A Brief Trip through 90s Grunge

90’a bands you hate to love by Phin Upham


The 1980s were dominated by a form of heavy metal that now seems strange to today’s youth. Known as “hair metal,” the scene was full of long haired singers and guitarists who would head bang to screeching guitars and screaming lyrics. But not everyone could stomach the sound, and a few teens in the 90s would start working on introspective lyrics that would become the basis of grunge music.

The bands that took the reins of grunge music started mostly in Seattle. Names like Mudhoney and the Melvins seemed to dominate the scene, but the growth was small. It wasn’t until the 1991 release of Nirvana’s Nevermind that the world got its first true taste of grunge rock.

Record labels soon clamored all over themselves to sign talent from the Pacific Northwest. Grunge was so popular that even bands that weren’t associated with it got swept up in the mayhem. Pearl Jam and Sound Garden, both with sounds more akin to Black Sabbath, were labeled grungy and attained huge commercial success.

Nirvana moved deeper into grunge, while bands like Stone Temple Pilots moved into the pop scene.

Grunge ended abruptly with the death of Kurt Cobain. By then, most grunge acts had come and gone. Two of the most popular albums in the 90s came from Soundgarden and Alice and Chains, but both bands broke up within a matter of years.

While grunge was short lived, the scene gave birth to much of the modern rock we hear today. Without grunge, we wouldn’t have Queens of the Stone Age or Foo Fighters.

Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.