Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain [NOOK Book]


Kurt Cobain was the voice of a generation. Twenty years after his death, why does he still matter?

On April 5, 1994, twenty-seven-year-old Kurt Cobain took his own life. His desperation to kick drugs, his complicated relationship with fame, his tortured soul—all these elements came together in one terrible moment in Seattle, and the landscapes of music and pop culture were forever changed. Two decades have passed since Cross, a Seattle-based editor and writer and early supporter...

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Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain

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Kurt Cobain was the voice of a generation. Twenty years after his death, why does he still matter?

On April 5, 1994, twenty-seven-year-old Kurt Cobain took his own life. His desperation to kick drugs, his complicated relationship with fame, his tortured soul—all these elements came together in one terrible moment in Seattle, and the landscapes of music and pop culture were forever changed. Two decades have passed since Cross, a Seattle-based editor and writer and early supporter of Nirvana, lived the horror of that day on the front lines, fielding the phone calls as the media descended upon his city, desperately searching for an exclusive on the death of yet another young rock icon.

While the impact of a person's life is difficult to see fully on the day he dies, the long view provides a wider, and usually more accurate, vista. For the first time ever, Cross, author of the definitive Cobain biography, Heavier Than Heaven, explores how the haunting memory of Cobain—the life he led, the music he played, and the people he touched—lives on in innumerable, and sometimes surprising, ways. Here We Are Now attempts to answer where we—the fans, the music business and fashion industry, the addiction and recovery communities, Kurt's family—are, two decades later.

Cobain's life and work can be seen everywhere, from his indelible marks on music to his more subtle influence on gender and gay rights, the way we view suicide and drug addiction, and the very idea of Seattle as a cultural hub. Nirvana's music has touched multiple generations, and while the world has changed considerably since Nevermind was first released in 1991, the status of that album only grows as years pass. Cobain and Nirvana are now part of a rite of passage through adolescence, and while "teen spirit" may have changed and evolved since the early nineties, the music remains authentic all the same. Simply stated, Kurt Cobain changed the cultural conversation, in his all too brief life, and even after his shattering death. With interviews and commentary from all corners of the pop culture universe, from the people who knew Cobain to those who continue to help his legend grow, Here We Are Now explores what a singular life meant, and how that meaning can be measured, when and if it can be.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

With the twentieth anniversary of the April 1994 suicide of Kurt Cobain fast approaching, it is an apt time for a lively examination of the lasting legacy of the ill-fated Nirvana frontman, and it is fitting that Charles Cross (Heavier Than Heavy; Cobain Unseen), the author of the most detailed Cobain biography deliver it. Here We Are Now shows definitively that the impact of this icon extends far beyond nostalgic alternative music circles. Scheduled to coincide with the advent of the landmark anniversary; certain to be discussed and reviewed.

Library Journal
★ 04/15/2014
The "legend" of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain (1967–94) has been studied, theorized, debated, and written about over the last two decades since his death. The irony of the "legend" label and the expectations that come with it is that it is somewhat anathema to the behavior, beliefs, and lifestyle that created Nirvana. While Cross's narrative is not a biography (his 2001 title, Heavier Than Heaven, is), readers will still come to know Cobain through the context of his ubiquitous legacy and its influence on popular culture. This short but intriguing book explores the troubled musician as a kind of muse for seemingly unrelated fields (modern hip-hop, medical studies, high-end fashion) as well as a champion for gay and women's rights and racial equality. Although Cross concludes that Cobain's impact is largely a personal one, this title answers "how" and "why" 20 years after his death Cobain continues to resonate with those old enough to remember him at the height of fame and those young enough to be their children. VERDICT Recommended for long-standing Nirvana and Cobain fans and those who have recently discovered the artist and his band.—Tamela Chambers, Chicago Pub. Schs.
Publishers Weekly
As editor of Seattle's alternative newspaper, The Rocket, Cross had a front-row seat as Nirvana and other artists lumped under the category of "grunge" burst onto the music scene. This unique perspective, which informed Heavier Than Heaven, his excellent biography of Kurt Cobain, is again at work in this insightful volume, published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the death of Nirvana's front man. Fans of that work will notice a few similarities as Cross inevitably revisits topics such as Cobain's formative years in the small town of Aberdeen, Wash., but these are used as jumping-off points to examine the many ways Cobain's influence on music, culture, and even fashion. In a micro sense, Cobain's addiction to opiates had a ripple effect through the Seattle music community, Cross points out, noting that a handful of musicians were scared straight. In a macro sense, it led to a more holistic understanding of how addiction should be viewed and treated. His suicide, which many feared would inspire a wave of copycats, in reality helped raise awareness about depression. Cross's latest is an excellent companion to his previous work with wide appeal among music fans. In addition, crisis and addiction counselors may find the book worth visiting. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
Routine assessment of Kurt Cobain's cultural influence. Editor of the now-defunct Seattle music magazine The Rocket at the height of the city's music scene in the 1990s, Cross (Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller than Our Souls, 2009, etc.) has written several biographies of local heroes, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed Cobain life story Heavier than Heaven (2001). In this slim book, the author sets out to make the case for six areas in which Cobain's influence was most strongly felt: music (primarily rock, not surprisingly, but also hip-hop); popular culture and media; fashion; the cities of Seattle and Aberdeen, Wash. (the depressed community where Cobain was born and raised); the ways addiction and suicide are prevented or treated; and his legacy among family and peers. The divisions among these areas are not always sharp, and in many cases cited by the author, Cobain can't be credited solely or even primarily. For instance, though the phenomenon called grunge takes up a major part of Cross' attention, he admits that Cobain never considered himself part of that alleged movement, the name of which was popularized by Mark Arm of the Seattle band Mr. Epp and the Calculations. Also, was it Cobain or Nirvana as a whole that was responsible for practically inventing the category of alternative rock for record stores and radio stations? It was, however, undoubtedly Cobain who, with his dirt-poor taste in thrift-shop cardigans, Army surplus plaids and generic ripped jeans, influenced a whole generation of fashionistas like Marc Jacobs and Hedi Slimane. Every so often, fashion resets with a new grunge period of anti-style, and Cross convincingly argues that we have Cobain and his widow, Courtney Love, to thank for that. A perfunctory accounting that reads like a stretched-out Sunday supplement article.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062308245
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 291,894
  • File size: 492 KB

Meet the Author

Charles R. Cross has written nine books, including Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain, which was a New York Times bestseller, won the 2002 ASCAP Award for Outstanding Biography, and was called "one of the most moving and revealing books ever written about a rock star" by the Los Angeles Times. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Room Full of Mirrors: The Biography of Jimi Hendrix and was the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll, with Ann and Nancy Wilson. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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