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Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain Hardcover – March 18, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Kurt Cobain was the voice of a generation. Twenty years after his death, why does he still matter?

On April 5, 1994, twenty-seven-year-old Kurt Cobain took his own life. His desperation to kick drugs, his complicated relationship with fame, his tortured soul—all these elements came together in one terrible moment in Seattle, and the landscapes of music and pop culture were forever changed. Two decades have passed since Cross, a Seattle-based editor and writer and early supporter of Nirvana, lived the horror of that day on the front lines, fielding the phone calls as the media descended upon his city, desperately searching for an exclusive on the death of yet another young rock icon.

While the impact of a person's life is difficult to see fully on the day he dies, the long view provides a wider, and usually more accurate, vista. For the first time ever, Cross, author of the definitive Cobain biography, Heavier Than Heaven, explores how the haunting memory of Cobain—the life he led, the music he played, and the people he touched—lives on in innumerable, and sometimes surprising, ways. Here We Are Now attempts to answer where we—the fans, the music business and fashion industry, the addiction and recovery communities, Kurt's family—are, two decades later.

Cobain's life and work can be seen everywhere, from his indelible marks on music to his more subtle influence on gender and gay rights, the way we view suicide and drug addiction, and the very idea of Seattle as a cultural hub. Nirvana's music has touched multiple generations, and while the world has changed considerably since Nevermind was first released in 1991, the status of that album only grows as years pass. Cobain and Nirvana are now part of a rite of passage through adolescence, and while "teen spirit" may have changed and evolved since the early nineties, the music remains authentic all the same. Simply stated, Kurt Cobain changed the cultural conversation, in his all too brief life, and even after his shattering death. With interviews and commentary from all corners of the pop culture universe, from the people who knew Cobain to those who continue to help his legend grow, Here We Are Now explores what a singular life meant, and how that meaning can be measured, when and if it can be.

About the Author

Charles R. Cross has written nine books, including Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain, which was a New York Times bestseller, won the 2002 ASCAP Award for Outstanding Biography, and was called "one of the most moving and revealing books ever written about a rock star" by the Los Angeles Times. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Room Full of Mirrors: The Biography of Jimi Hendrix and was the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll, with Ann and Nancy Wilson. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062308211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062308214
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles R. Cross graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a degree in creative writing. At the UW, he served as editor of the Daily in 1979, and caused a major ruckus when he left the front page of the newspaper blank. The only type was a small line that read "The White Issue," in deference to the Beatles' White Album.

After college, Cross served as editor of The Rocket, the Northwest's music and entertainment magazine, from 1986 through 2000. The Rocket was hailed as "the best regional music magazine in the nation" by the L.A. Reader, and it was the first publication ever to run a story on Nirvana. Cross wrote stories on such seminal Northwest bands as The Wailers, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and hundreds, if not thousands, of lesser-known bands. In addition to The Rocket, Cross's writing has appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, Playboy, Spin, Guitar World, Q, Uncut, and Creem. He has also written for many newspapers and alternative weeklies, including the London Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has lectured and read at universities and colleges around the world, and has frequently been interviewed for film, radio, and television documentaries, including VH1's "Behind the Music."

Cross is the author of seven books, including 2005's Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix (published by Hyperion in the U.S., and Hodder in the U.K.). His 2001 release, Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain (Hyperion/Hodder), was a New York Times bestseller and was called "one of the most moving and revealing books ever written about a rock star" by the Los Angeles Times. In 2002, Heavier Than Heaven won the ASCAP Timothy White Award for outstanding biography. Cross's other books include the national bestseller Cobain Unseen (Little Brown), Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and His Music (Harmony, 1989); Led Zeppelin: Heaven and Hell (Harmony, 1992); and Nevermind: The Classic Album (Schirmer, 1998).

Customer Reviews

I don't know how this man lives with himself.
mricherbos
I think reading this book makes Mr. Cross's other book about Kurt Cobain, a biography titled "Heavier Than Heaven", a must read.
James Sorensen
A must read for any Nirvana fan, better yet ... a must read for all music fans.
Andrew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Sorensen on March 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Being an older reader I did not know much about Kurt Cobain or Nirvana as a group. Although NOT a biography this book was a very informative look into the life and societal influence of Mr. Cobain.
I think reading this book makes Mr. Cross's other book about Kurt Cobain, a biography titled "Heavier Than Heaven", a must read.

This book looks at how Kurt Cobain and Nirvana has left a lasting mark on society through his music and subsequent suicide. It also shows how foolish and gullible the media can be in looking for a story. This book focuses on the influence of Kurt and his music, how the clothes he wore changed the fashion industry and how society views drug abuse and suicide. The author also looks at the term "Grunge" and how it was erroneously applied to Nirvana's music.

