Posts Tagged ‘ Nirvana

Nirvana: MTV Live & Loud

I know the music industry is quickly going down the tubes, but you’d think someone would step in figure out a way to monetize MTV and MuchMusic’s massive archives of interviews and performances. Or maybe I’m just searching for something I lost years ago (ie: my youth).

Like my previous posts a couple weeks back, I found this old concert on YouTube with little trouble. There are lots of live Nirvana boots floating around, but this has good quality picture and sound and it’s from the In Utero tour that featured former Germs and future Foo Fighter guitarist Pat Smear with the band.

The show took place on December 13, 1993 and MTV aired it on New Year’s Eve. There’s a new boot of the show floating around called Feels Like the First Time with a bunch of other live-to-air stuff tacked on the end.

Butch Vig, you son of a bitch…

ButchVigMy good friend Godfrey, a kindred spirit when it comes to 90s nostalgia, has written a rather interesting post about uber producer (and occasional rock star) Butch Vig entitled “Hoc Opus, Vig Labor Est.”

In comparing the three major records he produced in that decade – Nirvana’s Nevermind, Sonic Youth’s Dirty and Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream – he argues that Vig was essentially responsible for the popularizaton of over-produced rock records, robbed of all sense of space and time. I have to say that I agree with him. It’s well worth a read which you can do here.

Record Review: Meat Puppets – "Sewn Together"

MeatPuppetsFullDespite a revolving door of band members, Curt Kirkwood has retained the Meat Puppets moniker for the entirety of his career. No matter the musical turn — sunburnt indie freak, hit-making alterna-rocker or O.G. indie godfather — Meat Puppets were his band.

They find a through line between the southern rock experimentalism of 1984’s Meat Puppets II and 1985’s Up On The Sun and the straight-ahead alternative rock of 1994’s Too High To Die.

Sewn Together might make Meat Puppets newbies question what Kurt Cobain ever saw in these guys, as it’s hardly a groundbreaking record. But the album sounds inspired, like these guys are still excited to be making music.

Meat Puppets’ continued existence isn’t born out of financial necessity (though their reputation surely still helps sell some discs), but rather a continued need for self-expression.

This review originally appeared at

Book Review: Grunge is Dead by Greg Prato

grungeisdead_gregprato“Do we really need another book about Seattle bands?” is the immediate thought when presented with Greg Prato’s new book, Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History Of Seattle Rock Music.

It’s a fair question. Countless authors have tried to make sense of the Pacific northwest’s massive cultural explosion in the decade-and-a-half since the scene collapsed on itself. But as Prato notes in the preface, no-one thought to just ask the people involved.

Grunge Is Dead offers an oral history of Seattle’s music scene and is comprised entirely of interviews with the various musicians, industry types and scenesters who lived through the shit storm. Right off the bat, you know this is more than another attempt to piggyback off the scene’s success as so many cheap-o books did 10 years ago.

Prato looks all the way back to the ’60s and examines the seeds sowed by proto-garage rockers like The Wailers and The Sonics. From there, he charts a course through the decades up through the major label buying spree that occurred after the big four (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden) flipped mainstream music on its ears.

The book’s strength is its willingness to tell not just the story of grunge, but the story of Seattle as a whole. Even nearby Olympia’s Riot Grrrl movement gets its proper due, with members of Bratmobile and Bikini Kill explaining the overlap in the two scenes.

Prato scored plumb interviews, including some with Layne Staley’s mother and the usually hermit-esque former Soundgarden guitarist, Kim Thayil. But the book is also noteworthy for who wasn’t consulted (or more likely who declined involvement). The Nirvana camp in particular is woefully under-represented, with drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic noticeably absent.

Prato also has the benefit of hindsight on his side. With enough time between now and the scene’s heyday, people seem more willing to open up about the past without fear of offending someone. In fact, the overwhelming theme that comes through is how much the bands loved and supported one another, and how carefree the scene was before big money got involved. This closeness made the groups that “made it” so self-aware of their success and made some who were left behind jealous of it.

This review originally appeared at

Mudhoney – “Touch Me I’m Sick”

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Top Northwest Records as Decided by The Rocket in 1999

Top Northwest Records as Decided by The Rocket in 1999

2283515366_726abd4156While lazing about my parents house over the holidays I started going through old magazines and newspapers that I’ve had lying around my room for years. Among them I found an old issue of the now defunct paper The Rocket from Seattle. It was a free alternative weekly, similar to The Stranger that went under in 2000. The cover story was a list of “The Top 300 Northwest Records of All Time.” It’s an interesting list, and fairly accurate given that it was compiled in 1999 during the region’s off years (at least as far as commercial sales go) between Grunge and the current indie rock boom led by Death Cab For Cutie (whose debut clocked in at number 260).

A quick google for the full list online yielded nothing, so I’ve included the top 100 here with some highlights from the rest of the list because really, who really knows the name of more than two Young Fresh Fellows records, let alone has an opinion on them?

