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Monday, October 15, 2007

Cobain, Conspiracy Theorists, and Cops

posted by on October 15 at 11:23 AM

Local photographer Curt Doughty emailed me this report of some crazy haps at Friday’s screening of the new Cobain documentary

“So, Friday night, I was at the 7:10 showing of Kurt Cobain: About A Son, the new movie based on the taped interviews by Michael Azerad, with still photography by Charles Peterson. They were both guest speakers and did a Q&A after the film. It was going well, with questions like “what was your favorite live Nirvana show?” and “what did Kurt smell like?” (Answer: a cross between cigarettes and heroin mixed with laundry detergent).

About 15 minutes into the Q&A this total nerd with a video camera started geek-speaking his way through a tirade about “Michael Azerad, hours after the discovery of the body, you were sitting beside Kurt Loder on MTV News declaring his death a suicide?” and going on and on about how “holding onto the tapes for the past 13 years” was somehow an indictment of Mr. Azerad in a coverup of yet another “Kurt was murdered” conspiracy theory… This weirdo was quickly interrupted by the audience, who were shouting things like “get the f*ck out of here” and “you’re ruining this for everyone” and “shut the f*ck up, you moron” and “somebody call the police!


The usher at the theatre came down and told the guy he was going to call the police, and the man stood up, approached both Peterson and Azerad, he was now holding two video cameras and shouting about his conspiracy theory. Charles told him to just "ask his question and leave so we can continue." So the man asked "why have you held onto these tapes for 13 years, because aren't you, Michael Azerad, the one who stands to gain from the release of these tapes if this movie does well"....

Mr. Azerad got a very serious look on his face, and said, "Ok, I'll tell you the truth, the reason I've held onto these tapes for so long, is because I know they're watching me, the CIA, there are microphones in my coffee mug, video cameras in my bathroom mirror..." etc. This set the crazy guy off, and he started shouting "It's not the CIA, it's the justice department, it's a murder!"

Some people in the theater were laughing, and others were completely agitated. A few people starting standing up to confront the guy, when the manager of the theatre came in and pushed him out the back door, through the curtains. You can see in the pictures, this stupid guy (in the baseball cap) and his video camera. He was also video taping all of this. Everyone in the theater was flipping the guy off, shouting "don't videotape me" and "this is private property, get the fuck out of here!"


The man left, everyone stood up and cheered. The police supposedly detained the man, but when everyone left the venue, he was still standing outside, in front of the police car with his tripod and his cameras in hand again.


It was terrible, sad and sick. What a nutbag."

RSS icon Comments


Oh, THAT guy. Why am I not surprised?

I don't have cable anymore. Is he still doing that shitty program?

Posted by Jason Josephes | October 15, 2007 12:10 PM

Why didn't the cops come in and taze the guy? That's standard practice here in America for his sort of disruptive behavior.

Posted by Dee in SF | October 15, 2007 12:12 PM

Okay, it probably sucked at the time, but it gave everyone there a pretty good story to tell later, right?

Posted by Carollani | October 15, 2007 12:30 PM

Where have you people been? This guy has been on public access for more than a decade with his "Who Killed Kurt Cobain?" show.

Posted by lurker | October 15, 2007 12:37 PM

Oh, it's Copious Nosehair Man! (Otherwise known as Richard Lee.

Posted by John Duffell | October 15, 2007 12:38 PM

I always hoped that dude and Goddess Kring would combine their shows

Posted by Jimmy Legs | October 15, 2007 12:43 PM

"shut the fuck up, you moron"

Classic. I wish I was there to say that.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 15, 2007 12:48 PM

Isn't there a minimum requirement for a job at The Stranger of at least a few evenings spent getting high and watching public access cable?

I can excuse the tip-sender-inner for not knowing this minor local celebrity on sight, but the Stranger staffer(s) who relayed the email don't get a pass. Especially since this nutball ran for Mayor a couple of times, with copious coverage in their paper.

Now I'm waiting for the SLOG post + photos about a painted naked poetry woman doing something, with no reference to Shannon Kringen...

Posted by robotslave | October 15, 2007 12:52 PM

@1 -- Lee's show is on at 11PM Saturdays on channel 77

Posted by Peter | October 15, 2007 12:56 PM

Anyone who does not know Richard Lee automatically betrays themself as a Seattle Newbie.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 15, 2007 1:03 PM

I God, I remember that guy. I'm obviously not a mental health expert, but he's definitely devolved into a case of something that's more serious than just an normal obsession.

