It began in the late 1980′s, mostly with musicians who felt burned out on the 80′s “hair” band pop culture scene.
It began with the label Sub Pop and spread like wildfire with the help of MTV and budding computer technology.
They were tired of mainstream rock, and began to play this new music at college radio stations with fervor. Then the local rock stations got wind of this new sound, and requests came flooding in for them to add bands such as Nirvana, Sound Garden and Pearl Jam to their playlists.
At last, there was an outlet for the angst that young listeners were feeling; Generation X had a voice that expressed its apathy. It was a rowdy and boisterous voice, performed with great passion.
The GRUNGE movement had begun.
Now the fans could shout their nihilism and apathy for all the world to hear. On top of the distorted guitars, heavy bass lines and robust drumming, the gritty vocals of Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, and Chris Cornell echoed loud and clear. Gone were the melodic, easily harmonized choruses of the 80′s, replaced by pumping fists and shouted lyrics, lyrics that growled out the story of dissatisfaction with society, with life, with friends. It was a revolution that made parents roll their eyes and banded peers together in new ways only they could understand.
And grunge listeners did understand. Boy, did they ever! Records sold in staggering numbers, live shows drew huge crowds, and before long, mainstream radio was playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in heavy rotation.
Bands such as Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Mudhoney, Temple of the Dog….certainly will flash back a memory or two for most fans.
They most certainly will recall the exact time and place when they first heard this song:
Grunge music maintained its popularity and heavy radio and MTV play into the early 1990′s. It wasn’t until 1994, with Kurt Cobain’s shocking suicide, that the movement took a down-turn. But thanks to these formative grunge bands, their original mix, and their ultimate voices of dissatisfaction, the face of popular music changed forever.
Since that time, fans continue to follow bands that have continued in this genre. Some current favorites include: Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Audioslave, Hinder, Seether, Rage Against the Machine, and Chevelle. In concert, there is no doubt about their message.
Clearly these bands portray the same angst, apathy and dissatisfaction that early artists sang about in the early 1990′s. The raw talent that is apparent cannot be denied, nor can the commitment their loyal fans continue to show. If in doubt, simply tune in here: http://www.vh1.com/shows/that_metal_show/series.jhtml to stay in touch with current artists, their gigs and albums, as well as past members of grunge bands still performing today.
Check out some favorite videos and t-shirts from the Grunge age: