April 5 is an unbelievably sad day in the history of Seattle alt-rock music.
On April 5, 1994, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain died at the age of 27. There have been conspiracy theories that he was murdered, but his death was deemed a suicide. He was found on April 8 and the coroner’s report said he had died on April 5. When the news broke, I listened to WFNX all night. Nirvana was my favorite band (still are!) and this was a tremendous loss.
EW’s 1994 cover story
On April 5, 2002, Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley died at the age of 34. Even sadder is that he was not found until 2 weeks later. He had struggled with drugs many times over the years and had been on hiatus from music for a few years when this happened, but there was a great deal of respect for AIC.
CNN’s 2002 coverage
Both AIC and Nirvana caused countless record labels to flock to Seattle in the early 90s because of the success of both bands. It sucks that both bands are forever linked by their singer’s dying on the same day eight years apart.
McCready in concert
On a far happier note, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready was born on April 5, 1966. He turns 51 today. In addition to Pearl Jam, he has done some soundtrack work, taken part in supergroups (Temple of the Dog, Mad Season with Layne Staley, Walking Papers, Levee Walkers) and he has a photo book coming in May. Happy Birthday Mike!
So let’s recap: Nirvana and Alice In Chains both have a founding member who died on April 5 AND one of Pearl Jam’s founders was born on April 5. Three of the biggest Seattle bands of all time, all connected to this day in history. (I checked to see if Soundgarden had any connection to April 5, but they don’t).
On the plane from Montreal to Jacksonville, Florida, after the concert, Ringo, who was normally ill-at-ease on planes, relaxed and threw a cushion at someone. Immediately a pillow fight ensued with all the first-class pillows winging through the air.
Suddenly a voice came over the intercom, “You’re behaving like a bunch of children. This plane is in danger of crashing unless you sit quietly. It is vital that you fasten your seat belts …” Everyone froze, then returned to their seats and quietly fastened themselves in.
Then Paul appeared, returning to his seat, a huge grin on his face at pulling one over on his mates.
September 8 1966
// The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years //Barry Miles