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Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana Paperback – September 1, 1993

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Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana + Journals + Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

My favorite book about Nirvana. For one thing, it doesn't sensationalize, but it doesn't gloss anything over. Having been active in the Seattle music scene throughout Nirvana's obscurity, fame, and demise, I can vouch for the accuracy of its description of the music community in the late '80s and early '90s and Nirvana's role. And being in a band that's currently climbing the ladder, I appreciated the many lessons this book has to offer about the workings of the recording industry.

Best of all, because this book was written before Cobain's death, it is not tinged with the "isn't this tragic" attitude that permeates many books about Nirvana and Cobain. Instead, the book is vibrant with the energy, excitement, and passion that swept local musicians the day "Nevermind" was released, local audiences in the months after, the U.S, and--lest we forget--the world, during Nirvana's more-than-15-minutes of fame.

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"Amazingly raw and  candid... Come As You Are is as  good as rock bios get"  -- Billboard.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (September 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385471998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385471992
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, awhile ago, and reread it again because of my enjoyment of it the first time, and it didn't let me down the second time around. The book kept my interest and gave me a new perspective on a few parts of Nirvana and Kurt. I have read other books, such as "Who Killed Kurt Cobain?" and "Kurt Cobain" and a few other shorter biographies and compiled books. I know a great amount about our legeng, Kurt Donald Cobain, and yet I still love reading his biographies over and over, especially Come As You Are. CAYA takes you through Kurt's life, starting with Day 1. It leads you right through about 1993, very early 1994, and the new editions have an after-chapter about his death, although not nearly as much about the ending as we would have liked. A good thing about the book is the quotes. The biographer wrote the book based on a series of many interviews with Kurt, so Kurt says a lot. A possibilty of biasism is because of one theory. A bad review was written about Kurt and Courtney in Vanity Fair magazine, leading to trials about custody and having their new baby, Frances Bean, taken temporarily away from them, and making them turn in weekly urine tests. Kurt wanted to quickly create a "good, nice" buzz about him so the aftermath of the article would vanish. They wanted to protect Courtney's name, so they hired a biographer. The book may try to make Courtney seem better than she is. Read "Who Killed Kurt Cobain?" afterwards and compare the Courtney in each book. For new Kurt fans, or un-Kurt-ly-educated fans, I would suggest this book, it is simple to read and extremely captivating.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Stevo on August 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Nirvana was a great band. This book is almost as good as the band itself. It is literally perfect when it comes to Nirvana.
Now, recently, another Kurt Cobain biography was released, "Heavier Than Heaven", by Charles R. Cross. While the book is good, it was written after Kurt's death, and most of the people paint a negative portrait of him, which is unfair, since Kurt cannot speak for himself. Also, most of that book seems to be the "Courtney Love is a wonderful person" story, as the author time and time again paints a wonderful picture of her. Is it any coincidence that Courtney was one of the main people interviewed for the book? Hmmmm......
With that aside, here is why, if you seek information on Kurt and Nirvana, that you should read this book and not "Heavier Than Heaven." It's real simple. It was written with Kurt. Whereas HTH was written with people who knew Kurt (who could make him any type of person they wanted to) CAYA is written with interviews with the man himself. That alone makes this the Ultimate Nirvana/Cobain book.
Aside from that, the book is very thorough and leaves few details out. It's probably the best bio on a musical group I've ever read. Intimate, up front, and candid. You can't ask for much more than that.
So, to sum it all up, if you're looking for a biography on Kurt Cobain, this is the book. If you're looking for information on Nirvana, this is the book. If you're simply looking for a good book to read, THIS IS THE BOOK!
I don't think I can recommend it any more than I have already.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "firespark" on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
Come as You Are was written before Kurt Cobain's death in 1994, so it isn't focused on the tragedy of it, rather on his life leading up to the event. Its a very candid look at his happy beginnings and how his life at home deteriorated and the refuge he found in music. Nirvana went though many drummers and musicians before finally settling on Dave Grohl. This book portrays Kurt like he was: a pained musician who didn't want nor know how to handle his sudden fame. Come As You Are is personal, funny, and intriguing. After reading it, I started thinking more about their music and the impact they made on the industry. Any fans of the band would probably love this, or even if you're not, it has an up close look at the music world of record labels, fame, fortune, touring, and all the work that goes into the production. Definitely worth reading. It also has some good photos.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on August 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Come As You Are is a valuable source of information on Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, not only for its in-depth coverage of the band's rise and early years of fame, but because it lacks the tone of hero worship and tragedy present in virtually all other post-1994 books about this group. Where later books never seem to step entirely away from the cloud Cobain's death at age twenty-seven cast over the short history of Nirvana, Come As You Are is often funny, always descriptive, and slants toward what looked at the time of its publication, to be an influential future for this ground-breaking trio. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about the roots of the best band of the Grunge era.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Carrie on November 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I finished reading this book just a couple of weeks ago, & I convinced myself that this would be the best book I would read on Nirvana (and/or K. Cobain). It was written before K's suicide in 1994, & he actually sat down with the band. It has quotes from several people affiliated with K, not just Courtney. It obviously didn't dwell on his suicide, but the final chapter was well written.
Being a fan of Courtney (and Hole), I am aware that she lies. & I recommend this book over HTH because the facts are given to you right then & there, & they don't drag out. The author obviously has a good sense of humour, like K did, & the book made me laugh.
I wanted to read a book on K that would give me details/facts about his life, but I also would rather be entertained with a smile, than trying to hold back tears.
In HTH, Cross makes K out to be only some kid from a rural town who was just miserable & a terrible influence. K was creative & intelligent... & CAYA depicts that.
If you read only one book on K, or even Nirvana in general... which Azzerad does a fine job of doing... this is it.
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