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Nirvana: The Biography

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As the assistant editor of Melody Maker, Everett True was the first journalist to cover the Seattle music scene in early 1989 and interview Nirvana. He is responsible for bringing Hole, Pavement, Soundgarden, and a host of other bands to international attention. He introduced Kurt Cobain to Courtney Love, performed on stage with Nirvana on numerous occasions, and famously As the assistant editor of Melody Maker, Everett True was the first journalist to cover the Seattle music scene in early 1989 and interview Nirvana. He is responsible for bringing Hole, Pavement, Soundgarden, and a host of other bands to international attention. He introduced Kurt Cobain to Courtney Love, performed on stage with Nirvana on numerous occasions, and famously pushed Kurt onto the stage of the Reading Festival in 1992 in a wheelchair. Nirvana: The Biography is an honest, moving, incisive, and heartfelt re-evaluation of a band that has been misrepresented time and time again since its tragic demise in April 1994 following Kurt Cobain's suicide. True captures what the band was really like. He also discusses the music scene of the time-the fellow bands, the scenes, the seminars, the countless live dates, the friends and allies and drug dealers. Drawn from hundreds of original interviews, Nirvana: The Biography is the final word on Nirvana, Cobain, and Seattle grunge.


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As the assistant editor of Melody Maker, Everett True was the first journalist to cover the Seattle music scene in early 1989 and interview Nirvana. He is responsible for bringing Hole, Pavement, Soundgarden, and a host of other bands to international attention. He introduced Kurt Cobain to Courtney Love, performed on stage with Nirvana on numerous occasions, and famously As the assistant editor of Melody Maker, Everett True was the first journalist to cover the Seattle music scene in early 1989 and interview Nirvana. He is responsible for bringing Hole, Pavement, Soundgarden, and a host of other bands to international attention. He introduced Kurt Cobain to Courtney Love, performed on stage with Nirvana on numerous occasions, and famously pushed Kurt onto the stage of the Reading Festival in 1992 in a wheelchair. Nirvana: The Biography is an honest, moving, incisive, and heartfelt re-evaluation of a band that has been misrepresented time and time again since its tragic demise in April 1994 following Kurt Cobain's suicide. True captures what the band was really like. He also discusses the music scene of the time-the fellow bands, the scenes, the seminars, the countless live dates, the friends and allies and drug dealers. Drawn from hundreds of original interviews, Nirvana: The Biography is the final word on Nirvana, Cobain, and Seattle grunge.

30 review for Nirvana: The Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ben Winch

    Just from the title (Nirvana: The True Story - geddit?) I should have known - this is another self-promotional exercise a la Nick Kent, in which the writer attempts to convince us that he's as important as his ostensible subjects. His justification? He knew Courtney Love, drove around in the van a few times with Nirvana, even got up and sang with them on occasion. All well and good, and the fact that he was a Beat Happening fan from way back is great too, because he's able to put the whole Olymp Just from the title (Nirvana: The True Story - geddit?) I should have known - this is another self-promotional exercise a la Nick Kent, in which the writer attempts to convince us that he's as important as his ostensible subjects. His justification? He knew Courtney Love, drove around in the van a few times with Nirvana, even got up and sang with them on occasion. All well and good, and the fact that he was a Beat Happening fan from way back is great too, because he's able to put the whole Olympia influence in context. There's a wealth of information here and maybe if I hadn't already read half of it in the Charles R. Cross biography I would have made it to the end. But whether or not this dude is 'The Legend' of Creation Records fame and was pivotal in introducing grunge to the UK music press and then the world, I basically can't stand to read another sentence for fear it will spiral into megalomania. The guy lives in Brisbane now - a small scene, in which I can only presume he's making a hell of a noise. The only recent music bio as irritating as this is Kris Needs's The Scream: The Music, Myths & Misbehaviour of Primal Scream (another English writer far too enamoured with the first person POV). No, being a friend of the band does not qualify you to write their biography - it qualifies you to be interviewed by a real biographer. Cut the shit and tell us what you know!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    fucking everett true. don't waste your time on this shit. everett is way more entranced by his own imagined celebrity than anything else. this book was outrageously long--over 500 pages, & it was published on that irritatingly thick paper that weighs like three timesmore than normal paper, so the books weighed like ten pounds. ten fucking pounds of everett true bragging about being friends with kurt cobain. no one gives a fuck, dude. read this is you are an obsessive nirvana fan, maybe, or i fucking everett true. don't waste your time on this shit. everett is way more entranced by his own imagined celebrity than anything else. this book was outrageously long--over 500 pages, & it was published on that irritatingly thick paper that weighs like three timesmore than normal paper, so the books weighed like ten pounds. ten fucking pounds of everett true bragging about being friends with kurt cobain. no one gives a fuck, dude. read this is you are an obsessive nirvana fan, maybe, or if you are writing your thesis on smug english music critics, but skip it otherwise.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hanaa

