According to the Reverb Festival Class of 2011

(Most of) the 70 bands at Saturday's festival chime in on the Seattle sound today and its intersection with the class of 1991.

Every year Seattle Weekly invites dozens of the city's finest bands to participate in Seattle's largest all-local music festival. This year, we made a few changes: We added a poster show (in the Reverb galleria at Carter Subaru), consolidated venues, and we asked every artist performing to answer a few questions. Here, 20 years after debut albums from Nirvana and Pearl Jam introduced the word "grunge" to the pop music lexicon, (almost) every one of the 70 artists on the bill chime in on the Seattle sound of 2011 and how the scene is still feeling the aftershocks of 1991.

 

What's the Seattle Sound of 2011?

The Cops' Drew Church: "If there a new Seattle sound, it's folky. I'll always think of this town as a rock-and-roll town." The Cops (punk/sweat/beers) play the Tractor at 6 p.m. CHRIS KORNELIS

Curtains for You's Matt Gervais: "It's almost like the city made some tacit decision to turn the page on that particular sound [grunge] and see what else it might be able to come up with." Curtains for You (shiny/happy/people) plays the Tractor at 10 p.m. CK

Rebecca Ann Johnston: "Hipster-popsicle cover rock with a twist of tight pants and a garnish of melancholy." Johnston (classical guitar/songbird/punk rock) plays Conor Byrne at 6:30 p.m. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Joseph Giant's Joe Syverson: "Crappy folk music." Joseph Giant (Ballard country/nu 206/pop) plays the Tractor at 8 p.m. CK

Lurrell Low: "There's not a narrow lane of creativity, whereas in other places it's not easy to present your art, and there isn't as decent of a community. I think it's innovative that labels like Sub Pop who don't generally dabble in hip-hop are open to back and support positive music." Low (hip-hop/chiefin'/neo-soul) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 7:30 p.m. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Manigua's Alberto Vega: "I get really bored with all the bands that want to sound like Modest Mouse or Death Cab for Cutie. They nailed it already. Make your own flavor and maybe you'll be next." Manigua (y mamba & the rumba & all things Latin-fusion) plays the Volterra Stage at 9:30 p.m. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Mark Pickerel: "Well, you can't [describe the Seattle sound]. You would have to include so many groups like Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse to Arthur and Yu. In my opinion, there is not a Seattle sound. There's good music and bad music, and Seattle's capable of producing both." Pickerel (grunge's middle child/one-man band with pompadour/always good) plays Conor Byrne at 7:30 p.m. GE

Mash Hall's Larry Mizell, Jr.: "People in the hip-hop scene out here have long complained that our not having some codified sound has been a liability, but I think that's bullshit. The sound of Seattle now is a bunch of different parties cross-pollinating, and that's way more accurate to the spirit of the city as I see it today." Mash Hall (torch/bearing/rappers) plays the Sunset at 11 p.m. JULI MULLEN GORDON

McTuff's Joe D: "I'm personally not behind the mindset that 'Seattle music = grunge.' Not that '90s/grunge music isn't any good. But when I hear from others who equate Seattle to grunge music, I know right away they've missed or are missing quite a bit . . . and that's too bad." McTuff (Hammond-driven neo-Wheedle's Groove Central District strut-funk) plays the Volterra Stage at 8:30 p.m. MDL

Red Jacket Mine's Lincoln Barr: "While there seems to be an emphasis on kinder, gentler sounds right now, I think you can draw a pretty straight line (through Mr. Elliott Smith and a host of pretenders) back to the '91 sound. The melodies and rhythms are decidedly white, for the most part, and 'feelings' are still the primary lyrical focus. The '90s took the hump right out of rock, I'm afraid." Red Jacket Mine (rock/pop/modern oldies) plays the Tractor at 3 p.m. CK

Seapenny's Stella Hawthorne: " 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' dubstep." Seapenny (solo/teenager/not Seapony) plays the Salmon Bay Eagles at 3 p.m. EKT

Three Ninjas & Tangentbot's Jason J. Brunet: "If I ever hear another song about a goddamn cat, I am pulling the plug on the Seattle music scene. I'll just call the mayor. I know he'll be on my side. It'll be like Season 3 of Buffy." Three Ninjas & Tangetbot (gamer crunk & fandom wank rap) plays the 2 Bit Saloon at 3 p.m. DAVE LAKE

Tomten's Brian Noyeswatkins: "Earnest white man gazes longingly into the sunset but doesn't have the balls to kill himself like Ernest Hemingway." Tomten (rock/new vintage/Sound Off! champs) plays the Salmon Bay Eagles at 10 p.m. EKT

You.May.Die.In.The.Desert's Brandon Salter: "There is no 'Seattle sound,' in my opinion. The 'Seattle sound' is whatever critics pick up on and rave about in their periodicals, blogs, websites, or on TV. There is a ton of really cool music happening in Seattle right now, but most of the rest of the world sees us through the lens of 'indie folk.' " You.May.Die.In.The.Desert (prog/math/instrumental) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 6:30 p.m. EKT

 

What legacy has grunge left in Seattle?

