Kurt Cobain's brother to sell £1.7M guitar that Courtney Love gave him

Kurt Cobain’s little brother to sell £1.7MILLION guitar that rockstar’s widow Courtney Love gave him

  • Kurt Cobain’s guitar is expected to sell for £1.7m when it goes up for auction

Music icon Kurt Cobain’s younger brother Chad has revealed the personal story behind a guitar, which was on display in Co. Kildare last week and which is expected to fetch up to €2m (£1.7m) when it goes up for auction.

The Fender Skystang, which the Nirvana frontman played for most of the group’s final tour, including their last ever show, was on display at the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons along with a pair of jeans, a cardigan and more of Cobain’s belongings, before being sold by Julien’s Auctions next month in Nashville.

The guitar – valued at between €1m and €2m – was gifted to a 14-year-old Chad by Kurt’s wife Courtney Love, after his brother’s death in April 1994.

‘The memory that I’ll always have of Kurt onstage, or just Kurt in general, in my mind is him at the MTV Live and Loud concert in Seattle [in December 1993],’ Chad said. ‘I was at that show and he’s holding that specific guitar and even before I was gifted this guitar by Courtney, it was always in my memory. And then when she handed it to me, I was like: ‘I know that guitar.’ ‘

GUITAR HERO: Cobain with his Skystang in 1990. The guitar has a distinctive yellow V on the pickguard

PRIZE GUITAR: Chad with Martin Nolan and Nirvana’s guitar technician Earnie Bailey. The guitar is expected to fetch up to €2m when it goes up for auction in Nashville next month

Julien’s Auctions executive director Martin Nolan, who is originally from Athlone, met Chad in Seattle three weeks ago, and described him as a ‘super cool, shy guy’.

Mr Nolan told the Irish Mail on Sunday: ‘Chad said he didn’t go [to Nirvana concerts] to see his brother, it was just an excuse to go to a rock concert. He didn’t see it as his brother up there, just this great band.’

The guitar was locked away in a closet in his ‘small, one-bed apartment’ before Chad got married and loaned it to Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture in 2007.

Love stipulated that her young brother-in-law learn the guitar when she gave it to him.

‘He learned to play, but not as good as his brother – as he would admit himself,’ Mr Nolan said.

The guitar – which has a distinctive yellow V on the pickguard – comes with its original strings and strap. ‘Kurt hated anything to do with corporate or branding, so he put black masking tape over the Fender logo on the guitar strap and it’s still there,’ Mr Nolan explained.

Also on display in Co. Kildare last week, and set to go on sale next month, are a pair of Cobain’s jeans, a cardigan, a packet of cigarettes and some hand-written notes and doodles, all of which were left behind when the singer exited rehab in March 1994.

Mr Nolan told the MoS: ‘The person who was with him in rehab kept them all these years and now has decided to let them go. Kurt was a great artist. Some of the doodles are brilliant and when you read the stuff he’s written, it’s really incredible where his mind was at.’

Julien’s authenticated the items and Mr Nolan said the jeans, Levis 501s decorated by his friend Lori Barbero and seen in various iconic photo shoots, will go for ‘a lot of money’.

FAMILY MAN: Kurt with daughter Frances Bean and wife Courtney Love, who gave the guitar to his brother Chad

The green cardigan worn by Cobain during the band’s famous MTV: Unplugged concert went for €340,000. The cigarettes, meanwhile, are expected to fetch between €800 and €1,200.

Julien’s sold the acoustic guitar from the MTV concert in 2020 for just over €6m, while the Fender Mustang from the Smells Like Teen Spirit video went for over €4.7m last year.

Celebrating 20 years of Julien’s, Mr Nolan said they have ‘turned up the volume’ on the auction, to take place in the Hard Rock Cafe, Nashville, from November 16-18.

‘There’s over a thousand items going on the auction block including Paul McCartney’s bus from the Wings Over Europe tour, 1972 -1973, which is really cool as well.’

The auctioneer also sold the iconic gown worn by Marilyn Monroe when she serenaded President Kennedy for €4.8m and became embroiled in further controversy more recently when Kim Kardashian wore it to the Met Gala. ‘Kim’s a client of Julien’s and a friend as well, so she asked if we could connect her with the owners of the dress,’ he recalled. ‘That was a hugely successful project for everyone, despite the negative backlash from some people.’

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