Michael Azerrad

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Azerrad at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2007, after a screening of his film Kurt Cobain: About a Son Michael Azerrad.jpg
Azerrad at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2007, after a screening of his film Kurt Cobain: About a Son

Michael Azerrad is an American author, music journalist, editor, and musician. A graduate of Columbia University, he has written for publications such as Spin , Rolling Stone , and The New York Times . Azerrad's 1993 biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana [1] was named by Q as one of the 50 greatest rock books ever written. His 2001 book Our Band Could Be Your Life , a collection of profiles on prominent indie rock bands, received similar critical acclaim.

<i>Spin</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Spin is an American music magazine founded in 1985 by publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. The magazine stopped running in print in 2012 and currently runs as a webzine, owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group division of Valence Media.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and music critic Ralph J. Gleason, which became famous for its coverage of rock music, and for political reporting by authors such as Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the U.S..

Contents

Early life

Azerrad grew up in the New York City area and received his BA degree from Columbia College in 1983. His father was an art director at NBC, and his mother a senior consultant at Art and Technology, a computer consulting firm in San Francisco. [2] During his college years, he was both a roommate and a bandmate of keyboard virtuoso Marc Capelle (who later went on to become a member of American Music Club.)[ citation needed ] May 21, 1988 he married Julia Barnett Just. [2]

American Music Club American indie rock band

American Music Club was an American, San Francisco-based indie rock band, led by singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel. Formed in 1983, the band released seven albums before splitting up in 1995. They reformed in 2003 and released two further albums.

Music journalism

After college, Azerrad played drums in various small bands while pursuing a career in music journalism. Besides writing features for Spin, Musician and Details, and a stint at MTV News from 1987 through 1992, Azerrad wrote several hundred pieces for Rolling Stone from 1987 through 1993, including cover stories on The B-52's and Nirvana, and was eventually named contributing editor. He has since written major features for The New Yorker , Mojo , Italian GQ and the New York Times , as well as cover stories for Spin and Revolver .

Music journalism journalism genre

Music journalism is media criticism and reporting about music topics, including popular music, classical music and traditional music. Journalists began writing about music in the eighteenth century, providing commentary on what is now regarded as classical music. In the 1960s, music journalism began more prominently covering popular music like rock and pop after the breakthrough of The Beatles. With the rise of the internet in the 2000s, music criticism developed an increasingly large online presence with music bloggers, aspiring music critics, and established critics supplementing print media online. Music journalism today includes reviews of songs, albums and live concerts, profiles of recording artists, and reporting of artist news and music events.

The B-52s American rock band

The B-52s is an American new wave band formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider (vocals), Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson (guitar), and Keith Strickland. Ricky Wilson died from AIDS-related illness in 1985, and Strickland switched from drums to lead guitar. The band also added touring members for albums and live performances.

Nirvana (band) American rock band

Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting and best-known being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. Though the band dissolved in 1994 after the death of Cobain, their music maintains a popular following and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture.

In 1993, Doubleday Books published Azerrad's definitive, best-selling biography of Nirvana, Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana , [3] which appeared six months before bandleader Kurt Cobain died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Azerrad spent many months interviewing the band members and their friends, relatives and associates, and Cobain and the other members of the band shared a wide variety of archival materials with him, many of which are reproduced in the book. In 2000, Q magazine named it one of the 50 greatest rock books ever written.[ citation needed ]

<i>Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana</i> book by Michael Azerrad

Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana is a 1993 book by Michael Azerrad, covering the career of Nirvana from its inception. It was written before the suicide of Nirvana band leader Kurt Cobain and for the book, Azerrad met with the members of the band and conducted extensive interviews about the band and its members' histories.

Kurt Cobain American singer, composer, and musician

Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band Nirvana. He is remembered as one of the most iconic and influential rock musicians in the history of alternative music.

His subsequent book, Our Band Could Be Your Life [4] (Little, Brown and Company, 2001) was a collection of profiles of thirteen prominent indie rock bands of the 1980s and early 1990s, including Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Minutemen and The Replacements. In 2006 The Guardian rated the book as one of the 50 best music books ever written. In 2009, Paste magazine named it one of the 12 best music books of the decade; [5] the Los Angeles Times listed it as one of "46 Essential Rock Reads" [6] and in 2011 Pitchfork listed the book in "Words and Music: Our 60 Favorite Music Books." [7]

<i>Our Band Could Be Your Life</i> book by Michael Azerrad

Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981–1991 is a book by Michael Azerrad. It chronicles the careers of several underground rock bands who, while finding little or no mainstream success, were hugely influential in establishing American alternative and indie rock, mostly through nearly constant touring and records released on small, regional independent record labels. Azerrad conducted many interviews with band members, and also conducted extensive research of old fanzines, as well as more mainstream newspapers and books.

