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Customer Review

on 17 November 2010
Once upon a time, Everett True was a luminary of the British music press and it was during his time at Melody Maker that he played an instrumental part in bringing the first wave of the grunge movement over to the UK. Without his input, it is likely that the Seattle sound of the late 1980s would have stayed as a localised scene, a footnote in the history of independent underground music, and would never have come to the attention of the wider audience it would eventually go on to reach.

The story of Nirvana is one that's been told many times. There have been some reasonable attempts at it, although Michael Azzerad's Come As You are is a little lightweight, and Charles R Cross's Heavier Than Heaven (really a biog of Kurt Cobain) is rather sensationalised for the most part. This account is neither lightweight nor sensational and is probably the best book on Nirvana that you're ever likely to read.

It's a highly personal account. True was a good friend of the band and was one of only two people (the other being Mark Lanegan) who was asked to read at Cobain's funeral. The fact that he was on such good terms with most of the people involved means that the narrative is candid, contributers are open and honest with him, and his passion for the band and the scene in general is clear throughout. There are some lovely anecdotes (such as his take on the band's legendary performance at Reading 1992, and Cobain's claim that when he wrote School "I would have mentioned Soundgarden by name if I could......"), and despite his clear ego-mania (claiming to have been the one to introduce Cobain to Courtney Love, amongst other things) the tone is largely objective and steers clear of some of the hyperbole and hand-wringing that blights other works of this kind.

This is a book about Everett True as much as it is a book about Nirvana but it's all the more interesting for that, and it also contains fantastic insights from people such as Chad Channing, Dan Peters, Bruce Pavitt, Charles Peterson and a whole raft of others who played key roles in the Seattle scene. It would have been nice to hear from Lanegan, but as the book says "Mark is an intensely private, loyal and intimidating individual" so it's unlikely that his thoughts will ever be committed to print. If Everett True can't get the guy to talk, no one will.

A great read, then, with an easy to follow narrative and written in excellent prose, this is a must for anyone with even a slight interest in the Seattle sound. It also works as a nice companion piece to MIchael Azzerad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, an excellent overview of the US ungerground in the 1980s.
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Product Details

3.9 out of 5 stars
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