Atomic Bride's Astra Yaver: "I was never a big fan of the grunge sound. To me it sounded like watered-down punk rock, but I still do respect what the genre contributed to the development of subculture." Atomic Bride (fevered angular-scratch guitar apocalypse bop) plays the 2 Bit Saloon at 8 p.m. DL

Dude York's Peter Richards: "I think that Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden had really eccentric sounds, and in the wake of their front-page popularity, their primary legacy is that their weird ideas became the norm in guitar music on 107.7/in Tower Records/on MTV. I think those bands made it harder to be a 'serious' guitar band from Seattle; that being said, I don't know if I could live without Mudhoney." Dude York (punk/slop/squeal rock) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 4:30 p.m. EKT

Grand Hallway's Tomo Nakayama: "[Grunge] really put Seattle on the musical map. Seattle's been known as a music town for as long as I can remember, and it's really weird to imagine a time when people thought otherwise. Grunge is a small representation of one very specific moment in history, but it left an indelible mark on people's perceptions of the city." Grand Hallway (pop/strings/feelings) plays the Tractor at midnight. CK

Less Than Equals' John Ramberg: "It built a local music infrastructure with clubs and studios. " Less Than Equals (Seattle stalwarts/'60s pop-reggae cover band/f'ing sweet) plays Conor Byrne at 4:30 p.m. GE

Metal Chocolates' OC Notes: "The grunge scene has had a legacy for businesses and people who don't really know that much about Seattle's rich music history. Seattle rides the grunge episode too much. It should pay more attention to the other things that had a larger impact on musicians." Metal Chocolates (hip-hop/brainiac/opium of love) play the Sunset at 4 p.m. JMG

Stephanie's Ian Judd: "The exposure from grunge transformed Seattle into a place where a band could 'make it' without having to move to New York or Los Angeles . . . We're '90s babies. Many of the bands that we loved as adolescents were related to grunge in one way or another. Also, we think distortion sounds 'cool.' " Stephanie (post-punk/swirl rock/glam) plays the Salmon Bay Eagles at 4 p.m. EKT

Witch Gardens' Beth Corry: "The grunge explosion did the Seattle scene many favors. Because of all of the musical activity here in the '90s, the city has essentially been set up to support and encourage musicians here. Between the vast community of musicians we have here and the support surrounding them, I think we have a lot to thank the grunge explosion for." Witch Gardens (power pop/lo-fi/chipper rock) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 9:30 p.m. EKT

 

Does grunge influence your music? Do you hear it in your peers' music?

Big Wheel Stunt Show's Evan Nagle: "Before I heard the bands of that era, all I had to go by was the Christian music my parents gave me, so I don't know if I would be playing rock & roll if it weren't for the early '90s." Big Wheel Stunt Show (big roaring mountainside naked hillbilly blues bash) plays the 2 Bit Saloon at 10 p.m. DL

Charles Leo Gebhardt IV: "So many people in Seattle are making music for the sheer enjoyment of it, their ambition being to have a killer time with their friends. I think that was sort of the genesis of the grunge movement, people making music they like, and who cares what other people think." Gebhardt (pop rock/double entendres/GGNZLA) plays the Sunset at 5 p.m. JMG

Ghosts I've Met's Sam Watts: "I was 8 years old in 1991, and if anything the influence for me was much more present back then, like how I begged my parents for an electric guitar so I could attempt to learn Nirvana songs in the basement." Ghosts I've Met (wistful/mellow/country-tinged alt-rock) plays Conor Byrne at 8:30 p.m. GE

Hotels' Blake Madden: "Aside from my grandpa's Louis Armstrong records, I had no concept of anything musical until I was at least 12. The first batch of bands and albums I was introduced to included Nevermind and Ten. I liked Ten more at the time, but I think Nevermind has aged a little better." Hotels (rock/pop/new wave) plays the Salmon Bay Eagles at 8 p.m. EKT

Land of Pines' Evan Easthope: "I think Seattle is still a place to find consistently forward-thinking guitar-rock music. I personally heart Pearl Jam big-time, and that may show a bit in LOP's music. Not everyone in my band agrees on that one, but I wear that badge of loyalty proudly." Land of Pines (rock/pop/young'ns) plays the Salmon Bay Eagles at 7 p.m. EKT

