Love & Death

Love & Death by Max Wallace

Book: Love & Death by Max Wallace Read Free Book Online
Authors: Max Wallace
Charles Cross recorded, Kurt then proceeded to describe in explicit detail what he had witnessed of the heavy drug use by most of those present in the room. From the coke-filled music industry schmooze fests he had attended to the daily heroin habit of his wife, the irony was not lost on Kurt. According to Danny Goldberg, “His big thing was that Courtney was more fucked-up than he was.” Kurt stormed out, declaring that nobody in the room had any right to judge him.
    Courtney was terrified that Geffen and Gold Mountain would follow through on their threats to drop him; this would severely jeopardize the extravagant lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. She saved her ultimate pressure tactic for the next day. If Kurt refused to seek treatment, she would limit his access to Frances Bean. Knowing he could not risk losing his baby, he finally agreed to check into the Daniel X. Freeman Clinic—also known as the Exodus recovery center—a rehab facility in Marina Del Rey, California, long favored by rock stars and other celebrities.
    In September 1992, at the height of the Vanity Fair controversy, Kurt had detoxed at Exodus once before, an experience he found “disgusting.” He described it to his biographer Michael Azerrad: “Right away, these forty-year-old hippie long-term junkie type counselors would come in and try to talk to me on a rock and roll level, like, ‘I know where you’re at, man. Drugs are real prevalent in rock ’n roll and I’ve seen it all in the seventies. Would you mind if David Crosby came in and said hello? Or Steven Tyler?’ Rattling off these rock stars’ names. I was like, ‘Fuck that. I don’t have any respect for these people at all.’ ” That time, he had left a few days before the treatment ended, exasperated by unremitting group therapy sessions and twelve-step meetings. Seeking treatment back then had been all about convincing child welfare authorities that he was cleaning up his act.
    On March 30, Kurt flew to Los Angeles to begin his 28-day treatment at Exodus. He was assigned Room 206 and went through an intake session with a nurse, who attempted to determine the extent of his addiction. The next morning, he attended an individual therapy session with a counselor, Nial Stimson, who later recalled that Kurt “was totally in denial that he had a heroin problem.” Stimson tried to make him understand the seriousness of the Rome incident, but Kurt told him, “I understand. I just want to get cleaned up and out of here.” Meanwhile, Courtney was attempting her own withdrawal a few miles away at the five-star Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, where a doctor was supervising a treatment plan called “hotel detox”—supposedly meant to shield celebrities from the media spotlight of a public rehab center.
    That afternoon, Jackie Farry, one of Frances’s nannies, brought the baby to the clinic to visit Kurt, who played with his daughter for about twenty minutes. Kurt complained to Farry about his battles with Courtney over Lollapalooza. The next day, Jackie brought Frances to visit again, and this time Kurt played with the nineteen-month-old baby for almost an hour, tossing her in the air and making her giggle—Frances Bean’s favorite game.
    After they left, Kurt went outside and smoked a cigarette with another rock star resident, his friend Gibby Haynes of the Butt-hole Surfers. Haynes told him about a friend who had recently escaped Exodus by jumping over the wall in the backyard. They both laughed at the story because Exodus wasn’t a lockdown facility and there was therefore no reason to escape. Anybody could just walk right out the front door anytime they wanted.
    Later that evening, at 7:25 P.M., Kurt told a nurse he was going outside to smoke a cigarette, this time alone. It wasn’t until an hour later that the Exodus staff noticed him missing. He had scaled the same wall that he and Gibby Haynes had joked about earlier in the day.
    Seven days later, his body was

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