A monster piece of rock writing...For the dedicated music fan...It's not just a history of the band.
Smells like a good bio...True is true to Nirvana's past.
Fascinating . . . An alt-rock Great Gatsby with True as Nick Carraway and Kurt and Courtney as Tom and Daisy . . . Riveting.
True . . . has a solid understanding of the band's artistic importance, not just as improbable unit-shifters or as a social phenomenon.
The one outstanding virtue of True’s book is his close attention to musical politics, especially Cobain’s ambivalent relationship to the puritanically anticommercial, do-it-yourself ethos he discovered among the musicians of Olympia, Wash., where he lived for several years. “Hello, we’re major-label corporate rock sellouts,” Cobain declared to a crowd in early 1991, not long after the band signed with the David Geffen Company; and Nirvana could never decide whether its success counted as victory or appeasement.
The New York Times
True's history of the superstar 1990s band gets off to a rough start when he invokes the "live fast, die young" cliché and declares, "Kurt Cobain left one of the best-looking corpses around," perhaps not the most tasteful epitaph given the singer' s shotgun suicide. Subsequent chapters on Cobain' s early years are bogged down with interviews with just about anyone who ever met him, many with little apparent editing from the original transcripts. Fortunately, the pace picks up as Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl join the band, and the trio rocket to fame. True trades heavily on his role as one of the first music journalists to write about the Seattle scene, as well as his status as Cobain's "drunken English buddy" and an ambiguously close relationship with Courtney Love (he also takes credit for introducing the two to each other). His insider perspective, combined with a tighter control over the interview selection, brings thoughtful insight to Cobain's dramatic crash-and-burn. Yet though largely respectful, True is somewhat ambivalent, questioning the extent of Cobain's talent and openly wondering if Nirvana had any real influence on rock. His opinionated, idiosyncratic take on the band is sure to set tongues wagging and respark the debate over how things went so wrong for Cobain so fast. 32 pages of photos. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
British rock journalist True (Hey Ho Let's Go: The Story of the Ramones) was friends with the members of Nirvana during the band's short time in the world spotlight in the early 1990s. Here, he assembles his own recollections, published sources, and hundreds of interviews into a detailed biography that recounts--among instances of drug and domestic abuse, suicide attempts, spirited stage shows, recordings, and business travails--his introducing frontman Kurt Cobain and future wife Courtney Love. When the inevitable contradictions arise, True makes sense of his interviewees' varying versions of the past, often offering up his insider thoughts on the sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll that was Nirvana. Yet despite the largely kiss-and-tell-and-everything-in-between nature of this biography, True manages to analyze successfully the Seattle grunge sound and put Nirvana and other grunge bands into their proper context. Recommended for public libraries to complement Michael Azerrad's Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, long the go-to biography of the band featuring interviews with Cobain, and Charles R. Cross's Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain.
James E. Perone