For each rock and metal subgenre throughout history, there are usually a handful of bands that represent what it stood for. Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, which is one of the bands most associated with Seattle grunge, named what band he thinks is “the archetypal grunge band” – and it’s not Nirvana.
Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam are often referred to as the four main grunge bands, but there were so many different players involved in shaping Seattle’s music scene in the late 1980s and early 1980s. 1990s, before the release of Nirvana. It does not matter in 1991. Thayil did not name any of the aforementioned bands as his choice.
“Grunge was this generic label that referenced Seattle bands in general, but also included bands like Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots often got into grunge – they were in LA and Pumpkins were in Chicago. There’s definitely a cultural aesthetic that we shared with all of these bands, but I think musically the idea of a big power chord all blurry and distorted,” Thayil told Lifeminute.
“I think Nirvana could embody the musical identity of grunge, maybe – the band that would embody grunge the best, I think, is Mudhoney, Mudhoney’s sound, style and attitude. It’s, it’s is like the archetypal grunge band.”
Watch the full interview below.
Mark Arm formed Mudhoney after his former band Green River disbanded. Mudhoney were one of the first bands to work with Sub Pop Records, along with Nirvana and Soundgarden, although the latter moved to SST Records shortly after the release of their debut single “Hunted Down”.
For our 30 years of grunge video series, which came out last year, Thayil told us that Melvins’ Buzz Osborne taught him and Arm about drop tuning, so they learned to create the moody guitar sounds associated with grunge together.
Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil Names “The Archetypical Grunge Band”
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