Serving The Servant – Remembering Kurt Cobain
On the twenty-fifth anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death comes a new perspective on one of the most compelling icons of our time – and the only book written by someone who knew him.
In early 1991, top music manager Danny Goldberg agreed to take on NIRVANA, a critically acclaimed new band from the underground music scene in Seattle. He had no idea that the band’s leader, Kurt Cobain, would become a pop-culture icon with a legacy arguably at the level of John Lennon, Michael Jackson, or Elvis Presley. Danny worked with Kurt from 1990 to 1994, the most impactful period of Kurt’s life. This key time saw the stratospheric success of NEVERMIND turn Nirvana into the most successful rock band in the world and make punk and grunge household names; Kurt met and married the brilliant but mercurial Courtney Love and their relationship became a lightning rod for critics; their daughter Frances Bean was born; and, finally, Kurt’s public struggles with addiction ended in a devastating suicide that would alter the course of rock history. Throughout, Danny stood by Kurt’s side as manager, and close friend.
Drawing on Danny’s own memories of Kurt, files which previously have not been made public, and interviews with, among others, Kurt’s close family, friends and former bandmates, SERVING THE SERVANT sheds an entirely new light on these critical years. Casting aside the common obsession with the angst and depression that seemingly drove Kurt, SERVING THE SERVANT is an exploration of his brilliance in every aspect of rock and roll, his compassion, his ambition, and the legacy he wrought – one that has lasted decades longer than his career did.
Danny Goldberg explores what it is about Kurt Cobain that still resonates today, even with a generation who wasn’t alive until after Kurt’s death. In the process, he provides a portrait of an icon unlike any that have come before.
Duffy’s Thoughts On Serving The Servant
I was extremely lucky to be a teenager when the global phenomenon of Nirvana broke. We played it loud in cars whilst driving about way past curfew getting up to not much at all. I blared Polly Wants A Cracker loud in my bedroom in defiance of the world. Kurt spoke to me. Did I dress grunge? Not really. Did I skulk about smoking and writing songs in notebooks? No. I was your average English teenager living on a council estate in a small town. But, I never felt I truly fitted in. Nirvana got that and connected with anyone who felt that they weren’t mainstream, popular or beautiful.
Today, thousands of people born way after Kurts tragic suicide wear Nirvana T-shirts which can be picked up in any department store. To give some perspective on the enduring power of this phenomenal band, the Spotify streaming numbers for Nirvana are still enormous.
This is a band who shook up the music industry, made punk and indie rock mainstream and connected on an unimaginable scale. The shame was, to reach the disaffected masses, Kurt and Nirvana had to play with the big boys of the music industry, the marketing machine. This conflict gripped Kurt’s heart with icy cold fingers.
The last book I read about Kurt was Montage Of Heck. A stunning coffee table book which gives the reader a chance to explore the creative and sometimes dark side of an artistic genius. Serving The Servant is a little different, yet just as powerful a read.
Why Is Serving The Servant Different To Other Music Bios?
For one, Danny Goldberg knew Kurt very well. Secondly, he isn’t here for scandal and to hate on Courtney Love. Serving The Servant is here to talk about the artist and musical talents Kurt held along with the intricacies of big music agents delving into the punk scene of the 90’s. There is no speculation, no tidbits of celebrity gossip to be found here.
Rather, this is a tribute to the musician and the band which changed the world. Serving The Servant is all about the musical milestones, decisions, exchanges, deals and conversations with Kurt and the band. Incredibly interesting, not just for fans of Nirvana and Kurt, but for anyone interested in how the music machine (or beast) works and how talent alone won’t get you global stardom.
If Joan Jett and Thurston Moore endorse Serving The Servant, who am I to question? It’s a considered and carefully written tribute to an artistic genius, a comprehensive reflection of the punk and grunge scene at the time and how alternative bands finally got the recognition they deserved.
Who Is Danny Goldberg?
Danny Goldberg is President and Owner of Gold Village Entertainment, an artist management company; former CEO and founder of Gold Mountain Entertainment; former Chairman and CEO of both Mercury Records and Artemis Records, former CEO of Air America; and frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Huffington Post, Dissent, Billboard and many other outlets. He is the author of In Search of the Lost Chord, Bumping Into Geniuses, How the Left Lost Teen Spirit, and coeditor of It’s A Free Country. He lives in Pound Ridge, New York.