Little, Brown and Company publisher

Little, Brown and Company is an American publisher founded in 1837 by Charles Coffin Little and his partner, James Brown, and for close to two centuries has published fiction and nonfiction by American authors. Early lists featured Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson's poetry, and Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. As of 2016, Little, Brown & Company is a division of the Hachette Book Group.

Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock. As grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream in the 1990s, it came to be used to identify those acts that retained an outsider and underground perspective. In the 2000s, as a result of changes in the music industry and the growing importance of the Internet, some indie rock acts began to enjoy commercial success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.

Azerrad wrote liner notes for various albums and DVDs by artists including: Paul McCartney, Miles Davis, Gang of Four, Violent Femmes, Screaming Trees, Guided by Voices, Meat Puppets, the Jesus Lizard, the B-52's, the live comedy series Invite Them Up and the 1991 cult TV series Fishing with John . He has spoken at various music festivals and conventions, including SXSW (USA), CMJ (USA), Insound (Australia), by:Larm (Norway), Orloff 5 (Brazil), and the Incubate Festival (the Netherlands).[ citation needed ]

Paul McCartney English singer-songwriter and composer, bass guitarist of The Beatles

Sir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He gained worldwide fame as the bass guitarist and singer for the rock band the Beatles, widely considered the most popular and influential group in the history of popular music. McCartney is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written, or co-written, 32 songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009 he had 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history. After the group disbanded in 1970, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine.

Miles Davis American jazz musician

Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.

Gang of Four (band) English rock band

Gang of Four are an English post-punk group, formed in 1976 in Leeds. The original members were singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. There have been many different line-ups including, among other notable musicians, Sara Lee, Mark Heaney and Gail Ann Dorsey. After a brief lull in the 1980s, different constellations of the band recorded two studio albums in the 1990s. Between 2004 and 2006 the original line-up was reunited; as of 2013, Gill is the sole original member.

In 2006, Azerrad co-produced an award-winning documentary about Kurt Cobain, Kurt Cobain About a Son . He is the editor of See a Little Light, the autobiography of former Hüsker Dü and Sugar leader Bob Mould, published by Little, Brown in June 2011.

During 2008/2009 Kingston, UK band Tubelord used Azerrad's name in their single "I Am Azerrad," which includes the line "I kill today, I'll kill you Azerrad," prompting Azerrad to write a humorous essay about the experience for Spin magazine. [8]

Music career

Since 2002 Azerrad has been member of now defunct indie band the King of France, whose acclaimed self-titled debut album was released in 2004, and in 2005 became an original member of Reprise Records recording artists the LeeVees. In summer 2009, he became a founding member of children's music band the Macaroons, whose debut album Let's Go Coconuts was released by JDub Records in spring 2010.[ citation needed ]

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Smells Like Teen Spirit original song written and composed by Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic

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<i>Bleach</i> (Nirvana album) 1989 studio album by Nirvana

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References

  1. "Michael Azerrad". Billboard. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  2. 1 2 New York Times, Julia Just and Michael Azerrad Marry, Julia Just and Michael Azerrad Marry, 1988-05-22. Accessed online 2016-07-03.
  3. Come as You Are. Doubleday. 1993. ISBN   0-385-47199-8.
  4. Our Band Could Be Your Life. Little Brown. 2001. ISBN   0-316-78753-1.
  5. Paste magazine The 12 Best Music Books of the Decade (2000–2009), Paste, 2009-11-13. Accessed online 2009-11-16.
  6. Carolyn Kellogg, The 46 essential rock reads, The Los Angeles Times, Jacket Copy, 2009-09-01. Accessed online 2009-11-16.
  7. Pitchfork, Words and Music: Our 60 Favorite Music Books, Words and Music: Our 60 Favorite Music Books, 2011-07-11. Accessed online 2011-07-11.
  8. Michael Azerrad, Lyrical Assassin, Spin, 2008-10-27. Accessed online 2009-04-28.