The Brett Morgen-directed film hit UK cinemas in the spring, receiving its US television debut on HBO in May. Fully authorised by Cobain’s estate, the candid documentary offered unprecedented access to the musician’s archives, showcasing unheard recordings, never-seen-before footage and personal home movies.
Now, the grunge musician, a childhood friend of the Nirvana frontman, has taken issue with the contents of the movie in an article posted to The Talkhouse.
“I went to high school with Kurt and was a big part of all the Nirvana guys’ lives before and after they became famous,” Osborne writes. “I thought very highly of Kurt, Krist and Dave. We were good friends when they were all flat broke, long before they could buy big houses and cars with credit cards. My band played with Nirvana at their last show. I was there for the beginning and I was there for the end, for the very good and the very bad”
He continues: “First off, people need to understand that 90% of Montage Of Heck is bullshit. Total bullshit. That’s the one thing no one gets about Cobain – he was a master of jerking your chain.”
Osborne particularly refutes a revelation revealed in the movie that Cobain once had sexual intercourse with a local girl with learning difficulties: “For instance, I know the whole ‘I tried to fuck a fat retard’ story is complete bullshit. Not even an inkling of truth. That’s too good a story to have gone this long without me hearing about it, especially if, as he suggests, the girl’s father freaked out about it at the high school. In that small-town shit-hole, exciting news of that nature would have been common knowledge before the sun set. It never happened. And the trying-to-kill-himself-on-the-train-tracks story is bullshit as well. It never happened either. There it is, though, told in a recording of Kurt’s own voice so it must be true… right? Wrong.”
The guitarist, who was also a member of Cobain’s first band Fecal Matter, also downplayed Cobain’s alleged medical problems. “Kurt also told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with his stomach,” he states. “He made it up for sympathy and so he could use it as an excuse to stay loaded. Of course he was vomiting — that’s what people on heroin do, they vomit. It’s called ‘vomiting with a smile on your face’.”
Osborne continues to speculate about the reliability of Cobain’s widow and Hole singer, Courtney Love, who repeatedly appears in the film. “And then there’s Courtney,” he writes. “A lot of what she says in this documentary doesn’t exactly jibe with things Kurt told me himself, but I suppose that’s not surprising when you consider history becomes elastic every time Courtney Love opens her mouth. For instance, she’d have us believe that Kurt tried to off himself when she’d only thought about cheating on him? Wow. That’s a whole lot different from the stories he told me in regards to Courtney’s behavior — and this was well before he ended up dead. And that’s just one example.”
“When Courtney speaks, the truth is certainly there, but God only knows where it begins and ends. In the 20 years since Kurt’s death, the undisputed facts of some of her stories seem to change almost hourly. I remain unconvinced in regards to her testimony, and I don’t think I’m alone.”
Osborne continues to describe the film as “misguided fiction”, adding: “I find it amusing that the filmmakers never bothered to fact-check simple stuff like this, and just took Kurt and Courtney at their word. That’s a bit risky when you’re supposed to be making a behind-the-scenes documentary — but not surprising considering that not a lot of what’s out there about Kurt is the truth anyway. But no one seems to care. Unfortunately, it matters very little what the facts are; what matters is what people believe. And when it comes to Cobain, most of what they believe is fabricated nonsense. Montage Of Heck does nothing to counter that. With that in mind, it’s really hard to take any of this film seriously… I suppose this movie will be interesting for Nirvana completists, because it certainly reinforces their already twisted view of the man. I found it to be mostly misguided fiction.”
He does, however, add: “They did a fantastic job of showing what a depressing shit-hole Aberdeen really was and still is. For that, I salute them!” Read the full article here.
The film’s director Brett Morgen recently revealed plans to release an album of Cobain’s solo recordings, after discovering over 200 hours worth of material while researching his film. “It’s not a Nirvana album, it’s just Kurt and you’re going to hear him do things you never expected to come out of him,” he told US publication Bedford + Bowery.
Watch director Brett Morgen discuss Montage Of Heck in a video interview below.