    All right, i'm a huge fan of Nirvana, and I do enjoy picking up books that have to do with music. The downside is they usually fail me, unless they are written properly. This book is MASSIVE, in my opinion, a Nirvana book does not have to be 500+ pages. They had a short-lived career; Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic went on to prusue other careers in music, and Kurt Cobain died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. I mean, we don't need another biography on Nirvana. 1989-1994, FIVE YEARS. All right, i'm a huge fan of Nirvana, and I do enjoy picking up books that have to do with music. The downside is they usually fail me, unless they are written properly. This book is MASSIVE, in my opinion, a Nirvana book does not have to be 500+ pages. They had a short-lived career; Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic went on to prusue other careers in music, and Kurt Cobain died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. I mean, we don't need another biography on Nirvana. 1989-1994, FIVE YEARS. Huge band, died at their peak. Oh well. Just don't waste your time with this book. Seriously.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kyla

    was this book about Nirvana, Kurt Cobain or Courtney Love? I found myself questioning that through the whole book, while the author seemed very knowledgeable about Nirvana he barley mentioned the members Krist and Dave he seemed completely obsessed with Courtney and even mentions that he had a crush on her , I really was.annoyed by this the only thing ms Love had too do with Nirvana was the fact she was married to Kurt yet she was talked about at length through the book, I did however enjoy the was this book about Nirvana, Kurt Cobain or Courtney Love? I found myself questioning that through the whole book, while the author seemed very knowledgeable about Nirvana he barley mentioned the members Krist and Dave he seemed completely obsessed with Courtney and even mentions that he had a crush on her , I really was.annoyed by this the only thing ms Love had too do with Nirvana was the fact she was married to Kurt yet she was talked about at length through the book, I did however enjoy the authors writing style which is the only reason I gave this book more then a two star rating

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester Olson

    My own interest in grunge music has been... delayed. I was probably a little too young for Nirvana to truly appreciate them "back in the day". I was 9 years old when "Nevermind" was released. I remember seeing a "big kid" wearing a t-shirt with the "Nevermind" album cover, and thinking that it was just mean. And then there's the fact that I come from the "opposite side of the train tracks" from Kurt Cobain. My parents were extremely stable, educated people. Democrats, for sure, and surely concer My own interest in grunge music has been... delayed. I was probably a little too young for Nirvana to truly appreciate them "back in the day". I was 9 years old when "Nevermind" was released. I remember seeing a "big kid" wearing a t-shirt with the "Nevermind" album cover, and thinking that it was just mean. And then there's the fact that I come from the "opposite side of the train tracks" from Kurt Cobain. My parents were extremely stable, educated people. Democrats, for sure, and surely concerned for the plight of the poor and vulnerable in society. But I never had to deal with the desperation that was part of the lifestyle that Nirvana's music screamed bloody murder against. I was never spoiled (which I define as getting whatever you want whenever you want.... I've never understand how children can just point at a toy in a store and their parents will automatically buy it for them. If I ever did that, it would have entirely tanked my chances ever getting it. Instead I had to wait for Christmas or my birthday for a single $5 action figure....), but I was never in want for food or clean clothing or shelter. It's like what Jack Black says in "School of Rock": rock music is about whatever pisses you off. And at the age of 9, 10, 11, 12, there really wasn't anything that did piss me off because I was damned lucky to have the kind of responsible parents that every kid deserves. About the only thing that pissed me off were my asshole peers I had in middle school. What did they listen to? Nirvana. Everybody listened to Nirvana. I remember being asked several times who my favorite musicians were when I was in the sixth grade. My answer was always "Rogers and Hammerstein". Stupid response, I know (and I've long outgrown it), but it was my own hair-brained way of separating myself, or saying "Fuck you", to all the jerks I had to share class with. I don't know whose side Kurt Cobain would take if he had known what was going on. I doubt he had any patience for Rogers and Hammerstein's work, but he himself was an outsider as a teenager. Then, years later as a college student in Tacoma, I began to listen to 107.7 The End, and I discovered that I actually loved Nirvana's music. Because of that, and my general interest in the Pacific Northwest, I decided to read this book, but it took me a while to get around to it. It's not exactly a "Cascadian" book, but Nirvana and the grunge scene of the late 80s and 90s are extremely important to the Pacific Northwest, so I decided to review it as a "Cascadian" book anyway. The Northwest has always been a bit of an island away from the rest of North America. We have a sizeable population and plenty of development out here, yet we're a thousand-mile drive from San Francisco, Denver, or Minneapolis. The nearest big city outside our region is probably Calgary, itself an isolated locale. And the difference between the Northwest and California, in terms of settlement from colonial powers, is that while emigrants to California were more likely to be seeking huge fortune (the '49 gold rush, the entertainment industry in Hollywood, etc.), emigrants to the Northwest were more likely to be seeking a good life away from the rat races of the East Coast. Sooner or later, something interesting was going to happen artistically in this forgotten corner of the continent. Enter the "grunge" music scene of Washington state in the eighties. Everett True was among the British punk music journalists who paid attention to what was happening out here, and came to know Kurt Cobain personally before Nirvana was ever known to the rest of the United States. Then, in 1991, Nirvana "hit the big time". The rest of the world unexpectedly descended on the Northwest, "discovering" a few of the other local punk and metal bands (Pearl Jam), singling out their regional idiosyncrasies (flannel shirts!), and converting them into commercially-viable products. Their very own success bewildered Nirvana, deeply confusing and disturbing Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide after completing only two major albums ("Bleach" is awesome, but it was still just a local release). Everett True doesn't go into this much detail describing the Northwest, but what he does describe he mostly gets right (aside from the fact that he confuses the Kingdome with the Tacoma Dome). In all honesty, I couldn't imagine a better person to write a biography about Nirvana. He knew the members personally, covered them for several years while they were just a small-time band playing gigs with only ten people in the audience. While he counted Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love as friends, he still had his professional duties as a journalist, and could be critical when necessary. I imagine that much of the reason for the vitriol and low-ratings for this book is because it breaks with the conventional wisdom that music fans have regarding Nirvana. It would be a lie to suggest that Courtney Love wasn't a problem. But the mythology that has risen up around the band paints Love as a complete villain and Kurt Cobain as a complete martyr. Everett True does a more-than-competent job describing the intricacies and gray areas of the situation with reason and thoughtfulness, which for some who are seeking outright condemnation of Love and hero-worship of Cobain won't appreciate. People and relationships can be complicated, folks. Bitch that she may be, Love is also a legitimate artist. Brilliant as he could be, Cobain was still a junkie. There are probably lots of people out there who don't want to accept that, but it's true. As others have noted, it's a huge book. 500+ pages with small font printing. It took me two months to slog through it, but I enjoyed it the whole way. Part of the reason why it took me so long was because I would often stop to listen to music and watch the old music videos on YouTube. Everett True's book is well-written, rational, emotional, compelling, informative. It stoked my interest in several other grunge bands that I hadn't heard of before, namely Mudhoney and Tad, and I'd love to take on another book in the future that covers the Seattle and Olympia scenes outside of Nirvana in more depth. Five stars. Initially wanted to give it four because of the Kingdome/Tacoma Dome fuckup, but I had to admit that the volume was too enjoyable to do to that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    William

