Posted tagged ‘grunge’

Nirvana in Edmonton

2013/11/25

NirvanaYEG

The Backlash to Selling-Out

2013/05/20

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.

Holy moly gosh darn dang

2012/07/16

Calvin Johnson is in Edmonton tonight, and he’s performing at the all-ages Elevation Room on Jasper Ave. Edmonton’s Liam Trimble, Halifax’s Nick Everett, and Vancouver’s Katie & The Lichen are also playing. Even if you haven’t heard of Johnson, you’ve likely been influenced by him. Here’s an excerpt from my MA thesis, discussing his importance:

…While [Bruce] Pavitt was still in Olympia, he met Calvin Johnson, who also volunteered at [college radio station] KAOS. Johnson, starting under similar circumstances to Pavitt, went on to form Beat Happening, a band that stressed emotion first, and musicianship a distant second. This vital component to the punk attitude was apparent from the Beat Happening’s first performance, which was at a house party where they did not have any equipment. The band played regardless, for Johnson felt that they could “proceed on their own terms,” without having to rely “on equipment or technical issues to be who [they] are.” The band continued with this approach throughout its career, never touring with a drum kit: “our attitude was if people don’t let us borrow drums then we can go grab a garbage can or cardboard box and that will do,” recalled member Bret Lunsford. Indeed, Heather Lewis estimated that Beat Happening had practiced 20 times by 1988. Lyrically, Calvin Johnson carried an air of innocence, but songs were often critical of chauvinism, or even the [baby] Boomers. In “Bad Seeds” Johnson sang, “the new generation for the teenage nation/ this time, let’s do it right.”

Beat Happening: Calvin Johnson, Bret Lunsford, and Heather Lewis.

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The History of Punk, Class #9

2012/07/12

Saturday 14 July 1:30PM
Location: Humanities 1-14,
The University of Alberta All-Ages, All-Welcome

Money for Nothing and the Chicks for Free: Diet-Grunge and Punk-Lite

After punk broke into the mainstream via Seattle, the city reversed a trend that had held true since Ray Charles left the region for a record deal in Los Angeles: instead of leaving, bands started coming to the Pacific Northwest to further their music careers. Rather than trying to sound like the latest hair metal band, imitators were latching on to the sonic characteristics of punk bands…and wearing lots of flannel.

This week we will trace the legacy of punk since 1991, and the bands that cashed in on the angsty grievances of a generation. Not all the musicians that became successful were doing it just to get on MTV though, so we’ll examine milieu participants that stuck to their ideals, and the punk attitude, as they navigated their way from community hall shows to Top 40 rotation. The hardest part, of course, will be telling the difference between authentic punks and the marketable pretenders. So we’d better bring food to share, be prepared to sit outside and the sun, and let the debate begin.

Readings:
This is Not For You: The Rise and Fall of Music Milieux in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, 1950s -1990s, pp. 167-180.
That Tom-Tom Club bought all the Wack Slacks, Fuzz, Plats and Kickers!
In Defense of Nickelback or: How I learned to stop worrying about having credibility

Playlist:
The Offspring -“Jennifer Lost the War” live on public access 1988
The Offspring – “Days Go By”
Green Day – “Disappearing Boy”
Green Day – “When I come Around”
Rancid “The War’s End”
NOFX – “Bob”
Bad Religion – “Stranger than Fiction”
Pennywise – “Fight Till You Die”
Good Charlotte – “The River”Avril Lavigne – “Sk8er Boi”
Simple Plan – “I’m Just a Kid”

The History of Punk, Class #8

2012/07/06

The Edmonton Free School
Saturday 7 July 1:30PM
Location: Humanities 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages, All-Welcome

“Punk, Grunge, and Selling Albums vs. Selling Out”

This seminar will discuss whether or not bands such as Mudhoney, Nirvana and Beat Happening were part of the underground punk community. Moreover, while viewing it as a social and cultural construct, this seminar will debate if the grunge movement, was, in fact, an extension of the norms, values and practices of punk culture.

Spoiler: I argue that grunge was an extension of punk, and when it hit the mainstream, there were all kinds of resounding implications for the mainstream music industry, underground culture, and a generation known by the letter X.

Once again, we’ll start with a short lecture, and then transition into our intellectual picnic format – so bring food to share if you can!

Reading:
I’m Just Selling Albums, I’m Not Selling Out

Not Required Reading:
This is Not For You: The Rise and Fall of Music Milieux in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, 1950s -1990s

Playlist:
Mother Love Bone “Crown of Thorns”
Jane’s Addiction “Had a Dad”
Soundgarden “He Didn’t (Live from Seattle Bumbershoot Festival 1988)”
Mudhoney “Touch Me I’m Sick”
Ronald Reagan “Morning in America”
Fugazi “Waiting Room”
Hüsker Dü “Eight Miles High”
The Replacements “Unsatisfied”
Scream “Came Without Warning”
Martha Quinn “MTV VJ 1982”
Mötley Crüe “Girls, Girls, Girls”
The Dead Kennedys “Pull My Strings”
Mr. Epp and the Calculations “Of Course I’m Happy, Why?”
Rodney Bingenheimer “Rodney on the ROQ Theme”
Wipers “Doom Town”
Beat Happening “Black Candy (live on TCTV 1998)”
The U-Men “They”
The Melvins “Happy Grey or Black”
The Fastbacks “Swallow My Pride”
The Gits “Insecurities”
Skin Yard “Skins in My Closet”
Green River “This Town”
Malfunkshun “With Yo’ Heart (Not Yo’ Hands)”
The Posies “Ontario”
The Young Fresh Fellows “Amy Grant”
The Green Pajamas “Kim the Waitress”
Screaming Trees “You Tell Me All These Things”
Nirvana “Spank Thru (1/23/88)”
Tad “Loser”
Sonic Youth “Kill Yr. Idols”
Sonic Youth “Teenage Riot”
Alice in Chains “We Die Young”
Pearl Jam “Why Go”
7 Year Bitch “M.I.A.”
Bikini Kill “Double Dare Ya”
Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

 

A wHole lotta…Grundge?

2012/06/28

Flagpole Magazine, 24 July 1991.

The History of Punk, Class #6

2012/06/14

The Edmonton Free School
Saturday 16 June 1:30PM
Location: Humanities 1-14, The University of Alberta
All-Ages, All-Welcome

“Racism, Gender, & White Male Punk Privilege”

The punk movement is often generalized as largely male, white, and straight. Such a view, however, excludes many participants. This seminar will examine Riot Grrrl feminism, Homocore, and scene members that didn’t fit the typical stereotype.

This week we will be starting with a short lecture, and then moving outside to discuss things in our usual intellectual picnic format. Bring food to share if you can!

*Following the class, we will have a podcast lecture from Dr. Lucy Robinson, The University of Sussex, posted online.

Readings:
Lester Bangs – “The White Noise Supremacists”
Not Just White Noise Supremacy: The Diversity of the Underground Punk Network in late 1970s-early 1990s America
Kurt Cobain’s Interrogation of Hegemonic Masculinity
Gimmie Something Better, pp. 409-419
Grunge is Dead, pp. 303-314
Top 5 songs to play for someone attending a white pride rally
Joining the 27 Club isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be

Playlist:
The Replacements – “Androgynous”
Pansy Division – “Groovy Underwear”
NOFX – “Jamaica’s Alright if you like Homophobes”
Propagandhi – “the only good fascist is a very dead fascist”
Nirvana – “Been a Son”
Bikini Kill – “Double Dare Ya”
7 Year Bitch – “The Scratch”
The Gits – “Insecurities”
The Offspring – “Cool to Hate” 

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