Before Kurt Cobain was famous

November 26, 2010

By Robin Amer

Download Story
(Photo courtesy of Sub Pop)
Kurt Cobain

Do you remember where you were when Kurt Cobain committed suicide? Ok I know it‘s no Kennedy assassination, but for those of us who came of age in the early ‘90s, it was a cultural moment. I was in middle school at the time, and I remember that girl on the school bus with the purple hair looking so, so sad.

Emily White’s book You Will Make Money in Your Sleep is set before all that. Before the suicide, before the Spin magazine covers and the MTV videos. Before Kurt was Kurt.
 
White’s husband was the general manager of Sub Pop, the indie label that put out Nirvana’s first record and then put out Nevermind. As part of her tale, White chronicles the surreal moment when people at Sub Pop realized that “the world loved Kurt” and that the so-called Seattle sound could be turned into a brand.
 
In the audio posted above, White paints a haunting portrait of the artist on the eve of Nevermind’s release – before he was a legend undone by his own fame. White was recorded by Chicago Amplified at a 2007 reading produced by Stop Smiling.
 
Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified's vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Click here to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast, and click here for the full reading by author Emily White.