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When Nirvana Came to Britain


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12 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

I think by 'killed hair metal' I think they mean on TV, which was true. 

True and their record sales also went south went grunge became mainstream. However, grunge's time in the mainstream sun was rather short and came to an end in the mid 90s. Nirvana was done in 94, AIC in 96, and Soundgarden in 97. Pearl Jam carried on but their next albums were nowhere near as big sellers than their early 90s ones. 

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7 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Someone needs to publish their Ten Lists You Need To Read Before You Die 

I get that these lists are all subjective and if you ask 10 journalists, you'll get 11 lists.

However, as long as AIC come top, I am cool with it 😉 

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1 minute ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

True and their record sales also went south went grunge became mainstream. However, grunge's time in the mainstream sun was rather short and came to an end in the mid 90s. Nirvana was done in 94, AIC in 96, and Soundgarden in 97. Pearl Jam carried on but their next albums were nowhere near as big sellers than their early 90s ones. 

 

As someone else mentioned, I was never sure how some groups got lumped with others, like when everything like Elvis costello etc got lumped in as punk etc. I never viewed Pearl Jam as even slightly grunge, they were just what would have been described as rock if they came out a few years earlier.

 

I suppose things need labels for people. 

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2 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

 

As someone else mentioned, I was never sure how some groups got lumped with others, like when everything like Elvis costello etc got lumped in as punk etc. I never viewed Pearl Jam as even slightly grunge, they were just what would have been described as rock if they came out a few years earlier.

 

I suppose things need labels for people. 

Agree. The main protagonists of the "grunge movement" were all very different but the media and record labels love labels. It's just a classic marketing tool.

 

Extracts from sub pop's website: 

https://www.subpop.com/artists/sub_pop

 

“Sub Pop was the grunge label, right?” That’s right—the original home to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney, incredible bands all. Bands whose members even, on occasion, wore flannel shirts. And 15 years after the rest of America draped itself in fashionable, grungy flannels (and then promptly took them to the thrift stores where they always belonged), Sub Pop is again one of the top music companies in the land, with artists racking up Saturday Night Live appearances and Grammy nominations."

 

"While courting devoted fans, Sub Pop also courted the press, and the British music press in particular. UK outlets such as Melody Maker and the New Music Express were given to hyperbolic fawning, which suited Sub Pop’s own exaggerated marketing. In March 1989, the label paid to put Melody Maker‘s Everett True on a Seattle-bound plane to come soak up the scene. His excited report back, “Seattle: Rock City” whet European appetites for all things Northwest, including Seattle’s pared-down punk and metal hybrid known as grunge rock."

 

"Of course, Nevermind also made grunge a household word and put flannel shirts and Dr. Martens boots on fashion runways and in JC Pennys. By this point, major labels had been scoping out Seattle bands for a few years. When Nirvana brought alternative music into the multi-platinum mainstream, the majors looked harder, looked wider, and offered more money for bands to sign on the dotted line. Suddenly Sub Pop was competing not only with other indie labels for new talent, but with the majors as well."

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9 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

 

As someone else mentioned, I was never sure how some groups got lumped with others, like when everything like Elvis costello etc got lumped in as punk etc. I never viewed Pearl Jam as even slightly grunge, they were just what would have been described as rock if they came out a few years earlier.

 

I suppose things need labels for people. 

 

At the time, the idea of it being a Seattle scene was strong, and they were a Seattle band (allowing for the fact that Vedder wasn't from there) Do I remember right that before the term grunge was popularised it was just as much referred to as Seattle Hardcore?

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I've just finished watching the programme and here are my rambling thoughts about it.

 

I enjoyed it and thought it was very well done in that assured, calm, analytic without being anaemic, BBC4 style.

 

It made me remember where I was when I heard that Kurt had died - I was with my dad at a scrappie's yard getting bits for a car when the news came over the radio. I don't remember what kind of car it was and I'm usually pretty particular about those kind of details so it definitely threw me off my game that day.

 

It made me feel angry that I felt like that much of an an outsider at the time that I considered Nirvana to be something the cool kids listened to - I didn't get into Nirvana until I left school in 1993 and even then I went In Utero, early stuff then Nevermind last.

 

It's given me an idea for a song.

 

Finally, it was a Gibson bass fest, which tickled me greatly. Krist is a giant - he makes that RD Artist (which I considered to be a big bass when I had one) look like a toy :)

 

TL:DR, I enjoyed it.

Edited by neepheid
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I remember forming  band with a mate, and discussing the musical style. Grunge was the new thing at the  time... we thought about going that route but decided against as we considered that grunge had peaked in popularity with "Superfuzz Bigmuff" and a few others - and was downhill from then on.

