- - - August 26, 2001 - - -
As it turns out, the October 2001 issue of Spin Magazine also features an extensive Nirvana
special. The eight page article is mostly focused on a lengthy excerpt from the new Cobain
biography "Heavier Than Heaven". It also includes an article on the boxed set legal problems,
and several rare pictures. Here's a few snippets from the article on the box; "A Nirvana box
set full of never-before-heard music, planned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the
September 1991 release of Nevermind this holiday season, is the casualty of a bitter
war between Kurt Cobain's widow and his surviving bandmates over control of the group's legacy.
With a lawsuit Love filed in May against Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, her partners in Nirvana
L.L.C, she is seeking to dissolve the company and demands that complete control over Nirvana
business be granted to her and her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. Until the case is settled,
the box set will remain on hold." Here are some scans of the article; #1,
#2, #3, #4,
#5, #6, #7,
#8. Click here for the cover
of the mag, and the contents page. The magazine also features
an advertisement for the upcoming VH-1 special on "Grunge: The Anti-Rock Star Revolution" that
is set to be aired on VH-1 in the US, September 13 at 10 PM/9C. View a scan of the advertisement
here. All scans courtesy of Amanda -- copyright Spin Magazine. Nirvana
are thereby featured as cover-stories of the current issues of Spin, Rolling Stone and Guitar World -
with extensive articles and features inside. Who said they were dead? :)
- - - August 25, 2001 - - -
"I don't know if you've heard about this yet but I was checking out MSN's Music section and
found an interesting article that talks about a band signed to Fred Durst's Record label called
Flawless. The band is named Puddle of Mudd. The article reads, 'Puddle of Mudd avoid the too-much-E-chord
chugga-chugga metal that most other nu-metal outfits go for, but rather employ a radio-friendly,
post-Grunge style that is equal parts Nirvana, Tool, and Smashing Pumpkins.' The article also goes
on to to say 'At other times, Kurt Cobain is the subject of Scantlin's homage. The song She Hates Me
is Rape Me from Nirvana's In Utero crossed with Summer Nights from the soundtrack to Grease.' You can
read more of the article here."
Thanks to Jena for this one.
The Nirvana feature in the new issue of Rolling Stone is also available on their website now. It includes
transcripts of interviews with Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Butch Vig as well as interesting articles
about all aspects of the 'Nevermind' album, and a list of the best Nirvana bootlegs. Check out the Rolling
Stone website for this very interesting feature, here.
"I checked the NFC news section and I couldn't see anything mentioned about the article that [British magazine]
Mojo have in their September edition on the court injunction, preventing Krist and Dave from releasing 'You Know
You're Right' on the Box Set. The REALLY interesting thing about it is that Mojo said, that according to insiders,
Love was uncomfortable with the lyrics to the song - which go like this (according to Mojo) 'I don't really love her,
I don't think I want her, ain't gonna take to Love again, it's the way your love hurts, it's the way you're mad again,
I don't think I'll love again, I won't ever promise her, I don't think I want her.' " Thanks to Phil. A recent edition
of the British Kerrang! magazine also has a news bit on the box and the court case. I want to stress that the lyrics
for the song posted on this site are based on the live version and not the studio version (which has quite different
- - - August 22, 2001 - - -
The Rolling Stone website was updated, providing info about the September 13
issue that has a large feature on Nirvana. The magazine, featuring a stunning
picture of Britney Spears on the cover, offers a special named "Nirvana's Nevermind:
Ten Years After. A special section featuring interviews with Krist Novoselic, Dave
Grohl and Butch Vig. Plus: The best Nirvana bootlegs, and ten great moments in the
rise of Nevermind." Music editor introduces the issue; " 'We were always
laughing about something,' says Krist Novoselic, speaking about his former band
mate Kurt Cobain for the first time since Cobain's death in 1994. 'I remember him
being happy,' says Dave Grohl. 'I think about his smile a lot. And his laugh.'
Novoselic and Grohl talked with senior editor David Fricke for our special section
on the tenth anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind. We also spoke with the band's friends
and co-workers - and a security guard who had a memorable battle with Cobain - in
putting together our chronicle of Nevermind's rise, 'Anarchy in the U.S.' And we
located a young man who was not yet a year old when Nevermind was released, the
album's cover model, Spencer Elden, to re-create the famous photo a decade later.
'His thing was, build your own world,' Novoselic says of Cobain. These stories let
you into that world.
