April 5 is a day that marks the death of 3 famous musicians. One of them a legend in rock music and the other two part of the movement known as Grunge that started in Seattle and took over the world in the early 90s. Today we remember Cozy Powell, Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain.
Kurt Cobain, frontman for Nirvana was found dead at his home in Seattle on April 8, 1994. Forensics determined his death had occurred on April 5. The cause of the 27 year old artist's death was declared suicide. Cobain was found with a gunshot to the head and a shotgun across his body, the presence of a nearby suicide note seemed to solidify the circumstances.
Over the years there has been speculation that Cobain was murdered, mostly perpetuated by his widow Courtney Love. Kurt Cobain left behind a wife, a daughter, a successful band and millions of fans.
Colin Trevor “Cozy” Powell was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and he was adopted right after birth. At the age of 12, he started playing the drums. Through the years, he was accredited for playing on at least 66 albums. Some of the bands he played for are Rainbow, MSG, Whitesnake, and Black Sabbath. Not only was he a musician, he also wrote and produced as well.
On April 5, 1998, Powell was traveling to the home of the married woman he was seeing after she had phoned him telling him she was having problems with her husband. He was traveling at a high rate of speed, 104 mph for the 35 mile trek. The woman phoned him again while he was on his way and asked “Where are you?” to which he had responded that he was on his way. The next thing she heard was him saying “oh shit” followed by a loud bang. Powell had crashed and was ejected through the windshield and was pronounced dead at the scene. His blood alcohol level was above the limit and he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt. Powell was 51 years old at the time of his passing.
Layne Rutherford Staley was the lead singer for the band Alice in Chains founded in 1987 with the bands guitarist, Jerry Cantrell. Staley learned to play drums at the age of 12 and had played with a few glam bands in his early teens. In 1997, Cantrell saw Staley perform with Staley’s then band, “Alice N’ Chains” which later became “Alice IN Chains”. Cantrell was impressed with his vocals. He stated that he knew once he heard him sing, that he was the one he wanted to be in a band with. He sounded like no one else. He had the versatility of power projecting and sounding vulnerable at the same time and that is a rarity.
On April 19, 2002, Staley’s accountants contacted his manager, Susan Silvers, alerting her that there had been no bank activity in 2 weeks. Silvers then contacted Staley’s mother who then contacted the police. His mother, her ex husband and police went to Staley’s home where he was found dead. It was reported that Staley, with his 6 foot stature, weighed only 86 pounds. The autopsy concluded that he had been dead since April 5. Included in the autopsy, they revealed that he had passed from a “speedball” which is the combination of heroin and cocaine. He was only 35 yrs old.
Interesting that the deaths of both grunge band members occurred on the same date in separate years and neither Cobain nor Staley were found immediately.