BY A.D. AMOROSI
Good on you, Rough
Guides, for being there. I still use your World Music book as reference and
have ripped into your Travel Guides when needed. Then there’s Gillian G. Gaar.
Fans of the Blurt contributor know her from books on girl squawkers (She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock
& Roll) and whiny women (Green
Day). But the Seattle author has long made her homeboys a cottage industry,
penning the liner notes to Geffen’s With
the Lights Out box and her potent take on my favorite Nirvana album, In Utero, for the Continuum 33 and a 1/3
That she’s turned every nook and cranny in the Nirvana
tale into text-book worthy prose is chilling in a few ways; in terms of a
writer’s pliability and accommodation (talking to any textbook author and
you’ll find that skill more difficult and specialized than any obituarian’s).
Where historians are concerned, Gaar makes the proper twists in their sobriety
so to seek out and uncover Cobain minutia (Fecal Matter tapes recorded at Aunt
Mari’s house), early on gigs (a party in Raymond, just miles from Aberdeen),
shortest-lived drummers (that’d be Dan Peters of Mudhoney for $400, Alex) and
short chapters on everything from first favorite tunes to influences like The
Melvins and solo projects from Grohl’s Foos to whatever it is Novoselic does
when he does so. If you love and breathe Nirvana you probably know this stuff
and Gaar’s guide is a grand encapsulation. If you don’t know – act like you do,
but keep this book handy.