    At one point it had really felt we could've changed things, but with his suicide it was finally proved to me, irrevocably, this is what happens when you try to fuck with the system. Everett True was - pretty much - there from the start. Working for Melody Maker at the time, he was the first journalist in the UK to delve into the music scene of Seattle and the surrounding area. He travelled around the world with Nirvana, performed on stage with them multiple times, spent hour after hour with them, At one point it had really felt we could've changed things, but with his suicide it was finally proved to me, irrevocably, this is what happens when you try to fuck with the system. Everett True was - pretty much - there from the start. Working for Melody Maker at the time, he was the first journalist in the UK to delve into the music scene of Seattle and the surrounding area. He travelled around the world with Nirvana, performed on stage with them multiple times, spent hour after hour with them, becoming the rarest of things: a trusted journalist. Who introduced (albeit indirectly) Courtney Love to Kurt Cobain? Everett True. When Cobain was brought on to the headlining stage of Reading festival in a wheelchair in 1992, who was doing the pushing? Everett True. When Cobain died, who was the only journalist welcomed into the household? Everett True. After so many books, biographies, bootlegs and blogs about Nirvana, it's difficult for anyone to get a clear sense of what it was like at the time, what the band was about, what they meant...all that sort of stuff. It's hard not to have memories distorted by so many differing accounts. And so, it's about time that a book like this came out - a genuinely definitive book on the subject of Nirvana. This is the only one you need. Others have proved interesting reads, but have always been suspiciously angled. Charles R. Cross' Heavier Than Heaven, for example, has some wonderful anecdotes...but if you dig a bit deeper, at times it's worryingly biased in favour of Courtney Love, no doubt a result of her 'endorsement'. True offers us a hands-up-in-the-air, as-honest-as-can-be account of the few years in which Nirvana changed nothing by changing everything. At times he goes into an obsessive amount of detail, with interviews from pretty much anyone and everyone that played a part in the band's rise to stardom, with the main exception of Courtney Love. It's difficult to gauge whether the two are still on good terms, but judging by the lack of fresh input from Love, you'd assume not. Fortunately, True has a veritable library of interviews that he conducted with her over the years to draw from. The main reason this is the definitive Nirvana book is that it doesn't pretend to be definitive. So many stories surround the band, with conflicting reports from all quarters on every 'important' event. True always points out the different sides of the stories, noting quite rightly that half the time, you just can't be sure what the truth is. 'Kurtney', as he puts it, made up so many things in an attempt to throw people off the scent of their real selves; truths were refuted, myths became reality. It's Everett True's position as an insider that makes this book what it is. Without it, he'd be just another writer trying to capture what made this band and their music so special, and he'd be ten years too late in doing it, too. Instead, we're taken into the eye of the storm; a maelstrom of smashed guitars, world domination, passionate love affairs, and, ultimately, self-destruction. N.B. I never knew Nirvana was in Berlin the night the wall came down.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Easily the best Nirvana biography I have read. I was initially interested in reading this book because it was written by Everett True, who dedicated music fans might remember as the guy who "broke" Sub-Pop into the national consciousness with his early Melody Maker profiles. Of course, if you were old enough and cool enough you probably knew about that whole world much earlier, but I was young enough and uncool enough for it to be news to me. I remember one time in high school these older kids c Easily the best Nirvana biography I have read. I was initially interested in reading this book because it was written by Everett True, who dedicated music fans might remember as the guy who "broke" Sub-Pop into the national consciousness with his early Melody Maker profiles. Of course, if you were old enough and cool enough you probably knew about that whole world much earlier, but I was young enough and uncool enough for it to be news to me. I remember one time in high school these older kids came over to my neighbor's house and announced they were going to a Mudhoney concert. They asked us if we had ever heard of Mudhoney. No, we replied. Good, they laughed! That was an early indication for me of a secret world I knew nothing about. Anyways, Everett True later endeared himself to me even more by championing all things Riot Grrrl, a scene that I was a big fan of. Plus, he had and still has an enthusiastic fan type perspective to his writing. He really writes himself into the story here, which could be annoying but isn't since I know from other sources that he really was fairly central to the Nirvana story. He was probably the closest writerly person to the band there was. He may not have been granted all of the interviews from the main characters that the offical Nirvana biographer was, but he was able to secure access to many people who have never spoken about Nirvana before because he was their friend. Overall, definitely better than Heavier than Heaven. A good companion to Come As You Are but also better. Own this and the journals, if you must own anything.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    I didn't believe it was still possible to discover any uncharted waters as it pertains to Cobain and Nirvana, but this book did that. I have volumes upon volumes of books and DVD's of this material, and somehow this bio revealed new dimensions to the tragic saga. This writer brought a personal,much greater in depth touch, to counter most of the self-created mythology around this subject matter.The author is just about super annoying, but he delved way deeper into the very environments that creat I didn't believe it was still possible to discover any uncharted waters as it pertains to Cobain and Nirvana, but this book did that. I have volumes upon volumes of books and DVD's of this material, and somehow this bio revealed new dimensions to the tragic saga. This writer brought a personal,much greater in depth touch, to counter most of the self-created mythology around this subject matter.The author is just about super annoying, but he delved way deeper into the very environments that created and shaped Cobain and Nirvana. What I found really valuable and enlightening was the information he gleaned from relatively non-descript sources from the Olympia scene,casual acquaintances,fellow Seattle scene bands that I had assumed were rivals, and even Frances Bean's formerly drug-addled live-in nanny with his sordid account of the Dark Period aka the Kurtney years. I'm glad I took the time to give one more Nirvana bio a look, though the book is a door stopper, I tore through it. It seems highly unlikely that there is anything else left in the Nirvana ouevre for me to consume, but I'll probably find something at some point.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosa Vertov

