A downright revolutionary 30th-anniversary deluxe edition of the iconic bestselling biography of Nirvana, updated with exclusive new content exploring the personal and cultural forces that inspired the music, the author’s friendship with Kurt Cobain and why multiple generations remain fascinated by the 1990s.
“Just tell the truth. That’ll be better than anything else that's been written about me.”—Kurt Cobain to author Michael Azerrad
It has been three decades since Nirvana upended the pop cultural landscape with Nevermind, the landmark album that became the soundtrack of Generation X, capturing its confusion, frustration, and passion. In 1993, Michael Azerrad published what stands as the definitive biography of this revolutionary band and its star-crossed leader Kurt Cobain. Written with the band’s complete cooperation, Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana became a massive bestseller and was, in the words of Cobain, "the best rock book I’ve ever read.”
Seven months after the book’s original publication, Cobain was dead by suicide, making Come as You Are the only book about Nirvana that features original interviews with Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer Dave Grohl.
Now, Azerrad has revisited and reconsidered his original text. The result is this “amplified” version—a truly unique book-within-a-book featuring hundreds of extensive new essay-like annotations that deepen our understanding of this legendary band and the time in which it existed. Azerrad reconsiders the key players and their cultural context; ruminates on topics such as punk rock, selling out, and Generation X; and offers insights into the inner life and creative mind of one of the most significant songwriters and musicians in rock history—a haunting and haunted artist whose influence continues powerfully to the present day.
It all comes down to a search for the answer to the question: Why was this music so extraordinarily powerful?
Vivid, evocative, and thought-provoking, this gorgeous hardcover book—featuring 100 photos and ephemera—is an essential document not just for Nirvana fans but for anyone interested in the cultural legacy of the 1990s.
About the Author
Michael Azerrad is a rock journalist, author and drummer. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mojo, Spin and the New Yorker. He frequently appears on television as a commentator on rock music and was most recently the editor-in-chief of the Talkhouse. He is the author of the books Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana and Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981–1991.
Thirty years after its original publication, rock writer Azerrad (Our Band Could Be Your Life) updates and nearly doubles the number of pages of his groundbreaking Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. The author intersperses hundreds of new, detailed paragraphs throughout the original text to amplify and clarify the earlier material. Most satisfying, he adds a lengthy epilogue which deals with events that happened after the 1991 release of the album Nevermind, including Kurt Cobain’s last months and tragic death in 1994. New material includes the Nirvana tours and practice sessions that Azerrad attended; Cobain’s meeting with one of his heroes, William Burroughs; the telltale signs that pointed to Cobain’s self-destructive impulses and his eventual death; and the utter remorse that Azerrad and other insiders felt after Cobain’s suicide at age 27. VERDICT (...) Nirvana fans will want to read it. — Library Journal (starred review)
"Michael Azerrad has always demonstrated a passionate feeling for the ideas, the ambitions, that drive the notable moments of recent musical history. But this annotated edition of his earlier book, which was already a very successful biography, breaks out even further into high art. He's the perfect narrator, now, for a very important question, perhaps increasingly forgotten: why was punk important and how do we talk about it now? The urgencies of this question are everywhere in this powerful, uncertain, and profoundly human work. Azzerad's restless plunging onward, represents the further entanglement in deep, fraught, endangered wisdom." — Rick Moody, bestselling author of The Ice Storm and Hotels of North America
“Enriched with new anecdotes, insights and info-morsels, this super-expanded Michael Azerrad classic is a great story made even more gripping. Nirvana’s underground-overground arc becomes a prism for understanding an entire era of rock music and pop culture.” — Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84
"Essential for Nirvana fans." — Kirkus Reviews