Picks and Pans Review: Come as You Are: the Story of Nirvana

updated 04/18/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/18/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Michael Azerrad

In one of their first meetings, Kurt Cobain and future wife Courtney Love—the most infamous punk couple since Sid and Nancy—expressed their mutual attraction in a unique way. They duked it out. "It was a mating ritual for dysfunctional people," Courtney explained. Azerrad includes that and other great moments in grunge history in this all-warts bio.

Although the reader may want to hear less about Nirvana recording sessions and more from Courtney, an almost perversely original and hilariously outspoken woman, the book offers a fascinating study of Cobain. He dominates the story as he does his band and all who fall into his orbit—save Courtney.

With its chronicle of Cobain's struggles lo overcome heroin addiction—he began shooting it to relieve chronic stomach pains—the book seemed destined to stand as an obituary last month when the singer overdosed on champagne and prescribed tranquilizers, then sank into a coma. Preparing to resume an interrupted European tour, Cobain is recovered now, his rather bent sense of humor, fans would hope, intact. He had wanted, Cobain told Azerrad, lo title In Utero, Nirvana's last album, I Hate Myself and I Want to Die. "That's what our songs are about," he said. "So I thought it was appropriate.'' (Double-day, $15)

From Our Partners