David Fricke was in that world himself, in October 1993, when
he conducted the Rolling Stone Interview with Cobain. Fricke had been chasing the
story for months to no avail when the phone rang one September afternoon. 'This is
Kurt Cobain,' said the voice on the other end of the wire. 'I know you're really
pissed at me, because I've been doing interviews with all these other magazines,
but I've just been saying the same old shit, and when I talk to you, I really want
to do it right.' They made arrangements to meet in Chicago a month later, 'the night
of a notoriously bad show,' remembers Fricke. 'I went backstage, he came out with a
cup of tea and said, ''Glad you were able to come to the worst show of the tour so
far.'' They spoke in Cobain's hotel room from one in the morning until five. The interview
was one of Cobain's last. For this issue, Fricke also sorted through the universe of
Nirvana bootlegs to pick the ten best, focusing on the band's live shows. I asked David
what the best Nirvana show he saw was. 'MTV Unplugged,' he said. 'The one thing you don't
get watching it on TV is that they came out and played and then walked off. No retakes
for the cameras - they played it like a gig. And you forgot you were in a TV studio.
It was like being in church.' " Courtesy of Joe Levy and Rolling Stone Magazine. For the
article on the 10 Best Nirvana bootlegs, they used this site and a couple of others for
research. View a scan of the credits here (courtesy of
Bailey Cassler). As mentioned earlier, the new Guitar World also features a rare and lengthy
interview with Krist Novoselic. It's nice to see Dave as well as Krist finally
speaking out on Nirvana and Kurt.
"An issue of Brender magazine just ran a chart of the 50 most sexiest artists. Kurt
made it to #30, with a nice picture from the Unplugged show next to his name. Courtney
Love made it to #18." Thanks to Mike.
- - - August 21, 2001 - - -
Apparently Nirvana is on the cover of the new issue of Guitar World magazine;
"I picked up the October issue of Guitar World; on the cover it has Kurt, along
with Krist and Dave. Inside there's a pretty long interview with Krist regarding
Kurts life. It also has 'All Apologies' tabbed in the back for all the guitarists
out there." Thanks to Matt for the news. Derek added a little more info; "They
have a picture of Nirvana on the front cover and a big 5-10 page story/interview
inside the mag. Krist talks to Guitar World about Kurt in the interview. And they
talk about the new box-set. There is also a picture/mini poster you can rip out;
one side has [a picture of] Kurt with, and the other side has 'The Who' ". Thanks
to Derek Sinica. Also thanks to Adam and Sara. This is probably the first real
thorough interview (talking about Kurt and Nirvana, at least) that Krist has done
since Kurt's death in '94 - so it should be an interesting read.
"Nirvana will be appearing on the TV show 'I Love the Nineties', where they review
1991. The show will be on BBC 2 in the UK on Saturday the 25th of August." This show
is probably similar to VH1's 'Behind the Music' specials. The show will be aired on
9 PM GMT. Thanks to Feargal, Adam and Quiff for this one.
As mentioned before, a recent issue of the National Enquirer ran an article on the new
Kurt Cobain book "Heavier Than Heaven". View a scan of the article here,
courtesy of Brendon. The August 21 issue of the same magazine had a brief snippet on
Courtney Love; "Courtney Love won't stop whining to Drew Barrymore and new hubby Tom
Green about the $10.000 diamond bracelet she claims she lost at their wedding! The grunge
queen nearly disrupted the nuptials when she hysterically demanded every guest be searched
- and Drew flatly refused! Sick of Love's nonstop bitching, Drew and Tom generously agreed
to buy her a new bracelet!"
"There is a special Guitar Legends (I believe) issue out called, '100 Greatest Solos'.
It includes 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' as Number 24. There is a full page picture of Kurt
at Reading 91 and 3 or so sentences on it." Thanks to Matt.
At the recent V2001 festival in the UK, when the Foo Fighters were performing, apparently
none other than Krist Novoselic was by the stage - watching the show. The Foo's dedicated
the brilliant song 'Up in Arms' to him. I wonder if the band will ever tour countries other
than the US, UK and Australia? :)
The deadline for entries to the latest NFC Competition has been pushed to October 1st to
allow more people to enter. So, if you have not entered yet
to win one of the eight spectacular prizes, make sure to do so.
Apparently the September 13, 2001 issue (#877) of Rolling Stone magazine features an
article on the 10th anniversary of the 'Nevermind' album. It includes interviews with
Dave and Krist, and with Butch Vig about the making of the album. In addition, it has
a bit on bootlegs, and on some of Nirvana's US tours. Finally, it features a brand new
picture of Spencer Elden (now 10 years old), who graced the cover of the 'Nevermind'
album as a baby. Supposedly, this site is mentioned in the credits for the article.
Quite interesting. This issue has Britney Spears on the cover and is thus not issue
#876, with the girls from American Pie 2 on the cover, currently featured on the
Rolling Stone website.
