Craig Marks does not remember who was supposed to be on the cover of Spin's June 1994 cover -- probably not Pearl Jam ("that would be too ironic," he said when reached by phone). But he does remember the extraordinary circumstances under which Spin staffers put together the magazine issue referred to internally for years as "Dead Kurt."
Marks was the magazine's music editor at the time and was in Indiana when he heard that Cobain's body had been found on Friday, April 8, 1994. He flew back to New York to help crunch out a tribute issue. "There was no doubt we were going to put Kurt on the cover," he said. But as the magazine (for which I later worked) mustered its forces, one of its employees, Research Editor Daniel Fidler, died of a heroin overdose.
Nirvana in 1991. (AP Photo/Chris Cuffaro, File)"These two things were at the very least cosmically related," Marks said, "and so while we were trying to put out this issue we were dealing with the death of a friend and a co-worker, so it was a very emotionally rough time period." The magazine dedicated the June 1994 issue to Fidler.
Marks also remembers that Spin had someone on the ground in Seattle at the time -- Jim Greer, then a senior contributing writer, who Marks recalled begged off writing something. "He kind of choked," Marks said. "I remember having a lot of animated conversations with Jim Greer about why he couldn't file a story."
Reached by email, Greer said, "Kurt was a friend and I never had any intention of writing about his death for Spin. I didn't talk to Craig until several days afterwards, at which point we had a conversation that could be characterized as animated."