar down,” Frederick told AFP.

“Kurt Cobain, when he was on stage, when he played, he was a machine. The man was angry, and you could feel that on stage. And you would feel that by the way he would treat his instruments.

“This broken element, in a strange way, from this broken musician, that really defined this rough and tumble era of music.”

The busted black Fender Stratocaster was signed by all three members of the Seattle grunge outfit as they rocketed to global fame.

Nirvana’s hits, many of which were penned by Cobain, included “Come As You Are,” “Lithium” and the breakout “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — a track that became anthemic for a generation of alienated teenagers.

Cobain struggled with substance addiction and depression, and had a tumultuous relationship with his wife, Courtney Love. He took his own life in April 1994.

The auction, which rolls out in New York from May 19 to 21, also includes a set list hand-written in pink marker by Cobain for an April 1991 gig in Seattle, expected to go for up to $6,000.

The gig included an early public performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and came months before the release of “Nevermind”, the multimillion-record selling seminal grunge album.

The auction also includes memorabilia from the careers of Eddie Van Halen, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury and Bill Wyman.

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