New Nirvana: “I Found My Friends” – 210 Musicians, 170 Bands – the Oral History of Nirvana 1987-1994

I Found My Friend Cover

Feedback works. Comments left here or submitted to me on email have enlightened me, shifted my thinking, given me detail, corrected me where I’ve been wrong – it’s been beautiful. To be more specific, the entire Nirvana tour of the State of Washington (see the Nirvana Maps and Locales category in the left hand column of the blog) came about because a gentleman called Eric Williams simply asked “have you ever been?” He caught me just as I was thinking of taking a break…Just the right moment! I owe the man! Similarly, Marcus Gray once said to me “I think you have another Nirvana book in you…” at a point in time when I was exhausted by writing the previous book. Well, he was right.

Back in spring of 2013 I became fascinated by all the band names on the Nirvana Live Guide – Treacherous Jaywalkers, Steel Pole Bathtub, Vampire Lezbos… So I started tracking down former members of bands who shared the stage with Nirvana 1987-1994 – initially just so I could write articles for the blog (I will be writing profiles of each band across this year) but people were so welcoming that it rolled…Rolled some more…Kept rolling… And, having sent over 120,000 words of questions and somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 emails I’d received the kind support of 210 musicians and individuals who played in 170 of the bands who performed with Nirvana between 1987 and 1994.

The story is told entirely though the memories and experiences of these individuals – essentially, until fame hit, Nirvana were just one more band in the underground, not an exception, no different to the many other people who were striving to be heard, helping each other out, sharing gigs, sharing pizza and meagre gig pay (often little more than coins), working with the underground network of fanzines, radio shows, record labels, merchandise manufacturers (t-shirts basically), venues that their friends and associates had set up. After fame struck, Nirvana surrounded themselves on stage with old friends, old favourites, local acts – anything to escape becoming a Metallica/Guns n’ Roses tour cavalcade of famous people. They tried to remain true to where they’d come from by bringing as much of it as they could with them.

Thus, “I Found My Friends: the Oral History of Nirvana” was born – a book told by the people who were there and lived the life in those years. I was lucky enough that an agent was willing to take a chance on me (thank you Isabel Atherton!) and, secondly, that St Martin’s Press felt the book was a good read and worth their time and energies. The line “I Found My Friends” was suggested by the editor who, having read the sample chapters, felt it suited that sense of friendships, acquaintances, associations, communities…I think it’s perfect and I hope that aspect of this comes through.

So! May I ask for your help? If you like the sound of the book, and if I’m not asking too much of you, would you mind sharing this post on your own Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, band websites, etc.? I think the tale deserves to be heard, I think the bands shared stories worth attention and I hope it will serve to show people some of the music they missed. I’d be very grateful indeed for your support in letting people know this is out there! I also hope it’s sufficiently inexpensive to be worth taking a chance on – £10.99 (U.K.), $12.46 (U.S.), €10.45 (France), etc.

All through my work for this blog, on No Seattle, on Dark Slivers, I’ve asked myself over and again – daily frankly – whether I am taking advantage of something I love or whether I’m promoting and showing my love through the work I’m putting in. It’s unanswerable; just because i’ve committed a year and a half to this book, just because I get up at 6.50am, do my actual job and get home 6.30-7pm, then switch to writing the book until 12.30-1am – some 20-30 hours a week, I certainly don’t expect to be ‘paid’ for doing something I love. But if you’re willing to support it, and you think the money is worth paying for something you feel you’ll enjoy…Then I’m delighted and my thanks for your willingness to support me in my efforts to do something I adore.

A further thank you at this point. The Acknowledgements list all of you but the people who gave me their time and memories for the book? Thank you all – you made my 2013-2014.


10 thoughts on “New Nirvana: “I Found My Friends” – 210 Musicians, 170 Bands – the Oral History of Nirvana 1987-1994”

  1. I’m all in. I love this site and I keep meaning to buy your first book. I’ll probably order them at the same time.

    I don’t feel your “taking advantage” at all. Books for hardcore Nirvana fans made by a hardcore Nirvana fan. Sounds about right to me.

    On a side note, and I’ve been meaning to ask this, have the Nirvana roadies (Russell, Todd, Big John etc) ever been interviewed? I’m sure they’d have some awesome stories.

  2. This book got me so excited that I’d even start using Kindle– but will there be a preferably DRM-free ebook alternative?

    1. Good morning Christian, not as far as I’m aware. It’s available as a hardcopy though which you can of course then hand round people – real books being DRM-free by nature. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply, Nick! It’s actually not about being able to hand it around, I’m just not liking proprietary services which only grant you limited access under certain conditions.

        But as I said, in the end I’ll buy whatever is available. Reading the excerpt on was such a nice throwback and got me hooked so much that I need this now!

        Also seeing how much work and passion was obviously needed to complete this book, it would make me feel really bad to carelessly get or spread a free copy.

        … counting the days! 🙂

      2. Heh! You’re a gentleman, cheers Christian! On the work effort…All I can say is 20-30 hours a week for two years on top of 50-60 hours a week day job, on top of three deaths among the eight people closest to me in the world, around 10,000 emails and messages to track people down…And it was still a damn pleasure to do. So many people I adored hearing from and who made this past few years a pleasure. It’s been a real privilege!

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