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 Everett True

Spot the difference: Spin Magazine vs The Guardian

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Kurt Cobain - Steve Gullick

Wow. Talk about coincidences. One would think there was only one way to write about the Nevermind reissue!

3. Nirvana came from Seattle
Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, the two founder members of Nirvana, grew up in the depressed logging town of Aberdeen, WA. Dave Grohl is from Washington DC. As soon as they could, Krist and Kurt moved: not to Seattle but to the nearby towns of Olympia and Tacoma, because the rent was cheaper. Right up to the point when Nevermind hit No 1 on the Billboard chart in December 1991, Kurt was living in Olympia. He then moved to LA before ending up in Seattle.
Ten myths about grunge, Nirvana and Kurt Cobain (Everett True, The Guardian, 24 August 2011)

Kurt Cobain was a notorious planner, and his journals are filled with track listings for albums he never made. His first idea for a title for Nevermind was Sheep. He went so far as drawing an ad in his journal with typically cryptic, Cobain-esque copy: “Sheep: Because you want to not, because everyone else is,” it read, with the tagline of “Abort Christ.” Krist Novoselic offered up his explanation for the title: “We were thinking about calling it Sheep because we were so cynical.” But that plan was abandoned by late 1990.
8 Myths About Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ (Charles “R” Cross, Spin Magazine, 8 September 2011)

At least when I’m engaged in creating myths around the Pacific Northwest I’m aware of it.

Photography: Steve Gullick

Related posts:
Thought for the day (Kurt Cobain) + 19 Nirvana-related blog entries

17 Responses to Spot the difference: Spin Magazine vs The Guardian

  1. Wallace Wylie September 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I just discovered that it was a myth that “Nevermind” was recorded in ’91. Turns out it was only the vast majority of it that was recorded in ’91. Glad we put that one to bed.

  2. Everett True September 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Yeah, that one seems to be stretching credulity a fraction.

  3. tim footman September 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Called Sheep because they were all big fans of the Housemartins, right?

  4. Joseph Kyle September 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    A question for you, Everett, and something I’ve always been curious about: have you ever given thought to write your book on Kurt? Or is it because of his legacy and your respect for the man that you have chosen not to?

  5. Tom R September 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    The difference, to my mind, is pretty obvious. One is interesting and insightful, and genuinely adds to the knowledge base in the popular media about the band; the other is shallow and not news at all, having been reported a number of times before.

    But I’m sure I’m just stating the obvious to the CB audience.

  6. TheLastHeretic September 15, 2011 at 12:33 am

    4 Myths About Kurt Cobain and Nirvana


    Kurt Cobain was a notorious swimmer. At home his walls were studded with 2nd and 3rd place trophies and ribbons from competitions he had entered as a boy. Fuelled by his love for the ocean, competition and big eyes, Kurt instigated a routine of swimming with sea lions, and in typical lead-singer histrionics, all but forced the other two members of Nirvana to attend. In 1993 Novoselic, clearly numb from his experience said, “I got pulled out by a riptide and something poked out at me, it was a sea lion.” Friends later remarked that the most prosaic expression of Cobain’s sea lion obsession came in the form the Jacki-o sunglasses he became famous for.


    Kurt Cobain was essentially made twice. The session that began in March 1964 with man-mountain Andre the Giant at Wishkah, Washington, was remarkably similar to the session Cobain’s mother had in February 1967 with Donald in Aberdeen. Andre the Giant made several parts of Cobain from bits of straw, safety pins and homemade glue, five of which ended up on Cobain, though most were new versions of those initial ideas. The major difference between the Wishkah sessions and those parts made in Aberdeen was the inclusion of wool. So while most of Kurt was made in ’67, his genesis really began 3 years earlier.


    A common fallacy regarding this track from the Nevermind follow up In Utero is that it relates to lobotomised actress Francis Farmer, born in 1913. In fact the name is a corruption of a secret brethren’s monniker, Frank Former. A nudist and socio-political maleficent, Frank Former headed up the controversial SAD group, acolytes of which were called a SAD, though often dropping the indefinite article. Cobain’s name appears on a register for SAD (Seattleites Against Disinterest), whose activities included, ‘walks through places of interest’ and ‘learning about interesting things that may or may not be true to learn about the world and which you didn’t really need to know anyway but may just cheer you up’, were a public education charity working in advantaged homes around Washington. Cobain obviously found some comfort in the group. His secret work with SAD was international news, yet no one seemed to notice its relevance.


    Nirvana first recorded “Teen Spirit” on a Zither at a rehearsal, a recording that was tragically lost and so will not appear on the forthcoming Nevermind boxset. But even though the band liked the riff, no one in the group knew it was a rock song. Butch Vig said he knew it was one the moment he heard it in early ’91, when Cobain sent him a copy of their new material. But the real reason Nirvana started recording their demos on a zither, according to Grohl, was because they kept forgetting how to play the guitar on several songs they’d written. “So many songs got thrown away, until we finally said, ‘Maybe we should start recording them on a Zither,'” he said. (Bonus trivia: In 1896 in Seattle, Washington a 150 foot long arm from an octopus
    was found in a whale’s stomach.)

  7. Erika September 15, 2011 at 1:43 am

    I’m confused. Is this going to be on the test?

    Charles Cross casts a long shadow over the NW music scene and it’s pretty obvious that some folks have some serious problems with the guy. I’ve tried to figure out the real core of the problems. Here are two ideas I came up with: 1. Cross has a tendency to go for (or conjure up) an exciting “myth making” story, even if it’s not fully supported by facts. 2. Cross makes a comfortable living writing about some NW acts he didn’t necessarily recognize or support back in the day. So to the uninformed public, Cross is THE Pacific NW music “expert” but to those in the know, an opportunist, profiteer, and clueless myth-maker.

    Am I getting warm?

  8. Everett True September 15, 2011 at 6:46 am

    @TheLastHeretic This is great. Fancy adding six more and sending it in as a column?

  9. Darragh September 15, 2011 at 7:41 am

    @lastHeretic – pretty amusing 🙂

  10. Matt O'Neill September 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I was going to say…Publish that shit!

  11. TheLastHeretic September 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Thanks. Err…yer, I can give it a go, might take me a few days though.

  12. Everett True September 15, 2011 at 9:54 am


  13. Erika September 15, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Also, in the two 2 biographies I’ve read, _Heavier Than Heaven_ and _Roomful of Mirrors_, I noticed he tends to rely heavily on sources you could argue have questionable motive and/or reliability. In the former, it was Courtney; it the latter, Al Hendrix.

  14. TheLastHeretic September 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    @EverettTrue I’m on it.

  15. Everett True September 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    This article right here is vastly superior to either.

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