A quite spectacular auction by FleetwoodOwen is currently running. Their 'Rock Legends'
auction features items such as a copy of the legendary 'White Album' by the Beatles;
"Fleetwood Owens 18 September Rock and Pop Legends sale at the Hard Rock Café, London
features another fantastic selection of rock memorabilia. Important Beatles lots include
a top hat worn by John Lennon in 1963s The Beatles Christmas Show, a prop scroll used by
Paul McCartney in The Beatles 1964 TV Special during a spoof of A Midsummer Nights Dream,
a very candid, handwritten letter from Stuart Sutcliffe to an ex-girlfriend circa 1960, a
guitar used by The Beatles in the early days, originally from the collection of Pete Best,
unseen promo film for Hello Goodbye and unseen footage from the Magical Mystery Tour, a
variety of prints by veteran Beatles photographers Dezo Hoffmann and Robert Freeman, together
with several original recordings and concert programmes. As always Elvis features strongly,
with several signed pieces and his handwritten birth records, originally from the collection
of the Presley family Doctor, Dr. Hunt. But by far the star lot in the Elvis section is DJ
Fontanas calfskin drumkit, purchased by he and Elvis, and used on all of Elvis early recordings,
in Jailhouse Rock and later in the '68 Comeback Special, sold together with a photograph of
Elvis playing the kit himself. Other items of interest include Jim Morrisons handwritten lyrics
for LA Woman, Buddy Holly's wallet, Marc Bolans 12-string acoustic guitar, a jacket worn by
cult singer/songwriter Gram Parsons and a fantastic collection of silkscreen posters circa
1970/71 including Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Elton John and others. Some of the quirkier
items include a lifejacket especially customised by Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain for his
wife Courtney Love as a Valentines gift and a specially customised stretch sequin-covered
Mini, used by the Spice Girls on stage at the 1998 Brit Awards." Here is some more info on the
Nirvana-related item; "A British Airways lifejacket taken from Concorde and customised by Kurt
Cobain and the band as a Valentines gift for Kurts wife Courtney Love. Kurt, Krist and David
have signed their first names twice, once in red marker and again in black, the words head
through hole are printed on the jacket and Hole (the name of Courtney's band) is circled with
a heart and dated 14th Feb Paris. Mounted in a box frame, unglazed. Overall measurement approx.
16.5 x 26.5 inch. (42 x 67 cm). Estimate £ 1,000-1,500." Time to raid your bank accounts, kids!
Thanks to Miss Kaz Simmons for the info. Click here for more info.
Sara Lynch, who has helped this site for a number of months - most notably by moderating
the 'Born in a Junkyard' forum for a long time, recently became a grandmother. Her daughter
gave birth to a beautiful child, Rosa. A big round of congratulations and greetings goes out
to the happy mother and grandmother. Also a special personal thanks to Sara for being a true
and amazing friend, and for keeping up with all the crap. Click here
for a picture of baby Rosa.
- - - August 19, 2001 - - -
Michael Azerrad, author of the popular Nirvana book "Come As You Are: The Story
of Nirvana" published a new book last month. The new book "Our Band Could Be Your
Life : Scenes from the American Rock Underground, 1981-1991" is a portrait of the
1980s underground music scene, with everything that involves; "Music journalist
Azerrad (Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana) makes it clear through his tales
of 13 highly influential punk and indie rock bands from Black Flag to Beat Happening
that his subjects could have easily been any misshapen, angst-filled, morbidly creative
teens on the planet. In painting the portrait of the volatile 1980s underground music
scene, he reveals the importance of subversive-minded musicians in an industry controlled
by hit-hungry executives. Azerrad, however, is careful not to glorify this era: sprinkled
throughout his inspiring pictures of musical revolt are details of the poverty and
drug-induced dilemmas each band faced on its path to cult icon status. Featuring original
interviews with the scene's leading lights (e.g., Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth), this
collective biography is written in a cultured voice that even low-brow, in-the-know
fanzine readers will appreciate." Review courtesy of amazon.com. The book is 528 pages
and carries the ISBN: 0316063797. It was published by Little Brown & Company. You can
purchase it online at www.amazon.com.
After almost 12.500 votes, I thought it was about time to end the latest NFC Poll;
"Who should be in charge of the next Nirvana release?" Here are the final results:
'Krist and Dave' - 9847 votes (79%), 'Courtney Love' - 645 votes (5%), 'Krist, Dave
& Courtney' - 1285 votes (10%), 'Nirvana's record label' - 399 votes (3%), - 'Nirvana's
management' - 271 votes (2%). The result, based on exactly 12.447 unique votes, is pretty
clear. Almost 10.000 of the fans who took the time to vote feel that Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl
should be the ones in charge of the forthcoming boxed set, while only 5% voted for Courtney Love.
Funnily, the poll had pretty much the same result even after just 500 votes. The next poll
"What do you think is the best book about Kurt Cobain and/or Nirvana?" is now available.
CNN online put up an interesting review of the "Heavier Than Heaven" book, including
comments from the author; "'Heavier Than Heaven' documents in unblinking detail Cobain's
descent from an innocent, tow-headed boy living in an Aberdeen trailer park with Mom, Dad
and Sister to a pot-smoking, acid- taking teenage product of a messy divorce who lived on
the streets. And then there is the contradictory turn in Cobain's life: Once he achieved the
highest success his art form could offer, and once he married Love and became a father, he
fell into depression and heroin addiction, finally ending his life with a shotgun blast. At
the time of the suicide, Cobain had enough heroin in his bloodstream to kill him, Cross reports.
