Waves roll in my thoughts

Back in the summer, when we put the band together, one of the first things we had to figure out was, well, what would we play? As a grunge covers band, which bands and which songs would we cover: who were the bona fide flannel-wearers and who were the bandwagon jumpers with stick-on goatees and a dodgy metal past?

Since then, the five of us have been kicking these questions round, gathering groups, selecting songs. Some choices are gimmes: the leading Seattle bands of the early 90s, or, to be precise, Washington state bands, as Nirvana hailed from Aberdeen up the road. But how deep should we delve into the Seattle scene (can’t touch the bottom), and how far from Seattle could we stray?

Grunge emerged from a vibrant American alternative rock scene – the most cursory of glances at Billboard back then gives away why alt rock was so culturally vital – so where did alt rock end and grunge begin? (Indeed, before numerous grunge imitators emerged across the States in 92–93 as the major labels saw neon $$ signs, was grunge in essence ‘alt rock, Seattle branch’?)

Of course, it’s all largely subjective. (Except for Bush. There’s only one opinion any sane person can have about Bush. And Candlebox.) So we thought we’d ask around, get some ideas and see what other people thought grunge was. We asked our Facebook friends; Dave S wins the none-more-black award for getting Dave Ellefson to respond! \m/

In best Family Fortunes style – imagine Les Dennis teasing some lumpy family from Cleethorpes for failing to get Alice in Chains – our survey said:

Top bands mentioned:

  • 29  –  Nirvana
  • 24  –  Pearl Jam
  • 18  –  Soundgarden
  • 16  –  Alice in Chains
  • 11  –  Stone Temple Pilots
  • 8    –  Mudhoney
  • 7    –  Temple of the Dog

Plenty of other bands got a nod: Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, Screaming Trees, Mother Love Bone, Dinosaur Jr, Hole, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, REM, L7. Other bands earned a solitary mention, including: Malfunkshun, The Melvins, Tad, Tool, Jane’s Addiction, RHCP, Hüsker Dü, The Lemonheads, The Breeders, early Foo Fighters. Most of these I wouldn’t have considered grunge, simply alternative rock. The most random reference was Ugly Kid Joe!?!

Top songs mentioned:

  • 9   –  Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • 8   –  Jeremy
  • 7   –  Alive, Outshined, Black Hole Sun
  • 6   –  Man in the Box, Plush
  • 5   –  Lithium, Even Flow, Touch Me I’m Sick

Other songs mentioned included: Come As You Are, Man Who Sold the World, Black, Hungerstrike, Creep, Jesus Christ Pose, Rusty Cage, Spoonman, Rooster, Them Bones, Would?, Dead and Bloated, Vasoline, Cherub Rock, Today, Nearly Lost You.

Anyway, the hunt for good ideas is ongoing. So, take a look at the Songs tab, and let us know what you’d like to hear us play!

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About Mark Anstee

guitarist, Radio Seattle View all posts by Mark Anstee

Share, if it makes you sleep, if it sets you free, if it helps you breathe…

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