    “Sister [Sonic Youth’s 1987 album] is more bad acid trips I never took,” stated Courtney Love to me in 1992, “plus physics or psychics, Philip K. Dick, astronomy, best bending of English and football, no boyfriends at all, no girlfriends either, lots of cigarettes and bad drugs, a frozen spring in a room all alone for six months not talking to anyone except the regulars at the strip bar. Bad wine and the same old stinky old nightie and trench coat, big holes in my shoes all over NYC, until I got “Sister [Sonic Youth’s 1987 album] is more bad acid trips I never took,” stated Courtney Love to me in 1992, “plus physics or psychics, Philip K. Dick, astronomy, best bending of English and football, no boyfriends at all, no girlfriends either, lots of cigarettes and bad drugs, a frozen spring in a room all alone for six months not talking to anyone except the regulars at the strip bar. Bad wine and the same old stinky old nightie and trench coat, big holes in my shoes all over NYC, until I got bag lady blisters and I had this record, anti-depressants don’t work now. Times Square is sick, I gotta go back to LA, maybe I’ll stop listening to this damn velvet shiny light Josephine Wiggs’ [Breeders bassist] sticky New York dark. I can’t get the rats out of my hair, angels are dreaming of you”. Shit, Courtney should've become a rock critic.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Plenty of interesting Nirvana history here, but discerning fact from fiction amid Everett True's "I was a big part of this story" delivery is problematic. Could just as easily have been titled Me and Nirvana by Everett True.

