So now I know Courtney did Kurt Cobain dirty (though not in the way that’s been presented by other sources) and she did Chris Newman dirty, she probably did Naomi Levich dirty, and she’s been doing me dirty too. So I’m not worried anymore about hurting her feelings by dragging out everything else. I’m also not quite as concerned about “protecting” Rozz Rezabek as I’ve been in the past. It’s not that I want anything bad to happen to him, because I don’t. I genuinely like Rozz. But I don’t think that my keeping the diary story quiet is going to be that helpful to him. His life is in danger because of this.
Courtney Love tended to distribute Kurt Cobain’s belongings to other people. Rozz apparently ended up with a lot of them. He said that an ex-girlfriend absconded with a bunch of items, but he still had some when I knew him (2008-2014). Chris Newman often told the story about when Courtney lived in the Napalm Beach band house (first half of 1981), and had left a journal on her bed, maybe even open, and he peeked into it, and read an entry about how she had a crush on him, he was a genius guitar player, but she didn’t know what her friends would say, because he was “fat.” She was just 16 and he was 27. This of course did double duty of making him feel both admired and belittled. His “fatness” as being a deal breaker came up again and again – the same month that Chris and I became a couple – March 2009 – Chris had been out at a bar and run into Courtney Taylor Taylor of the Dandy Warhols who told Chris that the reason he never got anywhere musically is because he “got fat.”
Anyway, make no mistake, Chris was supposed to find that journal. Soon they were making out and Courtney told him she was a virgin and she wanted him to be “her first.” That didn’t happen. However, not long after that, the band drove to Seattle to play a show at the University of Washington Hub, where they made a decent amount of money. On the way back, Chris said, Courtney begged Chris to ride in back with her. He wouldn’t. The other guitar player they had at the time, Mark Nelson, rode in the back with her, and later bragged to Chris that he had “devirginized” Courtney. Chris didn’t know whether or not that was a lie or the truth.
Courtney Love also had a tendency to leave journals behind. I suspect there was something strategic in this. One day, probably around 2010 or 2011, Rozz Rezabek called me up and said something along the lines of “I have a couple of journals of Courtney’s and in them she says she’s going to fuck Chris Newman, the guitar god. Want to see?” So I thought, yeah, I want to see. I went to his house and he handed me two journals, one from the latter half of 1981 as I recall, and one from 1982. This would have been after she was no longer living in the Napalm Beach house. And I looked through each journal and the writing was straight and neat and perfectly spelled and there was nothing about Chris at all in either journal. Rozz didn’t really have a comment about that. What I remember were things about other people in music (not so much musicians as people around the scene), a page with the word “Rozz” written over and over, and a to-do list that included getting Poison Idea into the Berkeley-based punk zine, Maximum Rock n’ Roll. Which apparently she did shortly afterward. I couldn’t find Chris’ name anywhere. Later I asked to see the diaries again and Rozz got real cagey about it, so I never saw them again. But I think that the hidden point was the double meaning of the word “fuck.” It wasn’t romantic.
And by the way, I think that’s how Kurt Cobain also intended to use the word “fuck,” at least in part, when he announced on live TV whenever it was that Courtney was the “best fuck in the world.” And/or it had to do with sex as a metaphor for gaining juice in the music business. Whatever Courtney Love had pulled off in the Napalm Beach band house, and probably in other activities, had gained her access to something powerful. Also, I now believe that the entire reason I was introduced to Rozz was to give her even more power. A lot of this is in the 2010 song “Pacific Coast Highway” – The first line is “I knew a boy who came from the sea” – Rozz grew up in Bandon, Oregon where the sign at the edge of town reads “Bandon by the sea.” With regards to that song, who exactly is the boy who “left me so damaged”? Is she insinuating that it was Chris? Or Mark Nelson? It’s pretty clever to drop hints of this type and allow people to draw their own conclusions.
Chris Newman’s history with Courtney was exaggerated by Flying Heart Records’ Jan Celt. Courtney wrote Chris letters from Europe but it’s not clear that they were literally “love letters” as Celt told the local music press. The were part of Chris’ belongings that were thrown out in 1996 by his landlord and brother in law. Chris said she wrote to him that he should go to Europe. Links between Chris and Courtney were further exaggerated by Eric Danielson in his essay and self-published book/s about Chris, insinuating the two of them had some ongoing romance, or that she had an ongoing crush on him that she only “dropped” when she met Kurt Cobain. As I’ve said before, Danielson has overtly refused to correct “errors” in his writing. That, I allege, is sign of a larger agenda, either to make Chris look self-aggrandizing (which he wasn’t) or to feed the rumor that they had been sexually involved, or to give Courtney even more power by making their relationship seem to have been more, and different, than what it was. I can’t think of a good reason to lie about this.
Courtney herself fed this idea in ways that made Chris feel special. For example, when she saw him with his girlfriend Nancy Loeffler in the late 1980s she said loudly “I would have married you Chris Newman!” and when he saw her play at La Luna in 1994 right after she’d appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone for Live Through This, she greeted him from the stage. That was a nice gesture, but it was always bait and switch after that, and who knows what she was saying or doing behind the scenes. In all honesty, by 1994, he should have had a lot more going for him than having Courtney Love greet him from stage. He had the talent, the tenacity and the catalog. He had done the work.