June 13, 2024

1990’s Rock

OK Grunge was big. But that seemed to last about three weeks. Three incredible weeks-but still. What else happened. Well, Rock did what it always threatened to do: Fragment in all directions. On one side, Jakob Dylan updated his pops “Highway 61” concept and road it to the bank. Checking in on the other end of the spectrum was Limp Bizkit, the long struggling Kid Rock and a whole gang who created a Rock/Hip-Hop sound.

Arriving like a violent storm or rabid dog Grunge marked its territory: the 1990s. So let’s go back to those wild and loud three weeks. Nirvana plugged away on Seattle’s Sub-Pop label producing some great and not so great Rock. But when they hit the big time they hit it hard and relentless. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Smashing Pumpkins and everyone in Seattle, except the mayor who was on a trade mission to Japan, jumped on the Grunge bandwagon. And why not? Who hasn’t felt “stupid and contagious?” Grunge was all about angst. Besides, a large chunk of a generation was walking around feeling left out or left behind. The “Gen-X” term was soooo condescending. The ultimate Brand X: vastly inferior to the real thing. But just who was the real thing?

It all got to be too much so Cobain exited. The media wrote Grunge’s obit and moved on even though Grunge groups continued for a while. When the dust cleared David Grohl had launched the Foo Fighters.

Oh yeah, U2 tried to toss disco into the mix. By the end of the decade just about everyone was calling for them to go back to their original Rock attack. But that wouldn’t happen until the next century.