  11. 4 out of 5

    stupidus

    Like the name implies: this is a story of a band. To get inside the man, read Heavier Than Heaven : A Biography of Kurt Cobain. I recently read both of these books back-to-back because these are the two books out of three that are most commonly described as "accurate" (the third one being Come As You Are). Since Azerrad's book was not available in my local libraries at the moment, and having already seen the documentary "Kurt Cobain: About a Son" which featured Azerrad's audio interviews that wer Like the name implies: this is a story of a band. To get inside the man, read Heavier Than Heaven : A Biography of Kurt Cobain. I recently read both of these books back-to-back because these are the two books out of three that are most commonly described as "accurate" (the third one being Come As You Are). Since Azerrad's book was not available in my local libraries at the moment, and having already seen the documentary "Kurt Cobain: About a Son" which featured Azerrad's audio interviews that were used as a material for the book, I figured I'm not missing out on much one way or the other. I pretty much just wanted to know for once and for all why this funny, lovable guy ended up blowing his brain out for no good reason, and if we could not possible learn some lesson here. I'm just going to write about Cross' book too, since they are both intertwined in my mind as one book anyways (with the exception that Cross' book was actually well written). Since I was pretty much alive when Nirvana was only the biggest thing around in the popular culture, I already had the basics covered concerning the band. Even when my memories had grown vague about what Kurt had actually scribbled in his journals, I remembered that this guy was no accident. He was smart in his own way and anything but a guy who didn't know what he was trying to accomplish. Kurt wanted to become a rock star and he figured he had the drive and the talents to do so. Frankly, I don't understand why people want to hear so desperately about the bands rather than about the people behind those bands who make the actual music happen. I believe there has never been a successful band where its members' creative input (=significance) has been equal. In arts specifically democratic participation has never amounted to much if anything at all. All great bands are great because there's someone who says: "No, I need you to play it like this, that is just shit." Kurt was Nirvana's despot and without him it would not have existed at all. I'm happy that Dave Grohl still manages to get his kick out of touring with his AOR-band, but I'm even happier to see Krist Novoselic do something actually respectable. Writing Nirvana off as merely a fluke and a trend and Cobain as nothing but a druggie, is the easiest thing for people to say and to feel like a better wo/man. But let's get one thing straight first: Americans have been enchanted by drugs ever since they were introduced to the masses in the 60's and 70's. Not surprisingly in the 80's and early 90's every cool kid did dope as well. There's always certain amount of debauchery and egotistical behavior going on when we look into the lives of any rock band. Documenting who f*cked who and who did what crazy stuff while intoxicated is besides the point, and frankly, boring. I'm no rock star but I've done my share of boozing - maybe more than the next guy, maybe less. Point is, today it's pretty hard to "impress" anyone. You don't have to be an illiterate, arrogant rock star to do drugs, to sport a million tattoos and body piercings, to flunk out of school, and to generally piss away your life. Any wanker can do that. And these hazy crazy reminiscences always sound crazier than they really were. No one is denying that Kurt didn't do heroin. That is a fact. Yes, Kurt might even have used more drugs already in his youth than his peers, but it's all relative. First off, people react to drugs individually. Secondly, the more you use, the higher tolerance you will develop. And thirdly, before "Nevermind" was starting to churn money, Kurt had always been more or less broke. It would not have been even financially possible to maintain a habit before the success. And fourth, Kurt lied about having had used heroin in the 80's. And fifth, a former junkie (and Kurt's drug buddy) who's seen many succumb to heroin says in effect that Kurt was an early stage heroin addict who was still in denial and who would most likely have come out it just fine in due course, had people only left him be. Some insist that Kurt really preferred getting f*cked up rather than staying sober. A lot of folks not only share this sentiment but actually live by it, too. Instead of heroin, they just stick with alcohol and subscription pills. It feels much, much less evil and much less dirty, dangerous or even harmful than shooting up. They might be right, but they are still treating the disease (whatever it may be) the same way - in principal. Would it be surprising to hear that Kurt too was shocked when he learned for the first time that his friend had tried heroin? Like any decent friend, Kurt scolded him. He thought it was stupid and dangerous thing to be doing. But I bet before Kurt had taken his first puff of marijuana, he had deemed also pot stupid and dangerous. This is how the logic goes. No, heroin isn't pot, and pot isn't a cigarette. Heroin is a pain killer that works much faster and more reliably than, say, drinking alcohol. Kurt himself explained that he started to use heroin because it was the only thing that was making his chronic stomach pains go away. One can always say that this is how addicts tend to legitimize their use. I can imagine that to be true in many - even in most - cases. Then again, I have never had to endure the sort of pain in my stomach that Kurt described he had to endure pretty much every time he wanted to eat something. Maybe you have? And Kurt was pretty infamous for not eating much. But I'm sure he was just making this all up. I am not at all suggesting that modern medical science wouldn't have ultimately figured out what was causing his pains. It's just that Kurt had already found a cure he figured he could manage to live with. Without a doubt it came as a godsent bonus that heroin pretty much also made him forget all the other things he found troubling his worried mind. And Kurt was a worried guy alright. He was always worried about (losing) money because he had never had any (pre-Nevermind). He had also somehow convinced himself that Courtney was cheating on him, yet he couldn't even handle the very notion of a divorce nor being the one to subjugate his own daughter to those feelings of abandonment that he was very familiar with in his own childhood and youth. In a way Kurt had always been somewhat lost, somewhat love sick puppy everyone except his anonymous junkie friends seemed to want a piece of. Like most successful artists, he too was suffering from those oh-so-existential questions that deal with arbitrary notions of "authenticity", "staying true", "being loyal", "being real", and so on. He knew his fans would ultimately buy anything he chose to present them with. He would publicly rant about evil labels, corporations and whatnot, while outside the public eye he wanted his music to be promoted at every possible chance. You see, at some point all artists start hating their previous work, sabotaging their own shows. They start isolating from the public, start running away from fans, friends and family and from other band members as well. They want to take a break, break up the band, branch out and become a painter/writer/director/whatnot and generally wanting more credit (=money) and exposure (though not too much and preferably not anything neg). They might say stuff like how they welcome the remaining members to participate more - yet in actuality work hard at making that damn near impossible. They are always left wanting. For something that even they themselves can't put a finger on. We'll all seen this pattern a thousand times. "Nevermind" is still one of the greatest rock albums around, but critics like to pan it because it's "too polished and lacking depth and dynamics" when they really want to say it's "too commercial". They like to remind us that "In Utero" is "much more mature work - more experimental, openly candid, and raw". This is just another way of saying it's full of self-pity, nonsense and half-assed songs that were probably recorded like crap on purpose. I wouldn't say it's a bad record. I'm just pissed of when I know what the man was capable of and particularly because that album ended up being his last one. I'm pleased to hear that Grohl pretty much copied Chad Channing's original drum playing on "Nevermind". He was the new guy, and was simply told to do so. I don't personally pay much attention to drums because I can't drum worth shit, but when those more experienced assert that Grohl is a hard hitting machine, I kinda see what they mean. When I overheard Foo Fighters playing live in almost our backyard about a year ago, I didn't really feel much, if anything. And this is coming from someone who - after hearing Grohl sing Marigold while Nirvana was still around - though that, my god, he's doing it better than Kurt. Now all these years ago, I tend to think that Grohl's 1995 debut is likely the best r'n'r he can muster, and that as a performer and a songwriter, he managed to become the man whom Kurt never wanted to end up as: indifferent and bland. By now it's part of the official Nirvana canon that Chad Channing was fired because he couldn't play well enough. That's pretty funny coming from a guy who - let's face it - was a sloppy and at best intermediate guitarist himself. I think that sacking had much more obvious reasons: Channing was too pleasant, too nice of a guy who didn't share Kurt's positively negative look on life either. He probably didn't even take (making) music that seriously. Krist and Kurt on the other hand were like an old couple who really needed to make it happen: they had absolutely nothing they could fall back on. *** You will no doubt hate the way True tells the story. He desperately wants to be viewed in the annals of rock history as the fifth Beatle - or rather the fourth member of Nirvana. "I introduced Courtney to Kurt.", "Who was I to tell Kurt what to do?", and so on. True is still under the impression that he played a bigger part in the story of Nirvana, let alone in the life of Kurt Cobain, than most people realize (and give him credit for). Yes, you befriended the band, its frontman, Courtney Love, and many other folks who happened to hang around the band and Cobain, particularly. A paid dog who kinda hopes to not be seen as a paid dog but as a True (sic), fellow and suffering, artist. If you want to be a rock journalist who gets to write more than just about how the gigs went, sorta kinda has to make the effort to try and befriend with the band. Particularly when it comes to up-and-coming and famous people it always works wonders if and when you suck up to these people and party with them (at command or willingly). Or be their nanny, the father figure, the funny foreigner, the useful idiot. Or whatever the hell it is that these people want you to be for them, if only for a little while. Kurt might have been a pretty selfish s.o.b., but he was a self-made man also. Everett True a.k.a. Jerry Thackray was a music journo who was hoping a little bit of rock stardust might eventually latch onto his clothing too. If it's true that The Laughing Apple's (not that anyone's heard of this particular band either) lead singer Alan McGee (not that anyone would know who he is and why it would even matter) said of Thackray that he "was the most un-enigmatic, boring, kindest, shyest person you could ever meet - and it just appealed to my sense of humour to make him compère", I can't help but wonder if another frontman saw and did exactly the same...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marissa McHugh

