by Lilly O’Connor and Steven Thomas Smith
Grunge is dead... These words were written on a Kurt Cobain t-shirt alongside a famous picture of the musician holding his daughter Frances. 20 years later, Nirvana, Mudhoney, the Melvins are selling more CDs than ever. What makes this music so special? Is Grunge still dead?
In 2012 it is perhaps to be expected that Grunge died at the end of the ’90s. But there are bands like the American Spayed, Dominoise, Tommy Mills & The Jade Amenity, Aussie band Mud Letter Pie, German band Pandora and the Irish one You Name Us, that keep the 90s fire alive. With passion, devotion and tenderness, the fire of grunge music keeps burning.
Questions were asked, and answers have been given. ’90s grunge bands keep touring, and their shows impress by their energy and passion. In a time where the look wins over quality it’s a welcome return to the roots of punk rock music.
The ‘new grunge’ (for lack of a better term) movement can be traced back to the early 2000s and before. Some of these bands have been veterans of the scene for the better part of two decades.
It hardly seems fair to call it ‘new’, but some things take longer than not to get noticed, listeners grow tired of the condensed and processed top 40 bands penetrating the eardrums of ‘mainstream’ radio listeners. Therefore, many have now discovered these bands and with great enthusiasm.
There’s a somewhat ‘basic’ formula in ‘grunge’ and the garage/punk genre. Some of it’s a blast of straight up ’60s throwback. From the fuzz laden guitars, to the chord structures and arrangement, to the in your face garage lyrical approach. It’s been said that yes, there is indeed a ‘new’ grunge movement. It is definitely rootsy Punk and garage influenced, but wait a minute… it’s also been said ‘new’ grunge has a more ‘sophisticated’ approach. Maybe that’s because the younger generation picked up where the older generation left off, and made it their own. There is an undeniable raw, artistic approach to the music that people seem to be able to relate to.
No, I don't think punk rock is dead, it can’t die, it expresses the frustrations and the lack of hope of youth, as long as there will be inequality there will be punk rock music.