Neighbors' José Diaz and David Bourgin: "Today's bands . . . are indebted to a particular way of making and promoting music. Any band/musician/artist/hairdresser that says they aren't influenced by the grunge sound is definitely lying." Neighbors (power pop/'90s indie/jangle rock) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 3:30 p.m. EKT

NighTraiN's Selena Whitaker-Paquiet: "Our sound is most influenced by old-school music and the artists who came from Motown [and] Atlantic Records and the occasional singer/songwriter. However, I do think that we embody a rawness and lyrical freedom that is expressed in grunge music." NighTraiN (dark dive digital days in downtown at dusk) plays the 2 Bit Saloon at 7 p.m. DL

Noddy's Cynthia Brothers: "We are basically a grunge band on poppers and e-bomb. Our sound goes 'all-out' and has a frenetic, raw energy, even if the sound itself is quite different than grunge." Noddy (new wave/poppers/dirty glamour) plays the Sunset at 2 p.m. JMG

Partman Parthorse's Gary Smith: "If it's so easy to hear an influence, it's usually boring. I heard Buzz from the Melvins being interviewed on Fox News, and he said something like, 'The secret to using an influence is to be able to hide it well.' " Partman Parthorse (punk/underoos/smart-assery) plays the Sunset at 7 p.m. JMG

Sandrider's Nat Damm: "I grew up listening to Nirvana, Soundgarden, Tad, and L7 as well as punk rock, soul, and all of the records my parents had from the '60s and '70s. All of those genres and styles influenced the way I play the drums." Sandrider (ominous, drill-delirious, bass-irrigated throb-skronk) plays the 2 Bit Saloon at midnight. DL

Kelli Schaefer: "Of course the grunge influence on music today is undeniable (for us it shows up in an unapologetic catharsis in expressing ourselves). How could it not have left its footprint? In the same way, Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, Philip Glass, Björk, Greg Ginn, or Beethoven have influenced us—and the list goes on. No matter what era or genre of music, your lasting legacy depends greatly on how comfortable you are with being yourself. The Seattle music scene (today), I have experienced, so far is scared to do that." Schaefer (sass/rock/is experienced) plays The Tractor at 9 p.m. CK

Shaprece: "The grunge explosion is responsible for the come-as-you-are mentality for artists. I love the honesty of this era. Scott Weiland's attitude and demanding presence onstage is something that I definitely try to channel whenever I get a mike in my hand!" Shaprece (funk/soul/pow!) plays the Sunset at 3 p.m. JMG

Sons of Warren Oates' Kevin Barrans: "[Grunge] has almost no influence on me stylistically. However, it was the grunge era that first got me really excited about music as a teenager, which eventually led me to other genres, which then led me to where I am now." Sons of Warren Oates (banjos/10-gallon hats/country) plays Conor Byrne at 9:30 p.m. CK

The Spinning Whips' Jordan West: "I was 8 in 1991. I was too young to have discovered Motorhead, Black Sabbath, or MC5, so this was my first taste of music that was driven by aggression. Even as a young kid I latched on to that power, and it's fueled all of my musical ventures ever since." The Spinning Whips (turpentine-soaked flames from basement-metal flashbacks) play the 2 Bit Saloon at 9 p.m. DL

Virgin Islands' Mike Jaworski: "It's hard not to be influenced by bands like Nirvana or Mudhoney if you're into rock 'n' roll. Both were/are killer bands who wrote great songs with guts and passion. Sadly, there are too many bands in this town at this point in time who seem to have missed it. There must have been a large glut of Crosby, Stills, and Nash records in the used bins over the past few years." Virgin Islands (punk/rock/new grunge) plays the Salmon Bay Eagles at 9 p.m. EKT

 

OK, share a memory about grunge and 1991.

James Coates: "Grunge wasn't about the sound. It was about what the sound did. I think people saw a little bit of themselves in their grunge heroes, and that's what made the movement so vital." James Coates (a man/a plan/an acoustic guitar) plays Conor Byrne at 5:30 p.m. GE

Cobirds Unite's Rusty Willoughby: "It shook me to the core, and I hated playing music for a long time after watching what a bit of media attention did to the music community of this town. It was a shifting point, culturally, so I can see the interest from a purely archaeological perspective, or a music-history perspective. But I was young and impressionable, and it scared the crap out of me." Cobirds Unite (boy-meets-girl/form supergroup/adorable) plays Conor Byrne at 12:30 a.m. GE