    This book made me like Kurt Cobain even more and I was already a huge fan of Nirvana. Kurt was a lot funnier than people gave him credit for and this book shows that side of him.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I should preface this review by saying I skimmed about 100 pages early on, maybe pages 90-190, because this book is very long and I didn't particularly care to hear a retelling of the part of the story where Nirvana gets signed to Geffen. Using the index, I later went back and perused a few pages in this section, but not many. Is this the definitive Nirvana book? No, for a few reasons. Everett True has tunnel vision; the story he tells is very clearly geared to a limited set of interests: Kurt Co I should preface this review by saying I skimmed about 100 pages early on, maybe pages 90-190, because this book is very long and I didn't particularly care to hear a retelling of the part of the story where Nirvana gets signed to Geffen. Using the index, I later went back and perused a few pages in this section, but not many. Is this the definitive Nirvana book? No, for a few reasons. Everett True has tunnel vision; the story he tells is very clearly geared to a limited set of interests: Kurt Cobain's connections with the K records set, American indie/punk/hardcore of the '80s and '90s, and Courtney Love's personality. But that's not why this book isn't definitive: this book, the third I've read about Nirvana*, shows that the Nirvana story really is going to roll out in a very different light every time it's told. Kurt Cobain's was a world of split-up families, junkies who didn't stay around very long, revisionist delusionals, and record execs who were only along for the ride. The only two people he was consistently *around* from the birth of the band until his death were bassist Krist Novoselic and Krist's then-wife, Shelli. This book is for those of you who know and care who Calvin Johnson is. Not the NFL #2 draft pick -- the founder of K records. True is very interested in the musical and intellectual elitism of Olympia, Washington, a community that, by all accounts, abandoned Kurt when he sold out. He also explores at length the relationship between Kurt and Courtney. Whereas (spoiler) Charles Cross's book (the "Courtney-sanctioned" view) gives you the sense that Kurt was an ordinary guy who became a junkie asshole, this book portrays a young man in over his head with the responsibilities of fame, being a father, and being a husband -- who rides with the wrong crowd, is still a teenager at heart, and has been given far too much money. I think the descriptions of all the "characters" are probably more accurate than any other book, and the anecdotes more telling . . . but these are depressing people, so don't read this unless you don't mind getting the waters a bit mucked up. One last thing -- True is very much concerned with his role in the story (he spends a long time setting up and authenticating his claim that he introduced Kurt and Courtney, contrary to the legend). I found it offensive at times. This book isn't about Nirvana -- it's about Everett True, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain. Oh, and Frances Bean's nanny. Because the entire last section is basically an excerpt of the interview with the nanny. This book could have been cut down. *(previous tellings were by Michael Azerrad and Charles R. Cross, as well as several books about Courtney Love: The Real Story by Poppy Z. Bright; Her Mother's Daughter by Linda Carroll (Courtney's mother); Courtney's "memoirs")

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Everett True was a writer for Melody Maker magazine in the late 80s and helped break 'grunge' in Britain before it was a well known thing in the U.S. He was also personal friends with Courtney Love and to some extent Kurt Cobain, so he brings a personal aspect to this biography that's missing from most other journalist's attempts at understanding the band or Cobain. True doesn't simply tell the story of Nirvana -- he posits that they were misunderstood as a Seattle grunge band, and to truly unde Everett True was a writer for Melody Maker magazine in the late 80s and helped break 'grunge' in Britain before it was a well known thing in the U.S. He was also personal friends with Courtney Love and to some extent Kurt Cobain, so he brings a personal aspect to this biography that's missing from most other journalist's attempts at understanding the band or Cobain. True doesn't simply tell the story of Nirvana -- he posits that they were misunderstood as a Seattle grunge band, and to truly understand their place in the cultural landscape, you need to examine their connections to the Olympia scene and hardcore philosophy. I think this can explain many of the bands quirks, musical style, and Kurt's eventual personal and artistic alienation. Due to his personal connections with the band and the scene, True is able to get many exclusive interviews that shed light on everything about the band. There are extensive discussions with Earnie Bailey, the band's guitar tech (who toured and lived closely with them for many years), the owners of Sub Pop, various other band members from the Melvins, Mudhoney, ect, Chad Channing, and many others. And of course his close relationship with Courtney Love provides and endless well of insane stories. It's quite a long read and was written with 10 years of hindsight which gives it a clarity of perspective that is lacking from all of the contemporary biographies (the Cross one is atrocious -- True debunks many of its myths and flat out mistakes using multiple sources). I'd only suggest this for a pretty big fan (as True was himself) -- but if you pick the book up in the first place you're probably interested enough to finish it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Mcclain

