Thirty years after the release of Nirvana’s final studio album, In Utero, there are somehow still new things to learn about the band, as original biographer Michael Azerrad proves in his upcoming expanded edition of his classic 1993 book, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. The new book, The Amplified Come As You Are (due Oct. 24) more than doubles the length of the original version, with new information from Azerrad’s original interviews, corrections (no, Kurt Cobain never actually lived under a bridge), and reflections on the initial text.
In the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, Azerrad goes track-by-track on In Utero and more with host Brian Hiatt. Then, Nirvana’s manager, Danny Goldberg, (author of the memoir Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain), and Jim Merlis, who was Nirvana’s publicist in 1993 and 1994, share memories. Here’s some of what we learned; for the full interviews, go here for the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.
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Cobain liked to (mockingly) call Dave Grohl “the most well-adjusted boy I know,” according to Azerrad.
“I think Kurt partly was mocking Dave for being fairly together and normal,” says Azerrad. “He’s a popular, well-adjusted guy, he really is. And I think partly Kurt was making fun of that because he wasn’t a freak like Kurt. And he also was jealous. I think Kurt was a little bit jealous of Dave because Dave did have his act together.”
Two In Utero tracks appear to borrow from other bands.
The main riff of “Very Ape” sounds similar to “Kanishka” by Los Brujos, an Argentinian band who opened for Nirvana, and “Milk It” resembles the Melvins’ “It’s Shoved.”
The reference to “aqua seafoam shame” on “All Apologies” may have a very specific meaning.
“I thought, well, maybe it’s a reference to being in a hospital,” says Azerrad, “with all those bland aqua-seafoam-colored walls and he’s feeling shamed because he’s there for his drug habit.”
Sometime after Nevermind, Cobain asked his manager a question that suggested he was looking beyond the band for his musical future.
“He had asked, did he need Nirvana to be able to make records?” Goldberg recalls. “And I said, ‘No, you don’t need them, nor do you need to choose. You can do both. A lot of artists made solo side projects and did band things and that’s always been my imagination of what the future would have been. He didn’t like repeating himself creatively.”
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