ENDED! – Win A Hardcover Copy of Experiencing Nirvana by Bruce Pavitt

Contest has ended.  Winners (Bridget Melton and Scot Osborn) have been contacted.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

[CLICK HERE to jump directly to giveaway]

experiencing nirvana hardcover

Next year will mark 20 years since Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home, after injecting himself with 3 times the lethal dose of heroin, delicately placing the paraphernalia back into a cigar box, rolling down/buttoning his sleeves, inflicted himself with a fatal gunshot wound to the head, clearing the residue off of his hands, and then wiping his fingerprints from both the weapon and the pen used to write his questionable suicide note.  [Oh Kurt, you brilliant, wondrous, magnificent, Houdini-level enigma!]  Cobain‘s death solidified his status as the, now cliche, misunderstood rock legend and artistic visionary, who ultimately died (at the age of 27, no less) for our capitalist sins.  This tragic loss also insured a sweet place for his image on endless pieces of generic rock apparel, giving the youth something to alternate with their officially licensed Jimi Hendrix tye dyes, while they’re taking vapo hits to classics like Darkside, Bob Marley‘s Legend, and Linkin Parks Greatest HIts, under a Woodstock 69 tapestry.  Yep, nearly 2 full decades have already passed folks, which means that we’re all getting old as fuck and have the luxury of slowly watching the few things that we ever actually connected with, that managed to achieve any substantial success, calcify into nothing but pure novelty.  A marginalized outcast dies the reluctant voice of a generation, morphing into a brand as recognizable as the swoosh or golden arches for a subsequent generation too far removed to even appreciate the irony.  Sounds like the American Dream to me–or, as David Berman once titled a song, “Strange Victory, Strange Defeat.

Too often, the legacy of Nirvana has been reduced to one-dimensional nostalgia with a redundant narrative.  There’s been plenty of releases revisiting old material, but very little that offers new insights or perspectives into Cobain and his work, since the release of his Journals, over a decade ago.  Last year’s Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989, ebook, on the other hand, was a refreshing and worthwhile effort that honestly didn’t feel like anything else that had ever come before it.  It was an exceptionally rare, yet welcomed, surprise to encounter something like that, which absolutely doesn’t reek of some level of exploitation.

Th idea for the project was birthed after Sub Pop records founder, Bruce Pavitt, came across a box of old photographs taken over an 8 day period (November 27 through December 4, 1989) at the tail end of a strenuous 6-week co-headlining European tour for Nirvana (pre Dave Grohl) and fellow Sub Pop recording artists/grunge pioneers, TAD.  Culminating in the legendary Mudhoney-headlined, Lamefest UK show–widely credited as the turning point that put Nirvana and the Seattle scene on the map–Pavitt‘s offering chronicles a moment in time when these bands and their label were still struggling visionaries on the cusp of world recognition, before the term “Grunge rock” had truly become a part of the popular lexicon and a widespread phenomenon.

Kurt signing autographs at Rough Trade

Kurt signing autographs at Rough Trade

Labeled as part micro-history, part photo-journal, Experiencing Nirvana is a wonderfully intimate time-capsule with truly affecting photography candidly taken with Pavitt‘s simple Olympus XA pocket camera.  The inclusion of scanned articles and covers from the UK music mags of the time is a tremendous addition that assists in framing the context of the story, which works as a reminder of how remarkably powerful, genuine, and honest that movement was, before it became appropriated and diluted by popular culture and corporate interests.  As I stated in my original review from last year, “Sure, this is a story of people overcoming obstacles because they believe in something and have a stake in it, but it’s mostly a story about being willing to put a stake in something that you believe in.”

Created with the use of Apple‘s iBooks Author book creation app, the project was originally full of crazy newfangled options that such technology affords, including interactive maps and audio files.  However, as someone who doesn’t even own an iPad (I’ve only ever viewed the PDF), one of my first and only questions was when/if a physical version would be released.  It seemed inevitable and, although the features seemed great and several adjustments would have to be made to facilitate a new format, the real strengths of the project always lied in the most basic and human elements.  Now that a hardcover version is finally being released by Brooklyn publisher Bazillion Points, the transitions look smooth and appear to be definitely worth the effort.

As evidenced by the promotional video above, this new hardcover release is impressive.  Here is a list of a few of the new features that weren’t included in the original the ebook version.

* Greatly expanded journal entries by author Bruce Pavitt
* Recently discovered new color photos by Bruce Pavitt
* Nearly two-dozen live photos of Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Tad by photographer Steve Double from the legendary LameFest UK event at the London Astoria
* Complete Seattle Rocket interview by Sub Pop superstar Nils Bernstein gives the band’s perspective on Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In honor of the official hardcover release, Seattle‘s Fantagraphics Books will be hosting a signing event on December 7th from 6-8pm, featuring Bruce Pavitt, Tad Doyle, and free beer!  View all complete event details and RSVP HERE.

WIN YOURSELF 1 of 2 Free copies of the book, courtesy of Bazillion Points, below!

photo by Bruce Pavitt

photo by Bruce Pavitt


*2 Separate Winners will receive the following :

1 Hard Cover Copy of
Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge In Europe, 1979
by Bruce Pavitt


Unfortunately, not all projects connected to Nirvana are done this well or with with such respectability; sometimes they miss the mark.  This contest will be based around the sometimes questionable marketing/licensing of the Nirvana legacy.


Over the years, Kurt Cobain‘s image has been attached to everything from signature “vintagized” Converse shoes and a particularly distasteful Doc Martens ad (never legally approved) to even Guitar Hero 5, wherein the dead rock star can be used to sing and dance along to such tracks as “YMCA” by the Village People.

Your job as the entrant is to come up with the most absurd, left field, and absolutely off-the-mark licensing idea to attach Kurt Cobain and/or Nirvana name and/or likeness to.


Post your answer in the comment section below.


There is no part 3. That’s all there is to the contest. It’s pretty easy… but you should probably read the fine print.

The Fine Print:

All entries must be received by Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 at 11:59pm to be eligible.
U.S. residents only.
You can enter as many times as you want, but use a valid email so that we can contact you.
If you sign in with Facebook, make sure that your account can accept a message from us.
Winner will be chosen arbitrarily, based on our personal “favorite.”

If we are unable to contact the winner in a reasonable amount of time, a new winner will be chosen.

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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