Seattle music journalist Gillian Gaar is celebrating the release of her latest book, “The Rough Guide to Nirvana,” roughly coinciding with the 20th anniversary of “Bleach,” the album that launched the Seattle band’s career.
Gaar’s previous books include “She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll,” “Green Day: Rebels With a Cause” and “In Utero.” She was also a consultant on Nirvana’s “With the Lights Out” box set.
There is no end to the fascination with the Northwest band that became the colossus of the Seattle grunge scene. Magazine editors have told me that merely putting Kurt Cobain’s face on a cover can boost circulation and single-copy sales by the thousands.
True to Rough Guide form, Gaar’s book comes in a tidy, nicely formatted package, yet contains more than 250 pages of photos and text and trivia. The book begins with a forward by Seattle producer Jack Endino, who first worked with the band in 1988 at Reciprocal Studios. Endino recalls the day Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain and Dale Crover (from the Melvins) walked into the studio.
“This ‘band’ had no name,” Endino writes. “But as the tape rolled, and they blazed their way through nine and a half songs in just a few hours, I began getting more excited; this was the best ‘out of left field’ thing I’d heard in a while.”
The book is divided into three sections: “The Story,” “The Music” and “Nirvanaology,” the third featuring Nirvana in print, on film, in tributes and on cover songs and Web sites, as well as locations of special note, among them the bridge over Aberdeen’s Wishkah River where Cobain camped out in his runaway days.
“The Rough Guide to Nirvana” is a must-have reference book for Nirvana fans.