Next thing we knew Nevermind exploded and took it to virtually mainstream popularity.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

Agree. The main protagonists of the "grunge movement" were all very different but the media and record labels love labels. It's just a classic marketing tool.

 

Extracts from sub pop's website: 

https://www.subpop.com/artists/sub_pop

 

“Sub Pop was the grunge label, right?” That’s right—the original home to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney, incredible bands all. Bands whose members even, on occasion, wore flannel shirts. And 15 years after the rest of America draped itself in fashionable, grungy flannels (and then promptly took them to the thrift stores where they always belonged), Sub Pop is again one of the top music companies in the land, with artists racking up Saturday Night Live appearances and Grammy nominations."

 

"While courting devoted fans, Sub Pop also courted the press, and the British music press in particular. UK outlets such as Melody Maker and the New Music Express were given to hyperbolic fawning, which suited Sub Pop’s own exaggerated marketing. In March 1989, the label paid to put Melody Maker‘s Everett True on a Seattle-bound plane to come soak up the scene. His excited report back, “Seattle: Rock City” whet European appetites for all things Northwest, including Seattle’s pared-down punk and metal hybrid known as grunge rock."

 

"Of course, Nevermind also made grunge a household word and put flannel shirts and Dr. Martens boots on fashion runways and in JC Pennys. By this point, major labels had been scoping out Seattle bands for a few years. When Nirvana brought alternative music into the multi-platinum mainstream, the majors looked harder, looked wider, and offered more money for bands to sign on the dotted line. Suddenly Sub Pop was competing not only with other indie labels for new talent, but with the majors as well."

 

I thought that the whole Sub Pop thing was played down as well, as they'd been releasing loads of interesting stuff pre and post Nirvana, which was getting played on the likes of John Peel's Show and others. 

 

2 hours ago, Nail Soup said:

I remember forming  band with a mate, and discussing the musical style. Grunge was the new thing at the  time... we thought about going that route but decided against as we considered that grunge had peaked in popularity with "Superfuzz Bigmuff" and a few others - and was downhill from then on.

Next thing we knew Nevermind exploded and took it to virtually mainstream popularity.

 

 

 

Did that as well. Good times. What's also a bit forgotten is that Nevermind took a little while to gain momentum when it was originally released (like a lot of "classic albums" really I guess). Next thing you know, they were everywhere.

 

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4 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

 

At the time, the idea of it being a Seattle scene was strong, and they were a Seattle band (allowing for the fact that Vedder wasn't from there) Do I remember right that before the term grunge was popularised it was just as much referred to as Seattle Hardcore?

Before the term/label grunge got used, there was no other term that everyone used. They just called it the Seattle scene, the Seattle sound, the Northwest sound etc. I just created a thread that features Hype!, a documentary that gives a very good overview of the scene in the early 90s. There were so many bands and people were hopping around from band to band quite a lot. The documentary also explains that Seattle's remote location was one of the reasons for the strong scene there- not that many bands from the rest of the US (or abroad) bothered playing there. For most, the US ended in San Francisco. This created a strong DIY (sub-)culture in the Northwest. The notoriously bad weather in the Northwest also helped as people could not do much outdoors and would form bands instead (remember - these were the pre-Internet and pre-social media days). Maybe the latter explains why so many good bands came (still come?) from Manchester?  

 

 

 

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I didn't think I'd be able to watch this as I don't have a licence, but it appears to be on Youtube already so I'll have a nice legal look, after tomorrow's gigs, perhaps.

 

I think that the 'Grunge' sound and look, however we define it, was a bit of a sea change in mainstream pop at the time in a similar fashion to punk, as production values had become very high and fashion very overwrought. The shift brought back a simpler sound of mic'ed up bands, and a look achievable by kids for very little outlay. Pop around that time began to take on darker sounds and themes, but I'm not sure it's aged all that well- all that moping and self-loathing was rather counter to the positivity and wonder most are seeking from a mainstream pop tune. It was all around me as a teen though; I was very taken with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, although nowadays Melvins and Mudhoney encapsulate that ethic more for me- 'I Like It Small' by Mudhoney seems a good manifesto for the independent garage band!

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2 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Top Ten Hair Metal Bands Utterly Destoryed By Nirvana.

 

 

 

Hanoi Rocks

 

... that's enough hairspray - Ed.

 

 

Who said Nirvana weren’t ahead of their time, in 1991 they managed to get Hanoi Rocks to split up in 1985, even Dr Who would have struggled with that one 😀

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2 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Top Ten Hair Metal Bands Utterly Destoryed By Nirvana.

