There have been a lot of different conspiracy theories about Kurt Cobain in the nearly-30 years since his unfortunate death by suicide. But a new one that I just learned about is Kurt actually faked his death and re-invented himself under a new name: Rivers Cuomo, the frontman of Weezer.
To be clear: this is utterly absurd, and arguably even a little insensitive, both to Cuomo, and to Cobain (though I suppose it's no less insensitive than any of the other Cobain conspiracies that have haunted his family and friends for decades).
I learned about this conspiracy on a recent episode of the Broken Record podcast, hosted by famed music producer and Def Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin, as well as others. Rubin interviewed Cuomo about the new Weezer record, OK Human, but starts off the conversation by asking him if he's familiar with the conspiracy theory.
Naturally, Cuomo then proceeds to conduct the (almost) entire interview in character as Kurt Cobain Who Faked His Death And Re-Invented Himself As Rivers Cuomo.
Rubin had previously produced the Weezer albums Make Believe and Red Album. He has an established relationship with Cuomo's particular brand of eccentricity, and there's clearly a sense of fun and dark humor in this weird interview style. Most of the podcast focuses on Cuomo's algorithmic, spreadsheet-driven approach to songwriting—which already makes for a pretty fascinating conversation, even if you don't particularly care for Weezer or Cuomo's robot-like workmanship. But commitment to the gag is pretty remarkable as well. Cuomo sticks with it, even as he reflects on his own development as a songwriter, going so far as to relate his meditation practices and piano playing back to "Kurt's" efforts to further distance himself from his past life.
It's weird. But also interesting.
Rivers Cuomo on Weezer's new approach and a wild Nirvana conspiracy [Rick Rubin / Broken Record podcast]
Image: DoD photo illustration by EJ Hersom (Public Domain)