Corespondents' Doug Arnie: "In 1991, Corespondents were helping President Bush get near a decision on easing the federal banking rules to help soften the problems with the nation's tight credit conditions . . . and it worked." Corespondents (Morricone w/Greek & Vietnamese after-hours stylings) play the Volterra Stage at 7:30 p.m. MDL 

Fly Moon Royalty's Adraboo: "I can remember belting out 'Jeremy' in the halls at school, and feeling like a lot of those songs spoke to the outcast in so many of us . . . Not many can accurately duplicate that kind of sound, feeling, emotion." Fly Moon Royalty (hip-hop/neo-soul/electronic) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 8:30 p.m. EKT

DJ Fucking in the Streets: "On October 8th, 1991, I was 11, and two months away from receiving a cassette of Pearl Jam's Ten for Christmas from my Cool Uncle Bryan. That, and not Nevermind, was the first bite of "grunge" that I owned, and falling for Pearl Jam's broad populist rock before Nirvana's outsider punk cool was my original sin as a music fan, one I've been running from ever since." DJ Fucking in the Streets spins at Bastille at 6 p.m. EG

Furniture Girls' Thane Mitchell: "You could walk into the Frontier Room on a Tuesday night and there was a whole table full of rock stars." Furniture Girls (vividly widescreen deep bass gleaming Jeep jams) play the 2 Bit Saloon at 6 p.m. DL

Gold Leaves' Grant Olsen: "I think I had just moved to Seattle from Hawaii and entered the weirdness of middle school [in 1991]. I'd go down the road to Tower Records a lot. There were a couple of workers that got to know me and were all right over time, and they turned me on to a lot of good records that sent me in a new trajectory. I think that helped me get a couple girls at that age, among other things. I have no idea what those record-store employees' names were, but if they're still around and reading this—thanks, dudes." Gold Leaves (indie/hippie/soul) plays the Tractor at 11 p.m. CK

Groggy Bikini's Jon Hale: "The October 1991 Sub Pop Single of the Month was my old group Gorilla. We were playing a lot, but one show in October stands out. It was Nirvana, Mudhoney, and Gorilla at The Commodore in Vancouver, B.C. It was one kick-ass wild night!" Groggy Bikini (high-adrenaline surf-skronk w/needles-&-pins power pop) plays the 2 Bit Saloon at 4 p.m. DL

Grynch: "It's definitely something people look back on as a time in Seattle music history where the national spotlight was on the city. Also, I've heard people compare what's going on with the Seattle hip-hop scene right now to what happened with the grunge explosion back then on numerous occasions." Grynch (hip/hop/king of Ballard) plays the Sunset at midnight. JMG

Khingz: "I remember seeing Kurt Cobain in the Sam Goody in the bottom of Westlake, but I wasn't aware of who he was. A friend of mine had to tell me. Growing up as a black kid in the South End of Seattle, I was utterly absorbed by hip-hop and rap." Khingz (rhyme/rhythm/say) plays the Sunset at 10 p.m. JMG

The Pharmacy's Scottie Yoder: "We use a stolen piece of wood from the bench by Kurt Cobain's house to hold up the PA at our house." The Pharmacy (garage/pop rock/new vintage) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 10:30 p.m. EKT

Pony Time's Stacy Peck: "I accidentally stole one of Dave Grohl's drum parts for [our] song 'Pony Time Is Currently Single.' " Pony Time (punk/fuzz/garage) plays the New York Fashion Academy at 5:30 p.m. EKT

Sidepony's Dalisha Phillips, aka Bang Bang: "In '91 we were only 6 and 4, so listening to grunge was like our third fav activity after eating Push-Ups and doodling dogs. Or it was more likely that we were watching Nickelodeon and bumpin' Sharon, Lois, and Bram's 'Skinnamarink' song or Mariah Carey." Sidepony (pony/so/cool) plays the Sunset at 9 p.m. JMG

Spurm's TV Coahran: "Nevermind was great. Badmotorfinger was good. Haven't got around to listening to Tad yet. Pearl Jam sucked and always will suck." Spurm (prog/vocoder/saxophone) plays the Sunset at 6 p.m. JMG

Trashy Trash DJs: "We've been throwing a '90s dance party for over three years, called Snap! The best part is that people will still rock out as hard to booty bass or gangsta rap as they will to the Smashing Pumpkins or a well-timed 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.' " Trashy Trash DJs spin at Bastille from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. EG

Witchburn's Dana Sims: "It was a bunch of bands that supported one another. There was a sense of community. If you look at all the old photos of the bands that defined grunge, it was mostly the other bands that were sweating in the front row with their hands in the air." Witchburn (sinewy, stoned late night in the woods retro-metal stomp) plays the 2 Bit Saloon at 11 p.m. DL

 
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