My name is Everett True. You probably do not know who I am, so I will attempt to introduce myself.
I released the first record on Creation Records, and then fell out heavily with the label’s founder Alan McGee – so heavily in fact that he was in denial for 30 years he even released a brace of records by me.
I was the first music critic to write about Sub Pop Records, and to this day do not understand why Tad and Dickless didn’t get to be the biggest bands on the planet. Entertainment Weekly reckoned I was “the man who discovered grunge” (1992) but, erm, that would imply that I lifted up a rock and there it was underneath, scuttling busy. Kurt Cobain once called me the “biggest rock star critic in the world”, but he was being sarcastic doubtless. Jonathan Donahue of Mercury Rev called me “our generation’s Lester Bangs,” but frankly I’m better than that.
I founded two self-published magazines in the 2000s — Careless Talks Costs Lives and Plan B Magazine. One sold enough to keep several of us off the dole (just) for several years, the other didn’t. Both were fantastic, mostly down to other contributors aside from me.
I have written several books, a couple of which are still in print (the ones on the Ramones and Nirvana).
The Electrical Storm (illustrations by reclusive French genius Vincent Vanoli) is a collection of stories from my life. A collection of short stories, with the names often omitted because I am intrigued as to whether they stand up without a famous name attached. If you think about them enough, mostly it is fairly obvious who they are about. I have long been a proponent of DIY culture and so, rather than going for the bright lights and big bucks, I am attempting to crowdfund the book via Indiegogo.
Otherwise known as Grunge: My Part In Its Downfall, it's an attempt to recollect a life probably best forgotten, the life of Everett True. Sad racy stories. Downbeat enthusiasm. Funny, cruel, clever, brutally honest … once you’ve read this, you will never be able to take music criticism seriously again. Like you ever did.
If you like the stories that Drowned in Sound are excerpting from the book, imagine another 100 or so, and donate to help get this book published.
I’m sitting in an open-air hospitality tent.
The previous evening, we’d driven overnight to New York City. We arrive just around dawn and Kurt offers me his hotel floor to sleep on but I’m confused, overtired so I walk out onto the streets surrounding Times Square instead, enjoying the sights and sounds of a city waking up, stopping (as ever) by Tiffany’s to dream of Audrey Hepburn. I shuffle over to Central Park where the New York Marathon is shaping up to begin, and find a bench to kip on. I don’t feel so good, and my voice is shot – too much unexpected shouting in front of too many people the previous evening. I have this trick of being able to shout myself into laryngitis within minutes of walking on stage, and so it proves in Washington DC. Kurt is confused when he returns downstairs to find me, he has a spare bed and everything, but I’m already out of there, floating high on the streets of Manhattan.
And now I’m sitting at a table in an open-air hospitality tent, speechless. Various road crew and musicians stop by to laugh at my attempts to talk. I find the drinks table and boil the kettle up: hot lemon juice and whiskey and honey is my drink on these occasions, and it feels like I need to find a remedy fast, particularly as today the band is playing their big New York show – all the press will be there – and I’ve been asked to do the encore again.
Kurt comes over, tells me not to worry.
“I can always sing your part if need be,” he says.
“Wai…” I try to croak, but he’s gone, out of there. I sit and worry a little.
Usually when I’m on stage, it’s spontaneous, unplanned – or, at the very least, not arranged with the promoters and security – but it seems tonight is too important to mess with. Someone’s even gone and found a guitar for me. So I sit and I shake and I sweat, those cold delirium tremors that seem so oddly comforting (the comfort of the familiar), and every now and then management come over and check on me, and make sure I ain’t too drunk yet. Courtney calls. I can’t speak to her, not that that matters.
It’s even worse during the gig. For some stupid reason – probably because I really ain’t feeling myself, whatever ‘myself’ is supposed to be these years – I’m standing there in the V.I.P. section part of the V.I.P. section next to the stage. It’s cavernous, and there’s only one other person with me: this tall statuesque model Naomi, who inclines her head slightly when introduced.
I don’t know what I’m doing here.