The Backlash to Selling-Out

In 1988, Seattle was still a few years away from seeing its music community explode into the mainstream. That didn’t mean the city’s musicians weren’t getting noticed by major labels. Here’s a page out of Backlash, a Seattle fanzine aimed at covering the local music community:

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(From Backlash, August-September 1988, p. 1)

J.R. Higgins’ article was about the rumors going around Mother Love Bone, a super-group made up of members of MalfunkshunGreen River, and Ten Minute Warning. Jokingly, it quotes frontman Andrew Wood on what would happen to the band after hitting the big time: “we won’t forget Seattle,” he said, “until we come back and we’re all at the Coliseum and we’re like, ‘Hello Portland! How ya doin! and everyone boos.”

Dawn Anderson’s piece was about how a stalwart of the Seattle punk scene left town and started a band in Los Angeles (hint: the group had a name that combined both guns and roses). Anderson playfully included old quotes from the migrant punk rocker, Andrew “Duff” McKagan on the topics of selling-out and community.

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This fanzine page offers a glimpse into the Seattle music community in 1988. At the time nobody knew, of course, what would happen three years later. What folks did see was a) local musicians on the threshold of the supposed fame and fortune that comes along with signing a major-label contract and b) a guy that left the community for greener pastures and it had panned out.

Everyone knows that things ended up ok financially for McKagan. Mother Love Bone, unfortunately, ended up with a huge debt when Andrew Wood passed away on the eve of the release of Apple, their debut LP. The surviving band members were fronted a lot of money by their record company, which was now almost impossible to pay back.

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Luckily, two of the members of Mother Love Bone, Jeff Ament and Stone Gosssard went on to form Pearl Jam. But the musicians mentioned in Backlash showcases the tension between local music scenes and major labels, and the dangers posed by being drawn further into the depths of the music industry.

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Explore posts in the same categories: American Glamour, Matters of Debate, Music from Canada's Bow-tie

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