'It's like the Titanic,' Cross says of his book. 'You know the ship is going to go down.' But
he felt it necessary to objectively document the life of Cobain, sadness and all. 'I felt my
commitment was to Kurt, to tell the story, even when it was very painful and even when it made
him look bad,' Cross says. 'I really wanted to treat him as a historical figure not unlike you
would treat a political figure and to write about the circumstances of his life.' " Courtesy
of Cable News Network LP, LLLP. Read the full article here.
Also check out this
review from Entertainment Weekly. View a scan from the magazine version of the EW article here,
courtesy of Amanda. Here are some more scans from the magazine; #1,
#2, #3, #4,
#5 - all courtesy of Jordana.
The above CNN story mentions a tape of the first ever Nirvana performance; "Krist Novoselic, the
future Nirvana bassist, and a drummer named Aaron Burckhard played with Cobain. The band was so
green, it didn't even have a name. But it had several Cobain-penned songs that would later be
featured on Nirvana albums, including 'Downer,' 'Mexican Seafood,' and 'Hairspray Queen.' 'I
couldn't believe it was taped,' says Cross, talking on the phone recently from his home in
Seattle, Washington. 'If you think about that, the historical significance of having a tape
of the first concert by any band -- the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or Nirvana -- it's amazing.
It sounds fantastic.' " I believe MTV also ran a story on this very tape recently. It should
be noted, however, that the tape has been circulating among Nirvana bootleg traders for at least
a couple of years. Cross, however, found the person who actually made the recording back in '87.
The Norwegian paper Dagbladet also ran a story on the tape that you can read here.
Thanks to Reidar for the link.
"I've checked your past news and it seems no one ever mentioned it, but Nevermind arrived at #1
at the Kerrang Hall of Fame 50 Top Albums and In utero is #29." More info here.
Thanks to Lionel.
"Seattle Weekly - music:
The day the music didn't die. Talks about the IPU Music Festival 10 years ago and has a big
part on Kurt and Nirvana." Thanks to Matt.
"I just checked out the online retailer CD Japan and they have a reissue of 'Nevermind'
listed for release on October 11th. The interesting thing is, it's a two-disc set. I'm
not sure why the new version has an extra disc, but I thought I'd pass the news along."
Thanks to Doug. According to the CD Japan site, 'Nevermind (Deluxe Edition) [Initial
pressing only limited release]' is a 'A 2-CD deluxe edition re-issue of Nirvana's Nevermind
celebrating the the 10th anniversary of classic album's original release. All songs were
remastered.' When I checked, however, you could not place an order because it had been
postponed and 'release data' was undetermined.
- - - August 13, 2001 - - -
I just finished a short interview with Charles R. Cross, author of the new Kurt
Cobain biography. Cross also co-authored the excellent 1999 book about the 'Nevermind'
album, and a book about Bruce Springsteen. "From 1986 to 2000 Charles R. Cross was
editor of The Rocket, the Northwest's highly regarded music and entertainment
magazine and the first magazine to put Nirvana on its cover. His writing has appeared
in Rolling Stone, Esquire, Guitar World, and Spy, among many other publications."
In the interview, I'm named "NFC" and Charley is named "Cross":
"Charles R. Cross is one of a rare breed of writers whose realistic
scene-setting makes reading one of his works akin to physically being in the
locale. His description of growing up in Grays Harbor is done as well as
anyone who isn't native. 'Heavier Than Heaven' will likely stand forever as
the definitive Kurt Cobain biography." — Jeff Burlingame, Aberdeen Daily World.
NFC: What exactly was your motivation for writing a book about Kurt Cobain? What is
your goal with this book?
Cross: I felt that Kurt's legacy had been left in disrepair. The
portraits of him that had been in the press so far, from magazine articles to the several
other books, didn't leave me with the image of the Kurt that I knew, and I didn't even
know him very well personally. However, it was not this one-dimensional monochrome angst-ridden
loner. I felt that having been editor of The Rocket for so long, and watching the Seattle
scene blossom, that part of this was also my story. I wanted it told correctly. In some strange
way, Kurt's death and the effect of that on me made me begin to think about mortality. The
history we remember from 100 years ago is what we remember from what is written. This book,
in some small way, is my attempt to tell the story of both Kurt's life, and the Seattle
music scene, during these important years.
NFC: How did you determine what information to include and what not to ? I mean, there is
bound to be a lot of personal info about Kurt that you chose to leave out, for whatever
reason. Even so, there are still many personal details about him in your book.
Cross: Well, that of course is the struggle with being a biographer:
The biographer must also be an editor, choosing what stories to believe and what to ignore.
I began by throwing out all the stuff I'd heard before and all I'd read—and by starting to
talk to people in Grays Harbor about Kurt. I immediately heard of a much different person
than the one the media had told us about. And the book grew from there.
