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Nirvana Fans Despair at Singer’s Death : Reaction: A sense of <i> deja vu </i> hits followers of influential band as Kurt Cobain joins list of fallen rockers whose early demise seemed foretold.

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Familiar with the details of his troubled life, but appalled at the way he died, fans of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain were shocked Friday. But they were not surprised.

“I saw it coming--from the beginning,” said Aaron Smith, a 21-year-old employee at the Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Smith, from Seattle like Cobain, remembered seeing him after a concert two years ago. “He was just real solemn--like he didn’t like it. He was seemingly depressed--at the time he should have been happiest.”

Nonetheless, news of his apparent suicide prompted gasps Friday.

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“Oh, my God!” cried Suzi Brownsteen, clapping her hand to her mouth. “I can’t believe it! It’s so weird.”

At the Virgin Megastore in Costa Mesa, Shawn Euzebio fought back tears: “His music touched lots of people--it got me through my own stuff.

“This is the first band I ever had somebody die on me,” said Euzebio, 20. “He was a spokesperson for our generation--he represented what we all feel in our lives, but he lived it.”

Indeed, the sense of deja vu was overwhelming as Cobain joined a long line of creative and self-destructive musicians.

“Another one bites the dust,” Mark Narramore, 35, said quietly as he flipped through Pink Floyd CDs at the Virgin Megastore in West Hollywood.

Some were infuriated.

“I’m so disappointed in him,” said Jodie Wilson, 24-year-old supervisor of Tower Records on Sunset. “I think it’s a very bad example to set. I know life gets bad but not this bad. And he had the power and the money to disappear and take care of himself. . . . Just think if some poor kid is sad and puts on a Nirvana album and thinks, ‘Hey, if he did it . . .’ ”

In fact, that was one thought going through the mind of an afternoon disc jockey on KROQ who offered up pleas to those listeners depressed about life, who might want to imitate Cobain, to call the station instead for sources of help.

A curtain of mourning descended on some L.A. rock stations, and the bass lines of Nirvana’s popular “Come As You Are” wafted across the airwaves all afternoon along with other Nirvana songs. Disc jockeys offered up melancholy reflections on the troubled Cobain and even the phone message recording from the Seattle medical examiner’s office that officially announced his death. KROQ announced that they would play Nirvana all Friday evening and postpone their promised Depeche Mode weekend.

Kevin Blair, 24, a musician shopping at the Virgin Megastore in West Hollywood, was already mourning the passing of the music. “The rawness of Nirvana is what I liked,” Blair said. “He’ll probably be a legend.”

At some record stores, the playing of Nirvana was spurned.

“I kind of feel that’s in bad taste--to encourage or glamorize the fact that someone shot themselves,” said Virgin Megastore floor manager Jon Nelson. Nonetheless, the store--which was flooded with calls all morning from fans desperate to learn whether Cobain was really dead--had no qualms about stocking up to supply the expected demand for Nirvana CDs. “We just ordered 150 more copies--as many as we could,” said Nelson. “That’s business.”


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