Posted by Dougsf | October 15, 2007 1:05 PM

hot tipper and talented photog curt has been around forever, he is not a seattle newbie. clearly, he has better things to do with his time than spend it watching richard lee freak the fuck out on public access.

that movie, while filled with interesting music and beautiful shots, is one of the biggest bummers i've ever seen. it is the first time i have walked away from anything related to nirvana and thought, "shut up, kurt. you are tedious."

it is painful to listen to the ruminations of a 20-something mess, no matter how talented they are. i would love to see the film sans kurt's dialog.

Posted by kerri harrop | October 15, 2007 1:17 PM

This article is kind of weird. How come you don't refer to him as Richard Lee? He did run for Mayor of course so almost everyone knows him. Unfortunately, Cobain WAS murdered and it WAS covered up but Lee really turns the issue into a circus and people see him as a joke. I happen to accept the overwelming evidence put forth by Love's former private investigator.

Posted by Touring | October 15, 2007 1:20 PM

He didn't just run for Mayor. If memory serves, he stood up on a table in a dress during the middle of one of the debates and had to be removed.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 15, 2007 1:35 PM

richard lee deserves recognition. yes, he has been showing us his nose hairs for a decade but his nirvana collection is probably bigger than yours and access cable tv is on a come back. Richard Lee = Vern Fonk x 6 + Boma Cho.

Posted by nerd is a four letter word | October 15, 2007 1:48 PM

Boma Cho.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | October 15, 2007 2:00 PM

Richard Lee is no Vern Fonk (whatever the actors name is).

OMG, a depressive, junkie, artistic-type commits suicide? UNHEARD OF! I'm sorry, conspiracies seem super fun, but, um, no, I probably shouldn't point the thread in this direction actually...

Posted by Dougsf | October 15, 2007 2:10 PM

Azerad's response was perfect.

I had the opportunity to read one of Lee's documents, that he sent to various Seattle officials repeatedly during the '90s. The guy was grasping at straws then and is grasping at straws now.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 15, 2007 2:24 PM

I used to enjoy watching his show, especially when he had nothing new and would just replay the same minute long loop of classic footage for the entire hour. Sometimes it was his harassment of Krist Novoselic in a courtroom, sometimes it was something so processed you couldn't tell what it was. It was better for the soul than 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Marys...

Posted by Matt from Denver | October 15, 2007 2:25 PM

Richard Lee is the stupidest person who ever has lived. His show used to be entertaining, as it was mostly video of him wandering around stupidly, trying to cross paths with various Seattle scenesters, ineptly videoing his own face, and getting punched in said face after ineptly asking said scenesters the stupidest questions you've ever heard, and video of his camera flying across the street. I believe every one of the scenesters has a 100-yard restraining order out on him.

He's an amateur handwriting analyst too. I thought he was in the nuthatch; I guess he's out?

Posted by Fnarf | October 15, 2007 2:34 PM


"talented photog"

those photos are anything but talented. actually i'd say they're the worst photographs i've ever seen.

i *heart* richard lee.

Posted by cochise. | October 15, 2007 2:53 PM

@21 - These are quickie cell phone pictures, not Curt's next art gallery show. C'mon now

at #10 - I moved here from sunny downtown Detroit in late 1998. I was so broke I didn't even have a TV set until mid-1999. Couldn't afford a mattress and box springs until about 2001. Had to SHARE a tiny $475 a month apartment on 11th and Fir with ugliest brown carpet you've never seen. The landlord had no teeth. I was hustlin' to find a job. I almost moved back to Detroit to make a better life...

Um, I guess I kinda missed the buzz on Richard Lee.

I still don't have cable or channel 77.

Posted by KELLY O | October 15, 2007 3:18 PM

@22: Don't worry that you might seem unhip for not recognizing our hometown psycho, Kelly. Having no idea who Richard Lee is is the new black.

Posted by J.R. | October 15, 2007 3:32 PM

Richard Lee is enough of a Seattle institution that he should be made a mandatory Duck-stop.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 15, 2007 3:49 PM

I swear I used to live above him for a few months on 48th and Phinney. I ran into only once the entire time he lived there, and he gave me a scowl. Dude looked exactly like him....has anyone else in that neighborhood spotted him?

Posted by Brian | October 15, 2007 4:46 PM

This post brought back such memories --


Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | October 15, 2007 5:01 PM

I spotted Lee walking the streets of Phinney Ridge, about 65th and Linden, several years ago. I was terrified that he was living in my neighborhood, but I haven't seen him since (except downtown). That is one spectacularly gross mustache.

