Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge

Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge – Mark Yarm

Everybody Loves Our Town is a look at the history of Seattle’s grunge music scene as told by the people who were a part of it. For the book, author Mark Yarm conducted over two hundred and fifty interviews across the complete spectrum of those involved so it is not just limited to musicians – producers, managers, journalists, record executives, photographers and so many others all have a place in this oral history.

If one thing is for certain, almost no one liked the word “grunge” with many even resenting being lumped in with those that were responsible for the “Seattle sound” finding it limiting in scope and reducing their art to a certain level of sameness. That being said, there definitely was a feeling of camaraderie amongst artists in that due to the Pacific Northwest often being skipped over by bands on national tours, they had to build their own scene from the ground up. However, once Nirvana kicked down the door in 1991, the neglected corner of the United States no longer went unnoticed.

Mark Yarm explores the resentment on behalf of several of the performers for their own burdening success. No one seemed to take it harder than Kurt Cobain, who loathed when those who made him an outcast during his formative years began populating much of the crowds at Nirvana concerts. With the rise of the grunge scene in Seattle also coinciding with the infiltration of heroin and heavy drug use amongst area musicians, many would tragically pass away at the height of their popularity and creativity. Performers like Andrew Wood, Stephanie Sargent, Layne Staley and many others would succumb to their addictions.

The book is almost like a gossip-heavy confessional with many musicians lamenting destroyed relationships as bands constantly evolved by kicking out and bringing in alternate players over the years. I always knew there had been tension between two of the era’s biggest bands in Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I never knew quite why. Mark Yarm explores Kurt’s general dislike for Pearl Jam as Kurt viewed them as a band riding their coattails and taking advantage of the path Nirvana had forged, which is completely insane in hindsight.

Everybody Loves Our Town is a fascinating look at the origins of grunge (going as far back as the early 80s), its rise and its inevitable place in history as a sort of time capsule of the slacker, do-it-yourself culture of the 1990s.

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