Charles R. Cross to Release New Book on Kurt Cobain




On April 8, 1994, twenty-seven year-old Kurt Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle after taking his own life. His desperation to kick drugs, his complicated relationship with the fame of his band Nirvana, his tortured soul – all of these elements came together in one terrible moment in Seattle, and the landscape of music and pop culture was forever changed.

Now, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of this ill-fated day, Charles R. Cross, author of the bestselling Kurt Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven (which the Los Angeles Times called “one of the most moving and revealing books ever written about a rock star”) examines the legacy of the Nirvana frontman. Cross, the longtime editor of Seattle’s music newspaper The Rocket, tackles the question: why does Kurt Cobain still matter so much, two decades after his 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: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain (It Books; Hardcover; $22.99; March 18, 2014), takes the reader to seminal moments in Cobain’s life, and shows why few in music have ever made as large a mark as the legendary star. Exploring the scope of Cobain’s lasting influence in music, fashion, culture, in Seattle itself, and among the addiction and recovery communities – in the music world and beyond – Cross’s first-person narrative shares the many important ways that Cobain impacted the world, including:

• How Kurt’s death was an outlier in the world of celebrity suicide in that it arguably led to public service reporting that saved lives – and how his wife’s very public grieving stripped his act of glamour, and turned his memorial service into brilliant public health policy

• Why Cobain was the last rock star – so far, at least, in part because he died at the start of so many major shifts in the music industry, just as technology was transforming the entire world

• How Nevermind’s critical weight has grown over time (particularly in the case of Rolling Stone, who originally gave the album three out of five stars, but then reassigned it a four-star rating after the fact)

• How the recent financial crisis and cyclical trends brought Grunge back into the forefront of fashion , where it has had an impact nearly as great as music

• Why, the more mainstream Kurt’s music became, the more he felt the need to control his agenda (wearing the t-shirts of obscure bands he liked and wanted to promote, performing benefit concerts for anti-rape and anti-hate groups, tackling homophobia in the liner notes to his albums), and his lasting influence on gender and gay rights

• Why, of all the aspects of Kurt Cobain’s legacy, Cross believes that Kurt himself would be most surprised by his impact on fashion – and how his signature look was born out of necessity than style, and why that had almost everything to do over his shame about being thin

• What Cross found while examining many of Cobain’s possessions after his death—including a pair of Converse that had “ENDORSEMENT” written on the toe, and how powerful and important Cobain’s “endorsement” was and is perceived to be within the consumer goods marketplace

• How Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen has struggled to make peace with his legacy and how different Seattle’s relationship was, and remains, with the star

• Why Cobain’s unusual stomach problems have led medical circles to study his body, and why his initial motivation to use heroin came from the discovery that it relieved his crippling stomach pain

• The undeniable effect Cobain’s death had on the ways that musicians are treated for addiction, and how managers and record labels respond today to clients who struggle with drugs

Debunking conspiracy theories over Cobain’s death, Cross reveals why overdose experts confirm that Cobain’s tolerance for the drug could absolutely have been such that it allowed him to intake more heroin than normal people and still function properly enough to pull the trigger. With analysis into the ways in which Cobain’s suicide affected the community, Cross reveals why the number of suicides in the Seattle area actually decreased in the months following Kurt’s death – even as the number of heroin addicts in Seattle has grown.

Interspersed with Cross’s own reflections and memories of the singer—including the call Cross received on the day Kurt’s body was found, and why Cross himself had to confront his own biases towards drug addiction before he could approach Cobain’s story without judgment, HERE WE ARE NOW offers a critical analysis of the impact of the star’s legacy and answers where we — the fans, the music business, fashion industry, the addiction and recovery communities, Kurt’s family — are, two decades later.


Charles R. Cross is the author of 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, with Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Author events for HERE WE ARE NOW:

Thursday, March 20, 2014 | ABERDEEN LIBRARY | 6:30pm (Aberdeen, WA)

Thursday, April 3, 2014 | TOWN HALL SEATTLE | In Conversation with John Richards (Seattle, WA)

Sunday, April 6, 2014 | EMP MUSEUM | Panel event (Seattle, WA)

Charles R. Cross Website

View “Here We Are Now” on Amazon


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