Mark Yarm

First things first. No, Mark Yarm, author of Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge (Crown, $25), is not from Seattle, our town. He's from Brooklyn, and his book is expanded from a Blender magazine story three years back. There's also no index, nor an easy way to distinguish the new interviews—250 are claimed—from the library clippings. (Quaint to think that he had to hit the Seattle Public Library for old, pre-Internet copies of The Rocket.) That said, his timing is perfect, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nevermind and grunge has faded considerably in cultural memory. And, despite its structural issues, the book is like a very extended and entertaining all-night bullshit session among everyone who mattered during the late-'80s/early-'90s music scene. Crucially, that means more than just the voices of the musicians (including SW contributors Duff McKagan and Krist Novoselic), but also the scene makers who managed the bands, designed the posters, photographed the concerts, drew the cartoons, wrote the reviews, and sold the records (i.e., Sub Pop) in that pre-MP3 era. Thus we hear Larry Reid, manager of the U-Men, recalling how Bruce Pavitt declared in '83, "The Seattle music scene is gonna take over the world." Reid continues, "And I just fuckin' laughed. But goddamn, guy was right." Photographer Charles Peterson remembers how, "I was filching film from Auto Trader to shoot Sub Pop bands." Club maven Linda Derschang, then running a clothing boutique, laughs at the notion of "grunge fashion" making its way to Vogue. Genius art director Art Chantry looks back and declares, "There's only about 10 people who got rich in the Seattle music scene." He's not one of them, but there's more affection than bitterness in the book, which Yarm will discuss tonight with EMP curator Jacob McMurray. BRIAN MILLER

Tue., Nov. 15, 7 p.m., 2011

 
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