Writer Michael Azerrad has released a newly annotated version of Come As You Are, his 1993 biography of Nirvana, the only book to feature original interviews with Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.
The project, dubbed The Amplified Come As You Are, began after Azerrad decided to revisit one of the many legends told about the late Cobain and how it held up so many years later.
“I decided, ‘Oh, well let’s just see if there’s anything else I have something to say about,'” Azerrad tells ABC Audio. “I flipped over to page one of the book and, sure enough, on page one, there was absolutely something I just had to say … two years later I’d gone through the whole book.”
Throughout The Amplified Come As You Are, Azerrad comments on themes that recur throughout the original book, such as how Cobain would often mythologize the villains in his life. It also brought into stark relief the number of times Cobain mentions suicide or self-harm in his interviews with Azerrad, which the author says he did not take seriously enough at the time.
“Now I will take it seriously if that ever happens again, and I urge the reader to take it very seriously, as well,” Azerrad says.
Overall, Azerrad wants both versions of Come As You Are to portray Cobain as a real person, as someone who simply loved music and made it to “make him feel better, and, by extension, hopefully the audience feel better.”
“That was the mission statement for me for the original Come As You Are, to demystify the people who made this music and show that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and The Amplified Come As You Are just goes even deeper into that,” Azerrad says.
If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
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