Is the world ready for another grunge article? More dry pontificating about ‘teen spirits’ and ‘disenchanted youth‘. pseudo-academic poncing around over a mere type of music? Most definitely nope. But as every other mag. rag and alamanac has trawled their way through the world ofgrunge. rnernorised their Seattle street-plan. and. hey. really prefers Bleaeh anyway. the time has come for
The List to step into the fray. Bet you can‘t wait as Craig McL ‘an asks. . .
SO WHAT’S THIS
FACT: This article will not feature talking head quotes from any Sub Pop dudes. ‘respected Seattle observers‘. any hacks from Melody Maker. slackers. dopers. poopers. scoopers. Kurt Cobain. Kurt ReplyJ. Mascis. J. Cloth. Bob Mould. Big Star. Big Black. Black Francis. Francis ()f Assissi. Alice In Chains. Alice Donut. Dunkin Donuts. Duncan (ioodhew or any witless saddo with a checked shirt tied around their waist. ‘You’ll stretch the arms.‘ as my mother. Courtney Love. used to say.
No quotes. except thisone: ‘But 1992 isn’t the 1 year that punk finally happened in America. ' rather that punk finally collapsed into what was supposed to be its enemy (seventies metal). forming a sewer ofsludge; some ofwhich stinks real good. most ofwhich just stinks.‘ Simon Reynolds (Melody Maker) 10 October 1992.
In the beginning the term grunge was derived from the look of the music's progenitors. (‘Grungyz sl. Chiefly US and Canad. Squalid. seedy. grotty (From 1’ )' — Oxford Concise Dictionary). And/or it started as a vaguely onomatopoeic descriptive term for a music that had guitars — guitars loud and heavy and unavoidable. as opposed to guitars slight and merely functioning as a diluted dressing on the gloop of pop. Now. though. grunge has been debast into a catch—all term. (irunge has become an all-encompassing sociological force. a metaphor fora supposed new attitude. culture. style. mood. way oflife.
1992 was either The Year 'l‘hat Punk Broke (to nick the title of Sonic Youth's imminent 1991 tour video) or The Year Punk Rock Died (to nick the title of Kurt Cobain's forthcoming book). A frantic period topped by Nirvana shunting Jacko from the top of the Billboard chart. A crazy period tailed by the media‘s increasingly lurid and crude obsession with the private lives and stardom-borne problems of Kurt 'n‘ Courtney. and a softy Hollywoodisation of the whole Seattle caboodle in the shape ofSingles. And in between. a headless chicken scramble ensued as record companies and rock critics sought out the latest and greatest and
out-hype. out-bankroll. out-slag~ a total betrayal of the ethics that originally fired Sub Pop and their bands. ()ut ofsuch adversity might come
obscurest American bands.
ever-more-resilient. ever-more-innovative new
Led Zeppelin: the novels, the nipples, the nasty coats grunge's pivot. post-Nirvana. ()r alternatively. out
of this adversity might come the death of Nirvana.
a cry-wolf scepticism regarding any new supposed
underground heroes. and yet another delightful
Grunge s media-delivered legacy is elitism. grunge fashion spread in The Sunday limes style
bands. eager to spin away from the
nepotism and one-upmanship. a wilful desire to
GOBBETS §F ..
I It is now okay to like Black
: Sabbath. Rainbow. Whitesnake.
AC DC. Led Zeppelin and Deep
1 Purple. ? I This is because they weren‘t dodgy
heavy metal bands at all. oh no. they were grunge. Does that mean it is now okay to have been into Saxon
instead of 'l‘hc Smiths'.’ Probably not.
I It is now okay to dress llixc .1 tttikic- Vogue. lille. Sky have given official fashion sanction. I Says K Cobain ‘I don't like things
that are pretty andclean and nice. I like old. dingy. dirty things becatisc
G'l’he List 29January— ll February 1993
they have more character.
I Says The Independent ()n Sunday.
"l'his is where we are: now here. 'l‘he nowhere look. The nothing look. The look with no beginning and no end. The look that says: there is no look. so don't bother. And it is of course theonly possible look . . .‘
I Nirvana played titlinburgh Calton
I Studioson 2‘) November lWl . 'l'hey
weren’t very good. primarily
because Kurt was heav ily flu-ridden. 'l‘hat same weekc nd they played an
impromptu gig-etlc at lidinburgh‘s Southern Bar with fire .on riders. Nirvana‘stour manager is lhe Joyriders‘ singer's brother.
I Every grunge band In the States comes from Seattle.
back-slapping back-biting axis that has been
section. . .
I Except Superchunk. Scam and Monster Magnet who all come from Chapel Hill. North Carolina and Pavement. who come from all over theshop.
I Nevermind has sold l()(l(l\'.
I Contrary chapples, Bostonians. Both Lemonheads and Buffalo Tom were deep—down grungcrs way back when. Until last year. that is. Just as everybody else got heavy. these two came up with It ’s A Shame About Ray and Let Me Come Over. Post-modern grunge. most definitely. refined and redefined.
I Those grunge tilms: ( 1 )Singles Matt Dillon with pathetic lank hair and dodgy facial growth but cooool mates. including the chaps from
Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Cos it‘s been somewhat successful ‘Smells like Teen Spirit‘ was too expensive
to use in the film. (2) Slacker.
featuring a hundred moping 'l'exans frittering away their twentysomething days to a soundtrack of. well. no grunge bands at all. (3) er. that's it.
I Those grunge books:( 1) Douglas ('oupland‘s Generation X. a chronicle of aimless college grads' meandering lives. underemployed in ‘McJobs‘ and. like. untempted by what conventional society has to offer. (2) Douglas(‘oupland's Shampoo I’lanet. published in late February. More ofthe same. Probably.