"As engrossing as a good novel. The results of Cross' assiduous reporting
show through in every chapter. A remarkable portrait. A-." — Tom Sinclair, Entertainment Weekly.
NFC: Out of all the facts you discovered about Cobain when researching for your book,
which single piece of info surprised/shocked you the most?
Cross: Well the Saturday Night Live overdose was certainly the most
amazing and that was why I chose to begin the book with it. In this one episode you have the
most extreme example of the difference between the outer and inner Kurt, which I would argue
is the main theme of the book. There were many shocking stories however, and many times my
jaw dropped when I heard them.
NFC: Your book clears up a lot of confusion by telling the truth about certain rumours and
myths. Apart from the story about living under the bridge, what has been the biggest
misunderstanding or false story about Kurt's life? (Or Nirvana for that matter).
Cross: As I write in the introduction to the book, Kurt was so
skilled at manipulating his own image that it was almost like he was a master spy: He
never let any one person see all aspects of his personality. And he was very
skilled at complaining about fame, while appearing in media that would only
make him more famous. You simply don't sign a deal with Geffen Records, make
a video for MTV, appear in concert tours, sit for interviews with the New
York Times, and issue press releases when you don't want to be famous. But
for some strange reason, this myth continues on: That Kurt was an unwilling
victim of fame, rather than a skilled artist who used it to his own devices
and who at times desperately sought the attention. I think he may have gotten
a different kind of fame than he wanted, but he certainly still had many
choices he could have changed.
In some ways this myth of Kurt as the victim of fame, perpetrated more by
Kurt himself than any other source, is also an insult to him: It turns him
into this weak-willed passive man instead of what he really was—someone very
much in command of his own destiny. His suicide gets caught up in this. I
don't doubt for one second that Kurt knew exactly the level of media coverage
his suicide would get. To turn him into a victim—be it a murder victim or a
victim of fame—is an insult to his will.
"A fascinating, if sometimes frightful, read, a full-scale work
that manages to be respectful of Cobain's unlikely triumphs from poverty and also critical
of his stunning excesses. That readers of this new biography will come to
know Cobain well is a direct result of Cross' doggedness as a researcher and
his credibility in the music community. The short unhappy life of Kurt Donald
Cobain now has its worthy biographer." — John Marshall, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
NFC: I often get the question "Why did Kurt kill himself?" from people, mostly
ones who don't listen to Nirvana that much. After studying his life in such detail,
what would your answer to this difficult question be?
Cross: Well that would be a very difficult question to answer
in one paragraph and I've just written a 350 page book that only begins to answer that.
Of course, we can never really know why someone would commit such an act—even if Kurt
left us a more detailed explanation in the form of a note, could we really
trust it? There are many many reasons people consider suicide. In my own arm
chair psychoanalysis, which I tried to avoid in the book itself, I would rank
some of the top reasons as 1) the hopelessness of addiction; 2) constant pain
from his stomach; 3) emotional pain; and 4) the delusional effects of the
combination of all the drugs he was on. But those would just be the tip of
the iceberg—I hope my book helps expalin this more. Though, as I write in the
introduction, it is ultimately a spiritual question, not one of fact.
NFC: Have you ever considered writing a book just about Nirvana? Based on your
interviews and research for this book, and the one about the "Nevermind" sessions,
I'm sure you have plenty of material to start out with.
Cross: Yes and I have so much stuff left over from this book,
I may one day. However, I've written other books and hope to write many more and at least
for the moment, I'd like to explore other topics. Four years of writing about Kurt is
a lot of time to devote and a lot of emotional energy.
NFC: Isn't it rather dangerous for young people to idolize Kurt Cobain? I would personally
not consider him a very good role model. Quite the opposite, actually (when not focusing
on his talent, at least).
Cross: Well the answer to that depends on how they idolize Kurt
and what form that idolatry takes. To idolize him as a drug addict or lost loner, obviously
would set off some alarm bells. I don't think Kurt wanted to remembered as a
famous drug addict—he more than anyone else in the world, wanted to be free
of drugs, as does any addict. So clearly his personal excesses were not what
anyone would consider a good role model (nor were his eating habits).
However, on a different level, I think his life--and his work--were something
worth honoring (which is why I wrote this book). There is some heroism in
Kurt's life: Very few people live with the pain he had, and come from the
circumstances he came from, and go on to create such powerful art. Kurt had
the ability to turn pain into art, and that is an amazing accomplishment, and
one that is to be applauded in my opinion.
"A thorough, cogent look at Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. Cross with
unusual integrity for the field, did not allow his the favor of his access to censor his
reporting. No other Cobain book matches 'Heavier Than Heaven' for research, accuracy, and insider
scoops." — Mark Lindquist, The Seattle Times.
NFC: Aren't you kind of worried that Kurt's close family, or perhaps even his
daughter, will read your book ? The book offers details and stories that one
close to him might not want to know about or be confronted with.
