My dad is 82 and has a few health issues. Of his multiple myeloma he says, "I hate it like fields of burning fuck." Which is how I've always felt about the "Seattle Sound."
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I moved here in 1993 and immediately started going out to hear bands. That was part of the draw of Seattle—the music scene here was supposed to be great. What I heard was depressing. I thought I was among my people here. Hadn't we all grown up listening to The Clash, Devo, Elvis Costello, and the Minutemen? Didn't we agree that rock and roll should be fast, smart, and punchy? Who the fuck were all these meatheads in baggy shorts? And what was this horrible, horrible music? The "songs" were dreary, indistinguishable dirges. There was no snap, no wit, no verve. And definitely no fun. The shorts-wearing meatheads took themselves very seriously.
I remember a few bands from those years with a bit of sparkle to them—Gherkin, Sage, Sicko, and Citizens' Utilities come to mind. But for the most part, if you went to a show in the early '90s, you were in for churning waves of sludge and super-earnest young men with the same terrible haircut.
So it's now apparently been 20 years since this sound broke? Jesus, who cares? How many deluxe reissues of Ten and Nevermind do we need? This anniversary is an arbitrary non-event if ever there was one. If it must be observed, I recommend seeing Nick Lowe, a man who represents the opposite of everything grunge: He's thoughtful, tuneful, gracious, funny, humane, and well-dressed. Unlike grunge, he is also aging well. At 62 he looks like a gray-haired Jimmy Stewart. Meanwhile that dude from the Melvins looks, as former Weekly editor Mark Fefer once observed, more and more like Susan Boyle.