Posted by Fnarf | October 15, 2007 5:04 PM

anyone who fucks with self-assured uptight seattlites as much as richard is ok in my book. boston has mooninites & we have richard lee.

Posted by j4k | October 15, 2007 5:08 PM

@28: Let's talk to Boston about a trade.

Posted by J.R. | October 15, 2007 5:19 PM

In every crowd, at least one douche bag.

Kurt killed himself. Get over it. Let him rest in peace. Stay off the junk.

Posted by Reulbach | October 15, 2007 5:24 PM

Richard Lee diagnosis:

Neurotic obsessive-compulsive narcissist with Asperger's Syndrome and severe hygenic neglect.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Posted by DSM-IV | October 15, 2007 5:46 PM

Maybe Public Intern could stalk Richard Lee with a camcorder for a few years, and report back.

But yes, No. 6, Richard Lee and Goddess Kring getting it on could be the alt-reality hit of the season.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | October 15, 2007 6:08 PM

with the porn-review guy taping it and Jerkbeast narrating.

Posted by erin | October 15, 2007 8:16 PM

So,what's more revolting to yous guys, Richard Lee, or the idea that Kurdt's death wasn't a suicide? Jus' curious...

Posted by Yelly | October 15, 2007 11:25 PM

Someone please YouTube this episode of Lee's show. I don't have cable.

Posted by TiVo | October 16, 2007 12:10 AM

I've written a letter to the editor about this incident, hopefully they will print it in the next issue.

Honestly, I wasn't aware exactly who this man was, though I'd heard tale via Krist many years back (and I'm not exactly a Seattle newbie). Michael and I were totally blindsided by how intense and insane this man is. It's easy to pass him off as some eccentric until you are the victim of his attacks. Curt didn't mention that Lee then proceeded to follow Michael, my girlfriend and I back to our car, video camera inches from our faces and spitting vehement slurs. I really wanted to take him out, but the cop was following in his car for our safety. I'm glad I didn't have the chance to harm him - it wouldn't be the right reaction. But there is a history of suicide in my family so he was touching on some pretty raw nerves, not to mention that Kurt was a friend of ours.

He is obviously bipolar, manic and delusional. And fearless, which makes him potentially dangerous. We all felt traumatised the next day. If he ever comes near me again with that sort of behavior I will be seeking a restraining order.

Posted by Charles Peterson | October 16, 2007 11:31 AM

To previous comment by Charles Peterson:

You call me "bipolar, manic and delusional" as well as "insane," even though you claim you only vaguely know of my work.

Snappy psychobabble judgments are exactly what I was criticizing writer Azerrad for, offering the world a chance to close the books on Cobain's homicide the day the body turned up (as a primary source for MTV and others).

I am a social critic and a media critic, and I began in this field as a teen, a very long time ago. In the Cobain affair, no one has dared (in 13 years!) to challenge me on factual accuracy, but as you can see from all of these Slog postings, there is never a shortage of Seattle scenester rage against me. Does this make me feel safe? No.

You, Charles Peterson, had the juicy gig of being Sub Pop photog with lots of exclusive access to concerts, and thusly are the much-praised definitive snapper of grunge. Congrats, Chuck, but some of us aren't on life's gravy train. We have to work hard.

Your first reaction to my approach was to slap my camera down. No credible professional journalist would react in such a way. Violence is a too-real part of recording historical truths some would like to see remain buried.

"I really wanted to take him out," you write. As so many have said and yet here I am.

And far from being unfair to your chum Azerrad, I was enticed to follow him by his repeated utterances of "I did it," knowingly quoting the recent quasi-confessions of O.J. Simpson. But readers can judge this for themselves Saturday at 11 PM on cable.

Richard Lee
Seattle, WA
Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 8:51 PM

Posted by Richard Lee | October 16, 2007 8:47 PM

Correction: I had corrected that to read, "I am a journalist, social critic, and media critic..." but it didn't take. So minutes later I make the correction. --RL

Posted by Richard Lee | October 16, 2007 8:52 PM

If Kurt were alive today he would fucking HATE you. His contempt for obsessive "journalists" who pry into people's private lives for a story regardless of the ramifications was well documented (i.e.: Vanity Fair).

I could go on and on describing what is so obviously wrong with you but I won't as I am almost sure you thrive on such commentary being the narcissistic masochist you are.

I wish Kurt were still alive today. I really do. For many reasons but none so strong as the fact that if not for his death, you'd be just another poorly adjusted sociopath riding a moped through Phinney Ridge. You'd recognize what the rest of us already know despite your delusions of grandeur--you're nobody.

