Friday, January 15, 2010

Grunge Is Dead - Greg Prato

I was sort of sold a bill of goods on this one, as someone mentioned on-line that there were lots of Fastbacks anecdotes. I guess it wasn't totally disingenuous, but I wouldn't look as hard as I did for this book for Pearl Jam and Soundgarden anecdotes, I'll tell you. That said, Grunge Is Dead is pretty comprehensive, starting with The Sonics and going through present day.

Some random JS-NYC bile spitting and unnecessary commentary about the players in the Grunge scene: to start, I can't say I really liked Grunge all that much. As re: the players that comprise most of the books content and my blather regarding them, we might as well start with Nirvana. Never really liked them. Truthfully, I never got into them before Nevermind, but will admit that Teen Spirit is one of only two songs I've ever called a radio station to ask about. Once that hit, Nirvana were so oversaturated that the contrarian in me relegated them to the same island I sent Green Day. I think Dave Grohl is totally bad ass, yet never got the Foo Fighters. Talking Soundgarden, I feel the same way about Badmotorfinger. I have a lot of fond (albeit hazy) memories of good times with that record as a soundtrack, but once Black Hole Sun hit, it was goodnight and goodbye. Susan Silver (ex-Soundgarden manager and Cornell wife) figures prominently in the GID proceedings and seems like quite a force. I have begrudging respect for Pearl Jam, but am astounded at how boring I find them. The bass dork in me loves Ament, but for my money Satchel is the best PJ result. Mudhoney have a contender for best song ever with Touch Me, I'm Sick, but have yet to catch on for me. Same with The Melvins. Believe me, I understand the heresy, but I currently have 19 of their records in my I-tunes and have yet to have the epiphany. Green River and Malfunkshun were never on my radar. Like I said before, for me the reason for the season was The Fastbacks stuff. It's not the Hit List retrospective, but the anecdotes are good, as is this book.

If you came up obsessed with Nirvana and the like, this will be pretty mindblowing for you, but it's just as compelling for the average punter. It's done as an oral history, which I have always argued is the best way to cover the subject matter. Grunge Is Dead gets high marks for not being a slavish Albert Goldman-esque Nirvana-fest and seeing the big picture. There are few comprehensive Grunge books out there, but Grunge Is Dead is definitely poised to take its rightful position as the definitive book on the genre. Buy it here from ECW (not the wrestling franchise) Press.


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