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The Amplified Come As You Are, Michael Azerrad

I read the original version of this book in 1994 before Cobain died and it was highly insightful into the band, and most specifically the life of Cobain and his inner demons.  This version, 30 years later, an annotated version of over 600 pages, is an absolute must for anyone who is a Nirvana fan. Superbly written, perceptive, thoughtful… it truly is a rock masterpiece about the band and its history, and most specifically Kurt. After all, it was his band.  From the songwriting, and arranging, all the way to the t-shirts, to the album covers, to every single aspect of the music you could think of.  It was all him. And Michael was not some typical journalist. He became a friend of Kurt’s… more importantly, a loyal friend who was trying to help as best as he could, but knew, as all the entourage surrounding Kurt, he was headed down a road of self-destruction that no one, in the end, could fix, except Kurt himself. Kurt had a tough life.. no doubt. And not just with the fame part. This was deep-rooted, from the time his parents divorced when he was 7 up until the day he shot himself in April of 1994.

Maybe heroin is the drug you do when millions of people love you and you don’t even love yourself? It's excruciating to come across all the references to suicide mentioned by Kurt in this book. Though, rightfully, as Michael mentions, that can be difficult to see when you’re right in the thick of it. Kurt as always sad. He was always depressed – it can become one’s default state and routine, so familiar, that it's difficult to cope with feeling any other way. His lyrics are difficult to read knowing the pain that man was going through.

Kurt achieved wild success, the fulfillment of his dreams. Though, as I have stated many times, and believe this with my whole heart… we tend to overestimate the ability of a good material situation to make us happier. One the initial euphoria wears off, where does that leave you? The material won’t make you happy. Kurt knew this all too well.

If you want the history of Nirvana – this is the book.


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