HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN: A Biography of Kurt Cobain

Charles R. Cross, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (381p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6505-5

"And there had never quite been a rock star like Kurt Cobain," Cross eulogizes in this celebrity biography. Unfortunately, Cross, former editor of the Rocket, a Northwestern music and entertainment weekly, never proves his claim. Instead, Cobain's story, culled from more than 400 interviews with friends, family and colleagues and exclusive access to Cobain's unpublished diaries, sounds wholly ordinary, from boilerplate adolescent bitterness about his parents' divorce ("I hate Mom, I hate Dad. Dad hates Mom, Mom hates Dad. It simply makes you want to be so sad") and malt liquor, punk rock–adorned angst to the tawdry details of his drug addiction. "Even in this early stage of his career, Kurt had already begun the process of retelling his own story in a manner that formed a separate self," writes Cross as he carefully dispels some of Cobain's self-made myths, including claims of living under a bridge, "tales... about his constant abuse at the hands of Aberdeen's rednecks" and harboring an aversion to fame. The many unenlightening observations are often painted thick with sensationalism; other times, Cross trawls the bottom for sources whose credibility and relevance are dubious at best. (For instance, he interviews Cobain's drug-addicted ex-babysitter, Cali, and some of her girlfriends, yielding a depressing she-said-he-said of Kurt's final days.) Conspiracy theorists will speculate about the conditions under which Cross gained access to Cobain's private journals. Complete with gossip and meticulous references, the biography will catch the devotees, though, like junk food, it may leave them feeling unnourished. 16 pages b&w photos. (Aug. 15)

Forecast:Released on the 10th anniversary of Come As You Are and with radio giveaways, this book will sell well.

Reviewed on: 07/16/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 381 pages - 978-0-340-73939-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-4542-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4551-0732-2
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-7868-8402-5
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4013-0451-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-4708-3
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7861-5512-5
MP3 CD - 978-0-7861-7600-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7861-7136-1
Compact Disc - 978-0-7861-6585-8
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-316-49244-7
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