Posted by Boddah | October 17, 2007 8:28 AM

Mr Lee,

For the record I was attempting to turn your camera off. It was time for you to leave and you had no permission to film inside the Varsity.

What I did wasn't hard work? Shooting thousands of rolls of film (many at my own expense), putting out photo books, putting on shows, etc etc. Give me a break. It's called perseverance and talent. And having normal social skills.

What you perpetrated on Michael and I, Krist Novoselic, Greg Nickels, and others, is violence. You don't recognise it as such because of your mental illness, but it is. Richard, both my father and my brother suffer(ed) from bipolar, so I recognise the symptoms (and my father killed himself and my brother came very close). So I urge you to seek treatment and to please leave people alone. You don't understand how your behavior affects others. I'm sincere about this. You scared us, and pushed buttons about a dear friend of ours who killed himself. Of course I wanted to lash out. In hindsight we should have just apologised to rest of the audience and left the theater the moment you started escalating your verbal attack. I'm sorry we didn't.

Posted by Charles Peterson | October 17, 2007 10:58 AM

To the second comment by Charles Peterson:

At this moment I’m listening a very nice cover of Little Walter’s “My Babe” on the afternoon jazz program, and now the DJ has announced it as being by Curtis Stigers.

I mention this to emphasize that the world of music has its performers, its listeners, its journalists, and its cozy insiders, and the last group always seems out to gangsterize control of a scene enjoyed by the other three.

Your attitude is that of the insider. Your photos of the grunge years were competent, but they were created in an environment of exclusivity, so you had little competition, and the performers had little say in your capturing them for use by Sub Pop and others. So you made out quite well.

Although your photos often illustrate stories in newspapers and magazines, you have not gained any identification with working journalists. You think you have the right to turn my camera off? What is the basis of that belief? Even in Hollywood with the daily tussle of photogs and celebs, only very few incidents have ever occurred when a celeb has failed to understand that the law allows no such action. They are usually tried for assault.

Yet you write “What you perpetrated…was violence.” How idiotic. And you opine that I have no idea how this has upset you and others. Of course I fully understand how your self image is based on people praising you regularly, based on your supposed artistic achievement, and how you want to skate through life exploiting your association with Kurt Cobain (your “dear friend who killed himself”), while toeing the corporate line about the circumstances of his death, propagating the suicide myth. If someone does not conform to your need to function this way, your reaction is to slap his camera down. That makes you a pompous jerk, not a victim.

As for your amateur headshrinking in your instant diagnosis of me as being of the same mental disorder as your dad and your brother, again, that’s the sort of all-knowing rubbish I’m criticizing Azarrad and others for. In your case, you try to gain sympathy for your personal problems, then advocate violence against a journalist you assert is sick like some members of your family. And then matters of evidence seem unimportant, right, because you might get your feelings hurt.

I really had no interest in addressing you at all last Friday, but you are obviously very eager to show your fanaticism to your cause, that of the myth of the sweetness and innocence of the “music community.”

Richard Lee
Seattle, WA
Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 3:05 PM

Posted by Richard Lee | October 17, 2007 3:06 PM

Okay Richard. Just please don't ever come near me again.

Posted by Charles Peterson | October 17, 2007 6:14 PM

To comment 3 by Peterson:

Or you may explode into ape-shit violence, based on your genetic disposition, right? I trouble myself to mention this because as of the last few days, you have become very much more interesting to the story, hence no promises stated or implied, Chuck.

And with the "okay" of the last message, you are now conceding that your flat arguments were without merit and deceptive in nature, right?

Slog debate over, yes?

Richard Lee
Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 6:41 PM

Posted by Richard Lee | October 17, 2007 6:41 PM

Excluding your televised broadcast on cable-access, which by the way, ANYONE with valid ID can do, where else have you been published since Kurt's death? And the internet doesn't count, because, well, that would mean we are all "published" for commenting on Slog.

And how many restraining orders have been taken out on you? (Krist, the Mayor, etc...) How much time have you spent in jail?

Seems to me that if your criminal record is longer than your resume, that makes you a stalker, not a journalist.

Posted by Dan Rather | October 17, 2007 10:26 PM

Richard, stop fucking with all my friends. Move to Los Angeles. That, after all, is where COURTNEY LIVES YOU DUMB MOTHERFUCKER.


P.S. Heaven sucks. It looks a lot like Bellevue.

Posted by Kurt Cobain | October 17, 2007 10:31 PM

Slog debate over then Richard? Yes?

Posted by Dan Rather | October 19, 2007 8:30 AM

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