Cross: I wrote this book to honor Kurt. I couldn't write a
serious biography if my only goal was to protect those left living. I know that
much of this past is painful for those who lived through it, but as a biographer, that
couldn't be my concern. I think Kurt would have wanted it this way—his diaries reveal
many times that he wanted others to hear about his experience and I honored
that above all else.
I know that the circumstances of Kurt's death are painful for those who loved
him but I couldn't make the story any easier and be true to it.
By the way, just to clear up something I've read some people post about on
various boards: No one—other than my book editor—read this book before
publication. Courtney, Krist and the various other parties only read the book
in early August. When I approached all the various parties, not a single one
wanted their comments off the record, and they all talked openly and freely.
[Thus] No one read any of my manuscript in advance, or really had much of an idea of
what I was writing about. People gave me access—whether it be Courtney,
Kurt's sister or Krist Novoselic—because, I assume, they trusted me to tell
Kurt's story and they knew the other work I'd done. Courtney did not read the
book until the first of August 2001, the same week it hit stores and fans
started reading it. Her review—which someone sent me from the Hole.com web
site—said that she thought it was both touching and horrifying to read. In
some ways that's not surprising since writing the book brought out those same
emotions in me.
"Shakes up the prevailing conceptions of Cobain. A
compelling biography." — Justin Waite, Biography magazine.
NFC: What restrictions, if any, were put on you for getting access to Kurt's journals?
Cross: There were no parameters put on my access to Kurt's diaries—
I was not told what parts I could use or what I couldn't: That ended up being my
choice. Courtney told me about them in passing and said, "you’ve got to read them if
you really want to understand Kurt." When I followed up on this, she said I could
come to LA and read them. I spent several days going over the journals at the house of
Courtney’s then-manager. Later on I also read several other journals that
were not in Courtney’s possession (in the possession of someone who wants to
This book is not "authorized" by any of the parties, and it was
written completely independently. I know anyone who has read the book will
know this immediately but it bothers me to see people who have no idea of the
research that went into this project wrongly speculating on the book's
authorship. And as if evidence is needed to prove this, almost everyone I've
spoken to since the book has come out has felt that there were things I put
in the book they wish were not in there. But that's exactly the kind of
response most serious biographies provoke. This was my story, no one else's.
I'm sure others will one day write their own versions of this history.
NFC: How crucial was it for the book to involve information based on (and derived from)
Kurt's journals and letters? Would the book have been significantly less complete if
you hadn't read his journals, or did they simply constitute an added "bonus" ?
Cross: Of course it would have been different. There are many
things in Kurt's journals that also helped me piece together the time-line of his life. And
finding some of the letters he had mailed his friends were essential to letting his voice
be heard in this book.
NFC: What do you think will happen when the boxed set is released (if that
ever happens) ? Will it be a chart-topper and attract lots of new fans, or
will it only be dedicated Nirvana fans that get it? Will it have a chance in
today's music environment?
Cross: Those are hard questions to answer since you need a
crystal ball and I'm not be a big believer in them. I hope it will find an audience—
I hope this book does—but I'm not optimistic about the current state of music. It
seems that by the latter half of the nineties, music returned to the producer-driven
drivel that had preceded Nirvana. The music industry is cyclical: I can only
hope that teen-pop goes away quickly and something fresh replaces it. I know
I still listen to Nirvana frequently and despite knowing much of the
background now, I'm still always impressed by the power of Nirvana's music to
move me. I can only hope there are millions of others who feel the same way.
NFC: How would you compare your book to Michael Azerrad's "Come as you are: The story of Nirvana" ?
Cross: I wouldn't compare the two. I respect Michael's work
and am enjoying his latest book "Our Band Could Be Your Life."
"Written with a journalist's eye for riveting detail and
a fan's heartfelt appreciation for Nirvana's music, Charles R. Cross's 'Heavier
Than Heaven' stage-dives headfirst into the heart, soul, and torment of one of
rock's most galvanizing figures. Revelatory and moving, it's as essential to any
rock-history bookshelf as 'Nevermind' is to any CD cabinet." - David Browne, author
of 'Dream Brother: The Lives & Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley'.
NFC: You held Kurt's suicide note in your hand; studied the Heart-Shaped box
he gave Courtney, and read his personal journals as the first person ever. As
a fan of Nirvana and Cobain, how did this make you feel?
Cross: Holding that note made me feel very, very sad.
It made me miss Kurt tremendously and it made wish he were still on this earth.
NFC: If there's anything else you'd like to tell all the Nirvana fans out there,
or if you want to clear something up, please use this space. Thanks again!
Cross: The response to the book so far has been wonderful,
particularly getting e-mails from young Nirvana fans who have just read the book.
I am working on setting up my own website,
both to be able to provide updates on the book, if there are any, and to give fans a place to post
their own stories. I also must say that the fans who post here, and the fans who
keep sites like this together, were essential in my research and in helping
me stay focused even when I ran into roadblocks. Thank you all for your
intelligent discussion on Kurt Cobain’s legacy. - Charles R. Cross.
