book review::Nirvana:The Biography

Last summer I read Everett True’s Nirvana:The Biography published by Da Capo Press. Everett True was the assistant editor of Melody Maker in 1989 when he set out to be the first journalist to cover Nirvana and the Seattle scene. The book does all the usual by following the band from their beginnings to the end, providing inside anecdotes and a lot of stories most of us haven’t heard before. Nirvana:The Biography is 636 pages long, and provides an insider’s account of the band and what it was like to be a part of the machine that blanketed the nineties music scene. The book also includes a large section of photos which will interest fans and perusers alike.

What I found most appealing about the book are the early chapters which do a pretty good job of illustrating the dynamic of the Northwest music scene in the late eighties. The descriptions of Aberdeen give a good sense of what it was like to grow up in a small nowhere town within close proximity to the vibrant hubs of Seattle and Olympia’s K Records. Everett True breaks down the dividing line between “Seattle prosperity” and the “Olympia integrity” and more specifically the mindset of the times that there was Seattle, and then there was everywhere else in the Pacific Northwest. No one played solos in Olympia, because solos were taboo and the music wasn’t about technical ability, but raw noise and emotion. For fans of the band and the scene in general, Nirvana:The Biography will be entertaining and informative. Finally, at one point Everett True mentions that Kurt had an affinity for myth-making; no doubt his finest myth making was his exit.
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