    I read this book after Cross's, which I loved because it was written very well and made you feel closer to the actual person that was Kurt Cobain. Now I wanted to know more about the band... This book offered that but it kept going back to the drama that was Kurtney. I know that is the cornerstone of the demise but it would have been nice to get more into Dave and Krist. It was very cool to read the transcripts from the interviews and understand what it was like to travel with them and experience I read this book after Cross's, which I loved because it was written very well and made you feel closer to the actual person that was Kurt Cobain. Now I wanted to know more about the band... This book offered that but it kept going back to the drama that was Kurtney. I know that is the cornerstone of the demise but it would have been nice to get more into Dave and Krist. It was very cool to read the transcripts from the interviews and understand what it was like to travel with them and experience their high jinks. He wrote the book like he was writing a review...a review of the craziness that was Nirvana. True offered a lot of opinions and it's his book, he has that right. Most of the time, it was to try to be very cute. Calling out bands and people whom may have crossed him is not cool. I felt like it was childish, name pointing when I came upon this in the book. Maybe he was jealous of the Cross book...don't think so since he was really adamant on stating the facts. But that's hard to do when your two main characters contradict and fabricate everything they tell you. True does a good job at taking you into that world and really made me want to jump in a time machine to 1990-91 before they got big, before Courtney and before the drugs.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Worldwar2rick

    As a longtime fan of Nirvana, I was intrigued to read this extensive biography about Nirvana. It had some positives and negatives. I think that Mr. True did a nice job interviewing dozens and dozens of individuals close to the band to paint a comprehensive picture of the inner-workings of Nirvana, and share "insider" information. He didn't shy away from pointing fingers at the impact that Courtney Love had on not only the demise of Kurt Cobain, but the poisonous impact she had on the band overa As a longtime fan of Nirvana, I was intrigued to read this extensive biography about Nirvana. It had some positives and negatives. I think that Mr. True did a nice job interviewing dozens and dozens of individuals close to the band to paint a comprehensive picture of the inner-workings of Nirvana, and share "insider" information. He didn't shy away from pointing fingers at the impact that Courtney Love had on not only the demise of Kurt Cobain, but the poisonous impact she had on the band overall. However, I feel that the book is self-serving at times. Mr. True doesn't shy away from trying to show his importance in the inner-circle of Nirvana. I felt that his role was over-embellished at times, and he tried too hard to show that he was in the "in crowd." I also felt that he went into too much detail about the early punk/alternative/grunge movement. Entire sections of chapters were dedicated to other bands, which I didn't feel was necessary. All in all, I feel that it is a worthwhile read for any serious fan of Nirvana. If you can get past Mr. True's ego and know-it-all personality, there is some good information in understanding Nirvana and Kurt Cobain.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    A different style of biography written by the journalist who knew them best. Plenty opinionated and occasionally annoying (enough with the "kurtney" phrase!), Everett True nevertheless gives a real insiders glimpse into the band from the early gigs to the chaotic final days. Jammed pack full of obscure info and endnotes, comprehensive interviews, even True's own Melody Maker pieces, this really is in many ways the definitive take on the Nirvana story. True has no time for the myth-making or lege A different style of biography written by the journalist who knew them best. Plenty opinionated and occasionally annoying (enough with the "kurtney" phrase!), Everett True nevertheless gives a real insiders glimpse into the band from the early gigs to the chaotic final days. Jammed pack full of obscure info and endnotes, comprehensive interviews, even True's own Melody Maker pieces, this really is in many ways the definitive take on the Nirvana story. True has no time for the myth-making or legends and the reader is shown a complex portrait of a young man and his band with pretty much everyone involved lending their two cents. From the early shows, you get a guide into the dynamic alternative underground from where Nirvana came, putting the band into context. Following the guys into their time on top of the world, it's sometimes surprising that it didn't all collapse earlier. Everyone knows how it all ends but when it does, there is a real feeling of regret with none of the usual 'troubled genius' stereotypes. An exciting ride and not to be missed by the diehard fan. 4.5/5

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark Farley

    This is the last word and definitely the most respectable biography of the band (until Dave or Krist takes on the task), blowing the likes of "Heavier and Heaven" out of the water. Weaving in accounts from the people most close to Kurt and the band, the man who was the first British journalist to cover the music scene in late 80's Seattle. In his journey, he enlightens die hard fans with reconstituted interviews and unheard anecdotes from the people who truly have respect for the man who was one This is the last word and definitely the most respectable biography of the band (until Dave or Krist takes on the task), blowing the likes of "Heavier and Heaven" out of the water. Weaving in accounts from the people most close to Kurt and the band, the man who was the first British journalist to cover the music scene in late 80's Seattle. In his journey, he enlightens die hard fans with reconstituted interviews and unheard anecdotes from the people who truly have respect for the man who was one of the closest confidants to the Kurtney camp in 92 and 93. It's just truly captivating from the first honest and moving chapter. If you appreciated Nirvana for what they were, a great rock band who got a little too famous and successful than they anticipated, then you have to read this book. If you just think the man was a junkie and you danced to "Teen Spirit" at your prom, then, perhaps this is not for you. Everett for one, will agree with me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Georgie