A big thanks to Charles Cross for doing this interview. Cross will be signing copies
of his book today at the Aberdeen Timberland Library in Aberdeen, WA. See the full
schedule for his book tour under the August 9 update.
- - - August 12, 2001 - - -
"There is a review of 'Heavier Than Heaven' in the August 17 issue of Entertainment
Weekly. The article is called 'All apologies' and is by Tom Sinclair." Thanks to
"Spys4Darwin took the stage at Endfest August 4th for their debut concert performance,
and proceeded to impale the senses of the crowd with tunes from their 'microfish' EP,
plus two new tracks from their upcoming full-length album. Vocalist Vin Dombroski
lunged onto the barricade as the group broke into the hypnotic 'Submission' opener,
and Inez, Kinney, DeGarmo and Co. didn't let up till it was over. The set featured
guitarist Bubba Dupree (formerly of Moby) joining DeGarmo for the guitar chores,
and was documented in Hi-8mm b/w by Krist Novoselic." Thanks to spys4darwin.com
"MTV Germany recently aired '20 Most Outrageous Moments.' Nirvana were featured
with a very short clip of Kurt at the Headbanger's Ball, maybe twenty seconds of
Krist getting knocked down by his bass at the 1992 VMA and the shot of Kurt spitting
into the camera from MTV Live & Loud. Dave was briefly featured with a short clip
in a dress, while Courtney was number 17 or something, featured drunken and foul-mouthed
in a clash with Madonna." Thanks to Reidar.
"On VH1's show, The List, Kurt Cobain was nominated as one of the sexiest rock stars.
The Go-Go's were the guests on this show and Charlotte Caffey nominated Cobain." This
happened around August 3 I believe. Thanks to Sandra.
Speaking of VH-1, they recently had a daily poll going: "Britney Spears and Justin
Timberlake are planning on collaborating. Are they the new: Hall & Oates? - Love &
Cobain? - Lennon & McCartney?" No less than 33% of the votes were for the 'Love &
Cobain' answer! The 'Hall & Oates' answer won by 56% of the votes. Thanks to Dave.
"On MTV's 20th birthday special, STP was being interviewed for their top
5 best music videos, and one of them said 'In a Bloom - Nirvana'." Thanks
to Tha Leang. This news is from early August.
"There is a Kurt Cobain tribute here; GetMusic
Remembers Kurt Cobain. Some of the artists who talk about Kurt are; Red Hot Chili Peppers,
Alien ant farm, The Stooges, Taproot, and more! :) It's definitely worth checking out." Thanks
to Rachelle Leah for this one.
- - - August 9, 2001 - - -
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer put up a very interesting review and
article on the new Charles Cross book "Heavier than Heaven". Here are
some excerpts from the article; " 'You've got to read Kurt's diaries,'
urged Courtney Love, Cobain's widow and fellow rock star. Cross' jaw
dropped, then he stammered, 'What diaries?' Only weeks later, the Seattle
writer found himself alone in the basement of the rental home of Love's
then-manager in the Hollywood Hills. Cross proceeded to open a duffel
bag containing 28 spiral notebooks filled with the intimate thoughts
and weird ramblings of the grunge icon who took his own life at age 27."
- "Cross' 'Heavier Than Heaven' (Hyperion, 352 pages, $24.95) is a
serious-minded treatment of a tortured artist. It is a fascinating,
if sometimes frightful, read, a full-scale work that manages to be
respectful of Cobain's unlikely triumphs from poverty and also critical
of his stunning excesses, his addiction to heroin, his longtime tango
with suicide. At the outset of the four-year project, Cross compiled
a list of 100 important interview subjects and ultimately persuaded
all but a couple of them to go on record with their recollections.
The writer had many repeat encounters with key principals, including
the volcanic Courtney Love, as well as Cobain's father (but not his
mother and bandmate Dave Grohl, who declined to be interviewed).
Twenty-five of the interviews lasted more than five hours, sometimes
with people who had refused scores of times, only to finally relent and
then find themselves almost unable to stop talking. Many of the interview
subjects were often convulsed with tears when pondering the haunting
question of why -- why someone with so much to live for, a career that had
reached the pinnacle of music with all the attendant fame and fortune,
plus a wife and young daughter whom he loved and adored, why that very
person would fill his veins with what was probably a fatal dose of black
tar heroin, then stick a shotgun in his mouth and pull the trigger? Why
indeed, and what could others have done differently?" Read the full article
courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Thanks to Charles Cross for the
link. I am currently doing an interview of my own with Charlie that will be
put here shortly. The website livenirvana also put up a review of the book
that you can read here.
8/13 - Aberdeen, Aberdeen Timberland Library, 7 p.m.
8/18 - Seattle, The Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S. Main, 7:30 p.m.
8/29 - Portland, Powell's City of Books, 1005 W. Burnside, 7:30 p.m.
