Title: Kurt Cobain
Author: Christopher Sandford
Page Count/Review Word Count: 414
This is one of the many books that I read as a kid on the subject of Kurt Cobain, but it’s also one of the better ones. Sandford, who’s also written biographies of Steve McQueen, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen and Roman Polanski, is the perfect man for the job – he’s thorough with his research and he writes fluidly. I can’t speak for any of his other work, but here you get the impression that he’s allowed himself and his writing to take a back seat – the focus is entirely on his subject, which is as it should be.
In fact, at 414 pages and with tiny print, I find it hard to think of another Kurt Cobain biography which is able to beat this based on the sheer quantity of information alone. Sandford could almost have managed to get two books out of it, and he must’ve struggled when preparing the final manuscript to decide where to draw the line. Of course, Cobain had a more interesting life than most, and so even in his 27 short years, he provided plenty of source material for Sandford to take advantage of.
Now, this book isn’t for everybody, but if you’re a Kurt Cobain fan or if you’re just a lover of grunge in general, then you’re sure to enjoy it. You’ll also enjoy it if you just have a thing for biographies, and, like most of them, this one includes some photographs to help you to visualise what was happening. Cobain died when I was five, and so they helped me to imagine what it might have been like to be a rock star whilst I was wandering around in nappies.
It also includes a bunch of appendices that music afficionados might find interesting, such as chronologies and indexes. And I guess that’s one of the good things about this book – depending upon how deep you want to get, you can use it many ways. You can read through it, like the narrative of the musician’s life, or you can use the various appendices to look up specific information. It’s pretty rare to see that in biographies of celebrities – sure, maybe you get an index, but they’re rarely this well-researched. That’s kind of why I like it – it’s the definitive story of what happened between Cobain’s birth to his death.