Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Art & Culture: Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm

Twenty years after Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s debut, Ten, Blender senior editor, Mark Yarm, delivers Everybody Loves Our Town (Crown), the perfect remembrance/celebration/recollection of an era that some would say never was and others say never left us. After all, as Yarm tells us early on, even the grunge label itself is entirely subjective:
We could argue forever … about what bands are grunge, because the label is entirely subjective. Are Alice in Chains grunge or heavy metal or both? Were 7 Year Bitch punk or grunge or Riot Grrrl? How about contemporary Canadian arena rockers Nickelback: Post-grunge? Neo-grunge?
But whatever grunge is -- or isn’t -- no one has ever examined it with as much depth and affection as former Blender senior editor Yarm does in Everybody Loves Our Town.

To create the book, Yarm conducted interviews with grunge’s key players and contributors: over 250 musicians, producers, managers, journalists, and many others. Even wives and ex-lovers have not been left out and Courtney Love appears in several places with startling -- though not always credible -- revelations.

If you remember grunge or, like Chuck Palahniuk offers in a blurb for the book, your “memories of the era [are] a little hazy,” Everybody Loves Our Town brings it back, in some ways larger than life: a moment in time when Seattle erupted as the center of the universe… and the music industry was never quite the same. ◊

David Middleton is art director and art & culture editor of January Magazine.

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