Grunge music originated in the Pacific Northwest in the early nineties, and changed both the attitude and the style of rock music.
The music of the eighties was like the decade: excessive. New wave to metal, everything was big - hair and fashion, extensive synthesizer kits, and huge stage shows. Grunge changed that – it stripped down and de-glossed music.
In Seattle and the surrounding communities, there have always been bands. The area produced a wide variety of sounds and styles (The Walkabouts, Screaming Trees, Young Fresh Fellows), but “grunge” music began finding an audience in the late eighties and early nineties with its heavier, more basic sound. Stripped of all the complicated layering of synthesizers, grunge music took rock back to its roots: simple, and raw.
Some grunge bands who later became popular (like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains), started out with a more metal sound. This morphed into a more “sludgy” style over time, helped by the influence of producer Jack Endino (Skin Yard), who worked with many of the bands. Record label SubPop packaged the bands in a certain style, which added cohesiveness to the growing scene.
In the early nineties, the band NIRVANA gained attention with their song, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – and changed what was heard on popular radio. once considered too heavy for mainstream airwaves, bands like Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, L7, TAD, and Hole were on the radio, and everywhere. Bands performed in simple jeans, t-shirts, and flannels, and had no ‘stage show’ to speak of.
Grunge music grew out of a group of talented individuals who fostering a DIY attitude by making, recording, and releasing their own music. They didn’t worry about being glamorous, they worried about making the music they wanted to make. Grunge bands would have made Frank Sinatra proud: they really did do it “their way”.