Kurt's death was no doubt a tragedy and loss to the world at large. To lose such a talent at such an early age is sad on many levels, but the loss of such a young man should be an eye opener to all of society. Heroin is such an insidious evil and Kurt's death should be a lesson to us that Drug addiction is no respecter of persons. A very well written book and a fascinating look into the life and influence of someone I was marginally aware of. I knew of Nirvana's anthem "Smells Like Teen Spirit" but couldn't have told anyone the name of the song should my life depend on it. Now I have "Nevermind" and "In Utero" loaded on my Ipod. I am a fan at age 58 which must seem strange. But with the talentless state of todays music, Kurt Cobain may just be the last great complete musician we shall see for some time to come.

If you have any interest in Nirvana(or even if you don't)this book is a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bunny on August 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I didn't start out a Nirvana fan. My sister was four years older than me, and she would blast "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and I would be annoyed.

To be fair, I still don't much care for that song. It wasn't until "All Apologies" that I covertly started paying attention to what she was listening to. I recall being in a car with her, and her best friend, singing along quietly. Her friend told my sister I was cool, and my sister grumbled.

I was 11 when he died. Which feels really, really young looking back, but it really did affect us. I was in Catholic school, and only a handful of my classmates were fans, but for just a minute, we were bonded with sadness that there would be no more Nirvana. We would never get to see them live.

I'm still unhappy about that one. It's on the list, when I finally meet The Doctor. We're going back.

This book is fantastic. Halfway through, I started texting my best friend (another huge Nirvana fan, but we didn't meet until three or four years after he was gone) facts. I also pointed out that this is a very short book, and she'll have plenty of time to read it between child wrangling before it has to be back to the library.

I love this book not just because I'm a Nirvana fan, but because of what it is. It's how the world was affected by one man, by one band. I live for this stuff. It's the butterfly flapping her wings in a rainforest.

I want more books like this. I want to know how other musicians, other pop culture icons, have affected the way the world is, long after they're gone.

Mind, I'm picky. I don't want to know how Anna Nicole Smith or Britney Spears changed the world. Only important people.

I do wish this book had pictures. I don't know if it's a licensing issue or not. But I spent an inordinate amount of time googling to find the pictures discussed, and I was intensely irritated that I couldn't find Nirvana on SNL in 1992 on Youtube.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tower on October 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was 12 when Kurt Cobain committed suicide. At the time, I wasn't sure how it affected me. But I knew it affected me deeply and still does. This book doesn't contain all the answers to my own struggles, but it is a worthy read for anyone who grew up with Kurt's music.

Charles Cross makes an honest attempt to dissect the impact Cobain has had on all facets of our society. The book is engaging, deep, and heartbreaking without being overly sentimental. This is not an attempt to glorify Cobain, nor is it a cheap ploy to profit off the anniversary of his death. Rather, it is a respectful memorial to a man who changed the world in so many ways.

I flew through this book in two days, clinging to every word. I'm especially happy that Cross didn't try to make himself a focal piece of the story. This is not Cross's story. Nor is it just Kurt's story. This is a story for everyone who's ever listened to Nirvana and been blown away by the power, energy, and brilliance of the music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Justin on June 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll keep this review short just for my sake and others who are only checking the reviews before they buy this book. I thought the book was well written, tasteful, and does very well at keeping your attention. I loved this book and thought it was a unique perspective on Kurt's life and untimely death. I applaud Mr. Cross for his contributions to music and for his amazing literary talent.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Imaginal Component on May 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was timed to be released around the time of the 20th anniversary of Cobain's death. I can just see the publisher sitting around their boardroom wondering how they can cash in on poor Kurt. The token "official story" writer, Charles Cross, gets drawn in to write a book that really offers nothing to the Cobain/Nirvana canon. The author, who has compiled and penned worthwhile (though not necessarily tasteful) reads such as Heavier Than Heaven and Cobain UNSEEN, takes the approach of basically recounting several ways in which Cobain's legacy has lived on beyond his death in 1994. Cross spends a fair amount of time reminding us all how Cobain died, and even goes so far as to suggest that Cobain's death led to a reduction in suicides in Washington state overall. He doesn't address myriad "copycat suicides" however. There's just not really much in here unless you're an absolutely rabid Nirvana fan who has to read everything. I consider myself that type of fan, but even this book left me with a forgettable taste in my mouth. I'm sure Cross enjoyed his publishing advance and minimal effort it took to compile this book.
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