    Dear Kurt Cobain; I now know every single thing someone who didn't know you could know. I would have killed myself too. Love Deann (I'm being sarcastic of course). I've read so many books about Nirvana/Cobain that it's impossible to tell fact from fiction. No one will ever know. It's all speculation about every single aspect of this man's life. He could have been born at a different hour than his birth certificate states. He could have never met Courtney Love for all we know anymore. (More sarcasm) Dear Kurt Cobain; I now know every single thing someone who didn't know you could know. I would have killed myself too. Love Deann (I'm being sarcastic of course). I've read so many books about Nirvana/Cobain that it's impossible to tell fact from fiction. No one will ever know. It's all speculation about every single aspect of this man's life. He could have been born at a different hour than his birth certificate states. He could have never met Courtney Love for all we know anymore. (More sarcasm) Maybe he had himself killed and he wasn't murdered and he didn't commit suicide alone. WHO KNOWS ANYMORE?? This book has a really good view point from a lot of people who were in his life, but I don't think ANY of these people were paying attention. And there is nothing new in here, more contradiction, more speculation, more blah.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I don't think Everett True is a great writer, but I was fascinated with his presentation of the story, nonetheless. He drew a lot of material from people like Slim Moon and Toby Vail who were involved with the Olympia music scene that Nirvana came from. It was great getting that context. Sometimes, his use of quotes was hard to follow as he did not use a ton of signal phrases indicating who was speaking. I didn't realize how bad things got for Kurt Cobain after the release of Nevermind and the b I don't think Everett True is a great writer, but I was fascinated with his presentation of the story, nonetheless. He drew a lot of material from people like Slim Moon and Toby Vail who were involved with the Olympia music scene that Nirvana came from. It was great getting that context. Sometimes, his use of quotes was hard to follow as he did not use a ton of signal phrases indicating who was speaking. I didn't realize how bad things got for Kurt Cobain after the release of Nevermind and the band became huge. It was particular sad reading the account of his last days when he was on the lam from everyone. I'm glad I finally read the story of one of my all-time favorite bands.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Helena Najm

    I would have given this 5 stars if Everett True had tried to edit a little of his boasting out of the book. Seriously, cutting out his "I was the most important music journalist of the time" crap would have eliminated 100 pages and made the book the perfect length. Other than that, I feel like he did a pretty good job of handling everyone's story instead of making this all about Kurt. I also got some pretty good music recommendations out of this so I'll commend him on that. It's a good read, but I would have given this 5 stars if Everett True had tried to edit a little of his boasting out of the book. Seriously, cutting out his "I was the most important music journalist of the time" crap would have eliminated 100 pages and made the book the perfect length. Other than that, I feel like he did a pretty good job of handling everyone's story instead of making this all about Kurt. I also got some pretty good music recommendations out of this so I'll commend him on that. It's a good read, but if you skim a few pages I completely understand why.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachelandthecity

    This book was HUGE! over 700 pages and super annoying in terms of how detailed it was. Written by the English journalist that introduced Courtney Love to Kurt Cobain. It was ok, but still did not accomplish the feat of giving the reader any insight into how or who Cobain really was. I think I found it annoying in the same way you find your parents annoying, knowing when it comes down to it, you will probably do it exactly the same. Oh, yeah - the footnotes in this thing were OUT OF CONTROL.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    this is a very good book. it is written by Nirvana's good friend Everett True, who is a music journalist who was very good friends with kurt cobain, dave grohl and krist novoselic. Everbody make assumptions when they hear about nirvana and choose to believe rumours. This book tells the truth about nirvana, the 90's music scene and kurt cobain. why i read this book- cause i like nirvana and i wanted to know more about them. I also needed to complete a music assingment about them. who would i recome this is a very good book. it is written by Nirvana's good friend Everett True, who is a music journalist who was very good friends with kurt cobain, dave grohl and krist novoselic. Everbody make assumptions when they hear about nirvana and choose to believe rumours. This book tells the truth about nirvana, the 90's music scene and kurt cobain. why i read this book- cause i like nirvana and i wanted to know more about them. I also needed to complete a music assingment about them. who would i recomend this book to- anyone who loves nirvana,or kurt cobain.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rushay Booysen

    Extremely long view into the Life of Kurt Cobain.I couldnt help but feeling sad for this amazing man,it seems his whole life was a parallel fight between his demons.the first time i heard "smells like teen spirit" i had a automatic connection with this band and viewing his life closeup through affiliates he worked with makes you wonder what the "dream" is all about.Compelling read Mr True did it good justice

  25. 5 out of 5

    John McManus

    Whatever Everett True tells you in his introduction this is NOT a biography of Nirvana. At least not solely. A lot of this book is True's memoirs and a lot is about other bands in the scene. That doesn't mean it's not an enjoyable read -- it is. But if I hadn't read 'Come as You Are' and 'Heavier Than Heaven' I would have been lost without all the other bands. The best bio on Nirvana is still 'Come As You Are' by Michael Azzerad.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leon Barton

    As someone who grew up reading Everett True in Melody Maker, I knew exactly what to expect from this book. That he inserts himself into the story to such an extent was no surprise and I found the personal nature of the book inpsiring and fascinating. Be warned: this is no definitive band bio, more a study of Kurt and his foibles from a close friend, crossed with a memoir of being a 90s music critic. Not for everyone but I loved it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    This was mostly a fun read, even when its author (frequently) lapsed into self-aggrandizement; it illustrated my belief that the Brits (well, some of the Brits) are doing rock writing - *not* "journalism" - better than anyone since "Rolling Stone" in its heyday, precisely because they don't give a rat's ass about "journalism."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steven Tiberius

    Screw the "official" biographies authorized by a certain widow and her certain lust for cashing in on her husband's legacy. Cobain never would've wanted books about his life to be published ... so read this one! Everett True was a friend of the band who knew them in the very early going and he helped make the "Seattle Sound" as popular as it would become.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    If you can get through all of the author's fanboy reminiscing without rolling your eyes too hard, there is some legitimately interesting biographical info about the band, it's members, and people who were part of the Olympia scene at the time. He even managed to get Tobi Vail to go on the record about her relationship with Kurt. Enjoyed it a lot and I'm not even a big fan of theirs.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laurenlauren

    The book itself is huge but I enjoyed it so much. Every single thing Everett True wrote helped me truly understand the lives of the band members of Nirvana. As one of my favourite music groups, I felt in touch with the grunge era, even though I was much too young to be a part of it. I still am a huge grunge fan and I credit a lot of my knowledge to this biography.

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