“Soaked in Bleach” is the docudrama retelling of Tom Grant’s investigation into the disappearance (and, ultimately, the suspicious death) of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. The film is done in the style of a real-crime TV mystery, weaving together dramatic re-creations with witness testimony and the examination of artifacts from the 20-plus-year-old case. Cobain died on April 5, 1994.
“I never really saw this film as my story,” Grant says in a telephone interview to promote a local screening of the film at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Fulton 55.
Officially, Grant was a consultant who was paid to make sure the story was authentic and the information was presented as accurately as possible. But the retired private investigator is a central character in the continuing story of Cobain’s death. Grant was hired by Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, to track down her missing husband just days before his death. That investigation, along with a followup investigation after Cobain’s body was discovered, led Grant to conclude that the death was likely not a suicide as it was officially ruled at the time, but rather the result of foul play.
Grant started a website dedicated to his discoveries and has became famous (and reviled by some) for his theory.
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“Whenever anybody famous dies, they have millions of fans all over the world. They want to know every detail,” Grant says.
Every time somebody famous dies, people seem to shout foul play.
Tom Grant, private investigator whose work inspired the film, “Soaked in Bleach”
Grant is careful to say what he thinks happened to Cobain, or who may be responsible, although the film paints an interesting picture. In June, a legal team representing Love tried to block theaters from showing the film.
For his part, Grant does believes someone was with Cobain when he died.
“He was up in the greenhouse doing heroin with the killer or killers,” Grant says.
But the how of it all is secondary at this point. Mostly, Grant is looking to get information out to people in the hope that a public outcry may force Seattle police to reclassify the case. Such cases have been reclassified and even reopened, Grant says. Natalie Woods’ death is a recent example. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department reopened the case in 2011.
So far, officials in the Cobain case don’t seem open to the idea, Grant says. “They say the case is closed. It will never be reopened.”
There are those who see Grant as a villain, who think he is profiting on the death of a celebrity. Grant is willing to take those arguments. He was simply doing his job, he says. “This was my job to do, professionally.”
The screening of “Soaked in Bleach” will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Grant, then a musical tribute to Cobain and Nirvana featuring local acts Wintercoat, Dead and Incoming Rush. Details: 6 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Fulton 55, 875 E. Divisadero Ave. $15-$20. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
Also this week:
California Beach Boys
The event: Mike Amaral brings his California Beach Boys tribute show to the Tower Theatre.
The draw: Songs about cars and surfing, high school rivalries and California girls. Much like the Beach Boys themselves, Amaral grew up surfing and playing music on the California coast. His California Beach Boys recreates the band’s on-stage looks – along with its lush harmonies and surf guitar tones.
“Our goal has always been to replicate the music and concert experience so the audience member doesn’t know if they’re in 1966 or 2016,” Amaral says.
Until they play “Kokomo.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at the Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $28.50-$50. 559-412-7400, www.towertheatrefresno.com
Who’s who of local blues
The event: The Central Valley Blues Society celebrates its 14th anniversary with a Sunday afternoon cavalcade of all-star performers.
The draw: More than two dozen musicians will be sharing the stage in a cross-generation representation of the local blues scene. A partial list of performers includes AC Myles, Trey Tosh, Roger Perry, (Blues hall-of-famer) Richie Blue, Lucky Lopez, Bill Clifton, Don Heflin and Baby Bee.
Details: 4 p.m. Sunday at Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St. $10-$12. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
More blues with Bonamassa
The event: Speaking of blues, guitarist Joe Banamassa makes a return trip to Fresno to play Saroyan Theatre.
The draw: Keeping The Blues Alive is the name of the nonprofit Bonamassa started in 2011. It’s also pretty much what he does with his music and live shows. The guy was a child prodigy whose earliest gigs included opening for B.B. King, so he can obviously play. He is also prolific, releasing albums at a rate of one-plus every year for the past 15 years. And he’s seeing success outside the traditional “blues” crowd: His 2014 album, “Different Shades of Blue,” debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and his latest, “Blues Of Desperation,” hit No. 12. Both had the top spot on blues charts, along with just about every other album he has released. In January, Bonamassa headlined two shows at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York.
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at Saroyan Theatre. $82-$128. 559-745-3000, wwww.ticketmaster.com