'Everybody Loves Our Town' is the 'Please Kill Me' of Grunge, So Much Filthy Gossip


I was sick on my birthday this year; it was a drag. But in the afternoon I had a really great lunch at the Chinese buffet and drank like five pots of tea plus a mai tai that made me feel like someone had removed my head in a nice/pleasing way, and I got this rad fortune in my fortune cookie. I also got a copy of Everybody Loves Our Town, from my bestie, and it's my favorite book right now. It's an "oral history of grunge" and at first I thought it was just a bunch of stuff scrounged up from old interviews but no, it's all new shit and everyone's in there, everyone who's still alive at least. It's juicy and filthy and there's some really ace trash-talking from Courtney Love, who should get asked to contribute to every oral history ever compiled: I just love to watch her talk. Some Courtney gems:

"Dave performed a really great service for Kurt. He made him make hot dogs and get over chicks that were pounding on pots and pans singing about their vaginas. 'We're going to a strip club, motherfucker!' That's good. I don't know if that's in the history books. They didn't have a lot of money for strip clubs, but Dave was very much a heterosexual red-blooded young man who did not understand why Kurt was mooning over some pudgy girl."

"Marc [Jacobs] sent me and Kurt his Perry Ellis grunge collection. Do you know what we did with it? We burned it. We were punkers -- we didn't like that kind of thing."

"The one time I saw Kurt happy with his job was when we went to Rio. We had a bodyguard, we stayed at a four-star hotel. He hung out with Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains. He blew a line, which is like really tacky, but when in fuckin' Buenos Aires, blow a line. I was like, 'Let's have a threesome with a model!' And he was like, 'Really?' I'm like, 'Yeah!' Did we? I'm not gonna tell you. No, I do not do sex stuff; that's not my jam, and it never has been. But my point was that he had fun mingling with his people." 

"I read recently, Kim Gordon -- and she was just trying to fucking get me, so I ignored it -- Kim Gordon going in the NME, 'Yeah, Buzz [the dude from the Melvins] has some theories on Kurt's death dah dah dah that I agree with.' It's like, Kim, I can't wait to see you at the Marc Jacobs store. I'm gonna stick my boot so far up your withered ass! Jesus Christ."

And then there's a part where Steve Albini talks about prank-calling rock stars while Nirvana was recording In Utero:

"We did a lot of prank calls. We called Eddie Vedder, and they had me pretend to be some famous record producer who had worked with Bowie. I told him that I wanted to get him in the studio with a real band that could really play. I don't know if he could tell that there was something up or not, but he handled it with a lot of class."

I remember an interview with Kurt talking about their prank-calling Evan Dando and pretending to be Madonna's manager and how Evan was so embarrassingly eager to talk to Madonna and blah blah blah Nirvana's so clever and Evan Dando's just sooooooo unbearably lame. But then I found this recording of that call, in which Evan turns out to be chill and adorable and totally NOT LAME. He's so cute, singing to himself about chocolate chips while he hangs on the line. Nirvana just come off like big mean frat boys. Evsies Forevsies, is all I have to say.

But my favorite part in Everybody Loves Our Town isn't filthy or juicy, it's Butch Vig talking about making Nevermind and it's cool and exciting and I love it:

"The afternoon we tried to track 'Lithium,' we had done a few passes, and for whatever reason Dave kept speeding up and it didn't feel good. Like halfway through the fourth take Kurt says, 'Stop! Stop!' He started playing 'Endless, Nameless,' and I just kept the tape rolling. Kurt was singing so hard I thought he was gonna kill somebody. The veins in his neck were bulging out, he just was pouring sweat, strangling his vocal chords, and at the end of song, he started smashing his guitar. I was in the control room and didn't even know what to say. I went out and asked, 'Are you okay?' He just got up and walked in the other room, and Krist sort of looked at me like, Whoa! I've never seen so much rage in someone in the studio that came out that instantaneously. It was scary to watch him play that song. I'm not kidding."

I've read that paragraph like 12 times already and reading it just now, I totally got the chills all over again. Kurt was the real thing.


  1. I read this over the summer and super fell in love with it for a time. I actually have a picture my sister took of me reading it in a wading pool in my parents' trashed back yard, wearing my mom's 90s turquoise and purple leopard and palm frond print bathing suit hahaha.

    But I kind of hate that first Courtney Love quote. I was really disgusted when I read it. I think it's beautiful that Kurt Cobain liked "pudgy girls" and Courtney Love fucking sucks for not being down with that. Her quotes in that book specifically made me not like her any more!! But that's just my reading of it :)

    1. ps. the book as a whole is REALLY well done. I like the format of the oral history, and the author did an awesome job of pulling it together cohesively. My favorite part is about Andy Wood's KISS shrine with like 2 red bongs, if I remember it correctly.

    2. yeah i don't like that part either!

    3. Thanks for all the kind words about ELOT, everybody! So glad you dig it. Ha, I'd like to see that photo of you reading the book, Lifeguard! Easiest to contact me via Facebook (see below)...

      Mark Yarm

  2. Didn't she mean SHE was the pudgy girl? That's how I read it anyway, anti-Dave, pro-pudgy girl. (I don't like Dave Grohl, so...)

    1. i thought that might be the case too but then i remembered courtney trash-talking kurt's ex (the 'about a girl' girl) for being chubby.

      but maybe it is her! who could know?

      i personally am forever grohl-conflicted.

  3. A couple days ago I discovered "Courtney Love" on Pinterest (might be an imposter, are people pretending to be celebrities on Pinterest now?) so I'm in full-on Courtney obsession mode. Carry on.