Like Pete Townshend of The Who and Paul Simonon of The Clash before him, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain seemed to have a bit of a fondness for smashing his beloved guitars onstage. Now, you have the chance to own the shattered remains of one of these guitars (trust us, it’s more impressive than it sounds!).
Back in May of 1990, just under a year after the release of Nirvana’s debut record Bleach, the band took to the stage in Atlanta, Georgia, where Kurt Cobain was armed with an Aria Pro II Cardinal Series guitar.
Cobain would play this guitar for the following 14 shows until, during the group’s performance at the Motorsports International Garage Show in Seattle, the guitar met a fate akin to what many of Cobain’s other guitars would face. Now, it can be all yours thanks to the fine folks at Julien’s Auctions.
This show during which the guitar was destroyed featured Mudhoney’s Dan Peters on drums, while future drummer Dave Grohl was in attendance in the audience. While Cobain played a Mosrite Gospel guitar for the majority of the set, he switched to the Aria Pro II at some point, before smashing it during the show’s final moments.
Thankfully, a security guard named Richard Newland picked up the guitar, and it has remained in his possession since. While Cobain asked him if he could remove the pickups from the guitar, it has remained in its smashed state ever since, which includes the remnants of two strings, the word ‘Nirvana’ carved into the remainder of the neck, and the instrument’s serial number.
According to Earnie Bailey, a guitar tech for Kurt Cobain, the instrument in question was one of Cobain’s favourites, indicated by its destruction, since Kurt preferred to destroy the guitars he liked the most.
Julien’s Auctions reckon the guitar is set to sell for between $40,000-60,000 USD, and is currently sitting at a bid of just above $30,000. If you’re the lucky bidder though, you’ll also score a bootleg Nirvana album called Live 1994 (despite all the recordings being made in 1993), which features an image of Kurt and the guitar on the cover.
Of course, if you’re after a guitar that’s a little more intact (and a lot more intact), then you can also bid on the first electric guitar owned by The Beatles’ George Harrison, which is arguably one of the most impressive pieces of musical memorabilia you’ll find anywhere. Otherwise, head along to the Julien’s Auctions page and start throwing down all your hard-earned cash for a bit of musical history.