9/2 - Seattle, Bumbershoot Festival, Reading, 2:15—3:15 p.m.
9/5 - San Francisco, Borders Stonestown Galleria, 233 Winston. Dr. 7 p.m.
9/7 - Los Angeles, Book Soup, 8818 W Sunset Blvd, 8 p.m.
10/17 - Seattle, University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, 7 p.m.
10/20-21 - Seattle, Northwest Bookfest, Stadium Exhibition Hall, time TBA
The schedule for Charles Cross' tour to promote his book, signing autographs
and do readings has slightly changed since I last posted it here. Here is the
"Nirvana will be on VH-1 on Friday, August 10, at 11 PM - alongside Jimi Hendrix
and many others on a '100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll' special. 'VH1 11 PM, 100
Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll: JIMI HENDRIX, JONI MITCHELL, NIRVANA.' " Thanks to
Daniel for the news.
- - - August 7, 2001 - - -
The site dotmusic.com are once again running an 'Online Music Awards'
contest. This site has been entered to compete for the People's Choice
Award. So, if you would like to vote for this site to receive that award,
please click here
and fill out the details. If you vote, you also have a chance to win a
Technics stereo system. So, if you like this site, please go and vote.
Last year, more than 2.220 sites entered the same contest -- this one
landed in the Top 70. Thanks in advance for your vote. Let's prove that
Nirvana still matters!
- - - August 4, 2001 - - -
The big news sites put up a story about the recent Grohl/Novoselic jam,
mentioned in the July 25 update; "Former Nirvana men Dave Grohl and Krist
Novoselic played together recently in a Los Angeles studio. The duo --
recently united in a legal battle against their late band mate Kurt Cobain's
wife Courtney Love over a proposed Nirvana box set -- were joined by Queens
of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, L7's singer/guitarist Donita Sparks,
Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and legendary session drummer Jim
Keltner (John Lennon, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan). Although the impromptu
supergroup laid down tracks, there are at present no plans to release them."
courtesy of Rolling Stone and Yahoo! Let's hope this awesome collection of
talented musicians will indeed release something from the session.
"With a top five album on the Billboard 200 album chart and a monster hit
('It's Been Awhile'), the press onslaught and pressure of fame are knocking at
Staind's door. LAUNCH asked singer Aaron Lewis if he was concerned about ending
up a rock 'n' roll tragedy like the late Kurt Cobain or Alice In Chains
missing-in-action singer Layne Staley. 'Some of those stories are very tragic,'
he said. 'One of the biggest tragedies in music today is Layne Staley. Absolutely
an amazing, amazing singer and songwriter, and is wasting away somewhere hiding out
from everybody and just wasting so much unbelievable talent. It's sad.' " Story
courtesy of LAUNCH and Yahoo!
- - - August 1, 2001 - - -
Tomorrow evening at 10.45, the nationwide Danish television channel TV2 will
be airing the infamous "Kurt and Courtney" documentary. It was also aired
on their affiliate TV2 Zulu a couple of months ago. The documentary has
been advertised by a well made teaser that makes the docu out to be a
lot better than it actually is. The docu is being aired as part of TV2's
"hot doks" special that last week featured an interesting documentary about
the rise and fall of a dot-com business.
Today, it's been exactly 20 years since the popular music television
channel MTV first aired in the US. To celebrate their anniversary, they
have been airing various specials lately, going over the highlights of
the past 20 years of music, including segments on Nirvana. A big round
of congrats to MTV. Relevant to this story, Michael sent in this one;
"In 'The Mirror', an english newspaper, it tells you the story behind
MTV as August 1st is the stations 20th birthday. Anyway, they had a section
about the top most requested videos and Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'
came in at number one. I have included a scan
from the paper."
The NFC Board archive has been updated. This section, archiving a wast
selection of the posts made to the NFC Discussion Board, has been changed
entirely. All the files were converted to a more simple format, leaving out
all layout and design, as well as irrelevant information. What is left is
simply the message, the date it was posted, and the username of the person
who wrote it. Everything else has simply been cut away, since it is not of
particular relevance or importance to this type of archive. The result of
the conversion is far smaller files to be downloaded. An example: one of the
zip files with posts from the 'Born in a Junkyard' forum contains 958 files (958
different threads made to the board), that took up 54 MB in uncompressed state.
After being converted to the new format, the same 958 files took up just nine
MB. Because of that, the new zip file (where all the html files are compressed),
is just 3 MB whereas the original zip file was about 6.5 MB. So, essentially,
the size of the archive has dropped more than 50% - making it significantly
faster to download. Now, one only has to get a 3 MB file to read discussions
on more than 950 topics - comprising thousands of messages. The entire archive
currently contains about 23.000 threads, offering more than a quarter of a million
messages. The majority of these were posted between August 5 last year and now.
A few threads made between July 1999 and August 2000 are also available, but not
all of them. Check the impressive archive here or click
here for the actual discussion board and
the latest discussions.