  1. Nirvana – Nevermind
  2. Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?
  3. The Sonics – Here are the Sonics
  4. Nirvana – Bleach
  5. Mudhoney – “Touch Me I’m Sick” 45
  6. Pearl Jam – Ten
  7. Soundgarden – Superunknown
  8. The Wipers – Is This Real?
  9. Rockin’ Robin Roberts and the Wailers – “Louie, Louie” 45
  10. Built to Spill  – There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
  11. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
  12. VA – Sub Pop 200
  13. Heart – Dreamboat
  14. Nirvana – In Utero
  15. VA – Deep Six
  16. The Fleetwoods – “Come Softly to Me” 45
  17. Mark Lanegan – The Winding Sheet
  18. Elliot Smith – Either/Or
  19. The Fastbacks – … And His Orchestra
  20. Young Fresh Fellows – The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest
  21. Soundgarden – Screaming Life
  22. The Kingsmen – The Kingsmen in Person Featuring “Louie Louie”
  23. The Screaming Trees – Sweet Oblivion
  24. Presidents of the United States of America – S/T
  25. The Posies – Failure
  26. The Fabulous Wailers – At the Castle
  27. Robert Cray – Strong Persuader
  28. Sir Mix-A-Lot – SWASS
  29. Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff
  30. Green River – Dry as a Bone
  31. Pearl Jam – VS
  32. The U-Men – S/T
  33. Bikini Kill – S/T
  34. The Melvins – Bullhead
  35. Flop – And the Fall of the Mop Squeezer
  36. Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary
  37. The Walkabouts – New West Motel
  38. Quasi – Featuring “Birds”
  39. Everclear – Sparkle and Fade
  40. Alice in Chains – Dirt
  41. Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime
  42. Poison Idea – Kings of Punk
  43. Hole – Live Through This
  44. Mother Love Bone – Apple
  45. Tad – 8-Way Santa
  46. Spinanes – Manos
  47. Temple of the Dog – S/T
  48. Beat Happening – Black Candy
  49. Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West
  50. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – Zoot Suit Riot
  51. Sarah McLachlan – Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
  52. Built to Spill – Perfect From Now On
  53. Red Dress – “Bob Was a Robot” 45
  54. Pure Joy – Carnivore
  55. Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
  56. The Ventures – “Walk Don’t Run” 45
  57. Hazel – Toreador of Love
  58. Foo Fighters – S/T
  59. Truly – Fast Stories…From Kid Coma
  60. The Makers – Psychopathia Sexualis
  61. Harvey Danger – Where Have all the Merrymakers Gone?
  62. Soundtrack – Singles
  63. Dandy Warhols – Come Down
  64. Ray Charles – “Confession Blues” 45
  65. Treepeople – Guilt Regret Embarrassment
  66. The Viceroys – The Viceroys at Granny’s Pad
  67. Jimi Hendrix – Axis Bold as Love
  68. Elliot Smith – S/T
  69. Heatmiser – Mic City Sons
  70. Forced Entry – Uncertain Future
  71. Dean Moon – Strange Pray Tell
  72. The Allies – S/T
  73. The Posies – Frosting on the Beater
  74. Heart – “Barracuda” 45
  75. Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
  76. Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts – “Angel of the Morning” 45
  77. The Wipers – Over the Edge
  78. King Black Acid – Royal Subjects
  79. The Gits – Frenching the Bully
  80. Pond – S/T
  81. The Dharma Bums – Haywire
  82. Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger
  83. Young Fresh Fellows – Topsy Turvy
  84. Love Battery – Day-Glo
  85. Steven Jesse Bernstein – Prison
  86. 7 Year Bitch – Viva Zapata!
  87. Metal Church – S/T
  88. NoMeansNo – Wrong
  89. Alice In Chains – Facelift
  90. Paul Revere and the Raiders – “Like, Long Hair” 45
  91. The Halo Benders – God Don’t Make No Junk
  92. The Wailers – “Tall Cool One” 45
  93. Sleater-Kinney – Call the Doctor
  94. Mark Lanegan – Whiskey for the Holy Ghost
  95. Elliot Smith – XO
  96. Sky Cries Mary – A Return to the Inner Experience
  97. Supersuckers – Smoke of Hell
  98. D.O.A. – Bloodied But Unbowed
  99. The Blackouts – Men In Motion
  100. Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York

And some interesting placements in the bottom 200…

101. Slow – Against the Glass

102. Foo Fighters – The Color and the Shape

104. Mudhoney – Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

108.  Sunny Day Real Estate – S/T

110. Elliot Smith – Roman Candle

112. Seaweed – Four

120. Screaming Trees – Dust

123. Brad – Interiors

133. Neko Case and her Boyfriends – The Virginian

137. Subhumans – Incorrect Thoughts

146. Skinny Puppy – Cleanse Fold and Manipulate

147. Sunny Day Real Estate – How It Feels to be Something On

149. Nirvana – Incesticide

150. Mudhoney – S/T

158. Built to Spill – Ultimate Alternative Wavers

162. Modest Mouse – This Is a Long Drive

164. Superconductor – Hit Songs For Girls

172. Silkworm – Libertine

173. Beat Happening – Jamboree

182. Mudhoney – My Brother The Cow

187. Dandy Warhols – Dandy’s Rule, OK!

204. Jeremy Enigk – Return of the Frog Queen

212. Sarah McLachlan – Surfacing

217. The Posies – Dear 23

220. cub – Betti-Cola

232. Built to Spill – Keep Like a Secret

235. Mudhoney – Tomorrow Hit Today

238. Pointed Sticks – Part of the Noise

240. Sleater-Kinney – The Hot Rock

252. The Smugglers – Selling the Sizzle

260. Death Cab For Cutie – Something About Airplanes

288. Superdeluxe – Famous

298. The Evaporators – “Welcome to My Castle” 45