 

 

 

Hanoi Rocks

 

Skid Row

 

Warrant

 

Britny Fox

 

Poison

 

Dave Lee Roth

 

Cinderella

 

Motley Crue

 

Err...

 

... that's enough hairspray - Ed.

 

 

 

 

I think utterly destroyed is a bit wide of the mark. Hanoi Rocks have always been doing what they do quietly. They were never a hair metal band anyway. More a rock n roll band. Skid row disappeared once they parted ways with Sebastian Bach although they are still going. Motley Crue continue to be huge. The rest I can give you.

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I was always a rocker at heart and loved metal and rock bands. When Grunge appeared I thought I like this new type of music. I do think the term is ridiculous right enough as it seems all you had to do was come from Seattle in the early 90's and you were grunge. The variety between bands was quite noticeable. I pretty much liked them all apart from a couple. I couldn't get into the Melvins and others just didn't float my boat. The big players were all up my street and I liked their music. I do tend to be quite easy to please right enough as I pretty much like most music unless it's dull and lifeless. (Like jazz funk)

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Grunge was probably a bigger deal in the US, as over the previous decade rock fans were fed a diet of p1$$poor MTV fodder of hair metal and FM corporate stadium rock. Sure there were some fine alternative rock bands but they were pretty much in the margins. When Nirvana broke in the UK at the time I was more interested in UK dance acts like The Shamen, KLF, S Express etc. Got into some Grunge bands a few years later.

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1 hour ago, Lozz196 said:

Who said Nirvana weren’t ahead of their time, in 1991 they managed to get Hanoi Rocks to split up in 1985, even Dr Who would have struggled with that one 😀

Well, there are only four possible answers to that:

a) Time is relative

b) Stub got it wrong

c) Time is an illusion

d) Who the hell are Hanoi Rocks?

 

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3 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

Who said Nirvana weren’t ahead of their time, in 1991 they managed to get Hanoi Rocks to split up in 1985, even Dr Who would have struggled with that one 😀

 

They destroyed then in the sense they stopped them reforming.

 

It's no accident that five years after Kurt's passing, they reformed.

 

They looked like a hair metal band when I saw them at Reading in 1983.

 

That posting was intended as humour, y'all know...

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Yeah I got that, no malice intended with my post hence the smiley.

 

Hanoi were an odd band, looked like all those hair metal bands but didn’t sound anything like them, a bit of a crossover from punk to rock I suppose. Def one of my faves tho.

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17 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Top Ten Hair Metal Bands Utterly Destoryed By Nirvana.

 

 

 

Hanoi Rocks

 

Skid Row

 

Warrant

 

Britny Fox

 

Poison

 

Dave Lee Roth

 

Cinderella

 

Motley Crue

 

Err...

 

... that's enough hairspray - Ed.

 

 

 

I suppose everything is relative depending on your own tastes and experiences. 

 

There are 4 of my all time favourite bands on that list that I still listen to on a regular basis. Nirvana were barely a footnote for me. It wouldn't even cross my mind to play one of their albums today. For others Nirvana had a massive impact on their musical journey. I was 16 in 1991 when Nirvana were arguably at the peak of their popularity. So exactly the right age to be target audience, yet they somehow just passed me by. I was aware of them, but there was nothing about them that would make me go out of my way to listen to them or go and buy an album. 

 

Having said that, the floodgates were open on all the Manchester music scene dross at the time which all my friends were into and I absolutely hated. Compared to that Nirvana were Gods. 

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It just occurred to me that Nirvana are like Harry Potter. If you find them in your formative years they are ground breaking and open the doors to a world of possibilities. Everyone else doesn’t really get it as they have already been through Lord of the Rings and Star Wars etc.

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It was the live shows where grunge really beat hair metal. Instead of a fat, coke fueled ego squeezed in to leather trousers and topped with 5 cans of hair spray muddling their way through songs they could barely remember the words to grunge bands had energy, and so did their audience. It brought back the live energy of hardcore punk. They didn't need elaborate stage sets and pyrotechnics to make up for when the coke wore off five songs in to the set.

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7 minutes ago, SteveXFR said:

It was the live shows where grunge really beat hair metal. Instead of a fat, coke fueled ego squeezed in to leather trousers and topped with 5 cans of hair spray muddling their way through songs they could barely remember the words to grunge bands had energy, and so did their audience. It brought back the live energy of hardcore punk. They didn't need elaborate stage sets and pyrotechnics to make up for when the coke wore off five songs in to the set.

 

Quite a statement considering Kurt Cobain was responsible for pretty much the most incoherent, drug addled live performances I've ever seen. 

 

They couldn't even lace the boots of contemporary rock acts like Aerosmith and GnR at the time. 

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