I’m going to admit right off the rip that I’ve been told I’m still living in the 90’s. I am, really. My teen years literally consisted of listening to music and playing in band. Grunge was and very much still is a large part of my life. So, when I recently discovered this book, I had to get it.
I think when many people hear the word “grunge” they instantly think of the four more popular 90’s bands including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Soundgarden. Many don’t realize that it emerged before these “big four. “
It started with Deep Six being released in 1986 and of course I didn’t discover these bands until years later when they became huge and I was a little older. There’s a lot to learn about in this book that was going on prior to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It starts in the 80’s and progresses up into 2011.
I loved the oral history format the author used for this book. The way it’s written, you’re basically reading quotes from scads of different people including band members, producers, managers, photographers, roadies and more. You’ll learn about some of the stuff they did, places they went, relationships they had with each other, pain they endured from deaths, and more. There are pictures included, but I do wish there were more.
How sad is it when listening to a favorite online “grunge hits of the 90’s” station, I’m reminded of the fact that the singers from the last four songs I’ve just heard are dead, and all from drugs. It’s very depressing, but at the same time I remind myself that grunge is not dead-at least not to me. I’ll be ninety and still listening to this stuff. Many of these bands went forward and continued to be successful including, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl from Nirvana), Candlebox, and Alice in Chains, even with Layne and Mike gone, they’re still making music.
There are things you’ll never know about the grunge movement if you don’t read this book. Some of the artists I thought had it all together, really never did. Some never finished school, many performed drunk and high, barely hung on, died, and some fought like crazy. You had band members switching around to different groups. It’s just crazy. If you listen to grunge or have been a fan in the past, read this…
Here’s a VH1 Documentary on Grunge:
About the Author:
Mark Yarm is a former senior editor at Blender magazine. He has written for Wired, Rolling Stone, Men’s Health, Esquire, Salon, Vulture and many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Bonnie, and is in no way related to Mudhoney singer Mark Arm.
Contact Mark Yarm: markyarm [at] gmail.com