Lester Bangs and Kurt Cobain

HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN, the new biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross, the former editor of the Seattle Rocket, is an impressive journalistic accomplishment, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who loved or was intrigued by the music of Nirvana, or who simply appreciates great rock journalism or well-written and exhaustively researched biographies.

Among the things I learned about Cobain was that he was a major fan of Lester Bangs, at one point writing a letter to the long-dead Lester in his journals, and at another falling for neo-folkie Mary Lou Lord in part because of their mutual attraction to Lester (I mentioned Lord's obsession in the Afterword of LET IT BLURT—and I seriously regret not knowing more about Cobain's Lester fandom at the time I interviewed him in 1993, shortly before the release of In Utero).

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P. 177: "In his journals, Kurt wrote a letter to the long-dead critic Lester Bangs, complaining about the state of rock journalism—a profession that both fascinated and repulsed him—by asking, "Why in the hell do journalists insist on coming up with a second-rate Freudian evaluation of my lyrics, when 90 percent of the time they've transcribed them incorrectly?"