It’s only fitting that the man who first put Kurt Cobain on the cover of a publication, Charles Cross, is the man who has now written the most informative, in-depth biography about the musician who changed the landscape of rock music as we know it. With Heavier Than Heaven [Hyperion], Cross infiltrates every aspect of Cobain’s life, from the early 80s as a rebellious teen in Aberdeen, Washington, all the way through his final moments on this earth.
Compiled with over 400 interviews and 4 years of research, Cross dives into a world that hardly any people other than Cobain’s bandmates and family could even begin to imagine. Kurt was devastated as a teen when his parents separated, and much of the early portions of the book deal with Kurt’s depression and rage from this.
In perhaps the most disturbing portion, Kurt boasts to a friend in the early ‘80s “I’m going to be a superstar musician, kill myself, and go out in a flame of glory.” He also adds “I want to be rich and famous and kill myself like Jimi Hendrix, and joked that he had the “suicide genes”, as two of his relatives had committed suicide. Other instances talk of the Cobain/Love household keeping syringes in the toothbrush holder above their sink, Kurt incessantly watching movies of deformed babies and suicides, etc.
Cross manages to span a life that was far too short in a book that is nearly too long. His writing at times is quite questionable, as he details events that would be extremely hard to verify as true. His over-dramatic stylings come close to ruining the mystique of Cobain, but he never crosses that literary line by too much.
As a whole, the info in is unmatched by any other Nirvana book, though at times the book is very pro-Courtney Love. While everyone has their own opinion on Love and her involvement in the Cobain “suicide”, this is definitely a must-read for anyone whose neck-hairs still stand on end when they heard the opening chords of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in 1992.