Sorry, Kurt Cobain Vultures: Craigslist Ad Was All a Sub Pop Prank

Nirvana, Kurt Cobain

Earlier this week, an ad popped up on Craigslist advertising a sale of some of Kurt Cobain’s personal belongings, allegedly coming from a former roommate of the Nirvana frontman. Multiple media outlets picked up the ‘story’ of the anonymous roommate crawling out of the woodwork to make a buck off some stuff that he probably could have sold a long time ago.

Items in the Craigslist ad include a pair of skis for $800, a Swatch phone that Cobain supposedly used to speak to record executives in Los Angeles when Nirvana was in the process of inking their major label contract for $575, and a TONY handheld video game that the writer claims Kurt enjoyed playing for $425. The writer of the ad explains that the items are of historical significance because they belonged to Kurt, which is why they are so expensive.

“Hey Seattle what’s up, I used to live with Kurt Cobain back in the 90s and I have been holding on to a bunch of his stuff that he left in a box when he moved out. He owed us rent and said he would get the box when he came back and gave us money but he never came back, then when he was famous he never really talked to any of us again because Courtney never liked us but she’s a dick so no hard felings,” the ad reads.

It turns out the ad was all a joke from serial prankster and Sub Pop employee Derek Erdman, who has pranked Nirvana fans before. Sub Pop is the iconic grunge label that put out Nirvana’s first album and helped cultivate the grunge scene of the early Nineties. Erdman admitted to the prank in an interview with Revolt, saying that he didn’t even own any of the stuff featured in the ad, but used photos from the Internet.

If the writer’s keen grasp on the English language didn’t make you question the authenticity of the items, along with the frail attempts to convince people that Kurt Cobain actually enjoyed skiing (“Kurt was learning to ski when I met him, we went to mount baker a few times to hit the slopes, these are his skiis”), you’re not alone. Apparently Erdman got many serious offers for the skis, but less interest than expected for the phone.

When asked what his motivation for the stunt was, Erdman cited boredom at work and quoted Proust. “People love the past. It’s like an old friend. What did Proust say about nostalgia? ‘Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were?’ I don’t know if Kurt skied, but skiing is pretty fun, so I don’t know why he wouldn’t. Sorry I just quoted Proust, that was pretty dorky,” Erman told Revolt.

Any venture that attempts to profit off the troubled musician’s memory is revolting, as Cobain was a highly private person and media attention on his personal life was a cause of great unhappiness. But this prank seems like something Cobain may have found amusing, considering it calls out the vultures looking to pick away at the carnage of his old stuff — a commentary that’s as timely as ever, considering the public feud between the towns of Abderdeen and Hoquiam over who has the right to the tourist dollars generated by the dead music icon.

Unfortunately, the prank can’t undo the horrible statue of Cobain crying that the mayor of Abderdeen commissioned in celebration of ‘Kurt Cobain Day’ with the goal of making Aberdeen “just as big as Graceland — eventually.” Maybe it’s too much to expect some respect for the dead, but the idea of Aberdeen — a town Cobain famously hated — building a grunge Graceland kind of makes me want to sit down next to that statue and weep with it. Maybe if we’re lucky, the statue will be revealed to be another Erdman prank.

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