From time to time, when I mention the fact that I don't like grunge, whether in this blog, on Twitter, or the Will and Thunder Show, <ca-ching!> someone will message me and try to point out the error of my ways. They try to rewrite history, and tell me that these grunge bands were actually something decent to listen to. And, my favorite thing they say is "You say you like Alice in Chains! They are a grunge band!"
Read on, folks. By the time I'm done with this, you will know my exact feelings on grunge, what fueled it, and why I hate it now more than I did in the 90's. And, grab a drink. This is a long one.
First of all, let's get this out in the open. Alice in Chains is NOT a grunge band. They aren't now, and they never were. Alice in Chains is and always was a METAL band. Some of the plaid shirt wearing crowd may not realize this but Alice in Chains was selected to open the Clash of the Titans Tour, which featured Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. It was that tour that put AIC on the map. Can you plaid people honestly tell me that you think that Nirvana or Pearl Jam would have been a good fit to open that tour? Not to mention the fact that the tour started a few months BEFORE Nirvana first premiered on MTV. And, please stop telling me that AIC came from Seattle, therefore they are grunge. Just because a band comes from Seattle doesn't mean that they are a grunge band by default. Jimi Hendrix came from Seattle. Heart came from Seattle. Queensryche came from Seattle. Are they grunge?
Next, I always get asked about Soundgarden. People ask me why I don't like them. They try to tell me that they are a metal band just like AIC. Not true. They are a grunge band, just a little bit heavier than most. And, I know that Soundgarden was out long before grunge. They were considered 'alternative metal.' Translated: GRUNGE! Now, as a friend pointed out to me, Soundgarden won the award for Best Grunge Band. They said that they saw themselves more as a metal band, but appreciated the award. What a pantload. The metal thing to do would be to say "Look, we aren't a f**king grunge band. Keep the damn award." But, they kept it. Then, if Soundgarden was NOT a grunge band, what happened with Temple of the Dog? That most certainly was a grunge band, and Chris Cornell formed it not only another member of Soundgarden, but also Eddie Vedder, another member of Pearl Jam and a member of Mother Love Bone. All grunge. They also did their fair share of whining about going mainstream. So, if it looks like a duck....
|Chris Cornell did a long interview|
whining because the Black Hole Sun
single was released too early.
On the talent issue, some of the grunge bands had good musicians. Like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, etc . However, some most certainly did not. Like Nirvana. And before you go off half cocked defending Cobain, let me say this: Kurt Cobain may have been a good guitarist. Only those who knew him knew for sure because he sure as hell didn't show any talent in any of the songs Nirvana did. And, another argument is that Cobain was a great lyricist. Big deal. Rappers are very good lyricists. Nobody ever tries to call them great musicians. Edgar Allen Poe could have been considered a great lyricist. Nobody ever said he was a great musician. Quoth the Raven.
Speaking of talent, while some of the bands had it, the "musicians" that were influenced by the genre sure as hell did not. In every era of Rock and Metal, the goal of kids learning to play was to see how good of a guitarist, singer, bassist, or drummer they could be. However, when grunge became mainstream, all the kids thought that if they could play Smells Like Teen Spirit on guitar, they were great guitarists. And what the hell was up with those weird shaped guitars? Or, if they could use a low to mid range voice and whine through their noses, they were great singers. Suddenly, the only thing that was cool to write about was how depressed you were, or how your life sucked. It was not a good time.
|Sebastian Bach, and Steve Vai suck! Now listen to us whine|
through our noses, and our guitarist bang 4 chords on an
out of tune guitar, and watch us sway back and forth!
Grunge did not kill rock and metal, but it put it in critical condition. Every Rock/Metal genre prior to grunge paid homage to its predecessors with tributes, and all other types of respect. Grunge musicians had zero respect for their predecessors, and openly slammed them. They alienated themselves, and therefore, there are no respected grunge musicians of note today..Other than Dave Grohl, but he is an extremely talented musician, who pays homage and respect to all of the greats who came before him. The exception to the rule. So how did it hurt Rock and Metal? By telling a generation that you didn't need to be great in order to succeed. Look at what it spawned. A bunch of rap rock and simplistic music. 20 years of musicians who were considered great, yet couldn't hold a candle to an average 60's, 70's, and 80's musician. I remember being at a local show and after the band played, this guy begged to be let on stage to play a song. He had brought one of those goofy looking guitars with him, and he sat down and played Glycerine by Bush. He thought he had done something special too. Other bands like Green Day are considered to be great musicians too, when all they do is play 4 chords.
|Nirvana and other grunge bands|
whined about success. But, I never
saw them do a tour for free.
Simply put, I hate grunge. I despise it. I would rather listen to country than listen to those whining hypocrite douchebag garage bands who played shows to get noticed, then whined even more once they were noticed. So, why do I hate grunge? It sucked. By the definition of 'asshole' in Team America: World Police, grunge was/ is an ASSHOLE! But luckily, over the past 5-10 years, this new crop of bands is turning it around. Kids want to be good musicians again, and its showing. The 80's bands are having a major resurgence, and seeing lots of kids in their teens and twenties coming out to their concerts, and they are buying the albums. Grunge, nu metal, and the contemporary rock/pop that has plagued us for so long is a stain that is fading away. So, in the loud, awesome, and TRUE words of Steel Panther: