Thaddeus Turner: Grunge "Cemented the Perspective That There are Only White Musicians Working In Seattle"

Thaddeus Turner has been in too many Seattle bands to list. His current project, Thaddillac plays, SW's Reverb Festival October 8. Thaddillac plays the Volterra Stage at 11:30 p.m.
This post is part of the special Reverb Questionnaire series in which we ask local bands to discuss the legacy of the Seattle music explosion of 1991, as well as the class of 2011.

SW: What do you think the legacy of the 1991 grunge explosion is for the Seattle scene?

Thaddeus Turner: I may be the only person playing in the Reverb Festival that also participated in the Grunge scene of the 90s. There were a lot of great musicians in Seattle during that time that didn't get any recognition. Some of them, like Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets, had to leave town to get any attention. Sir-Mix-a-lot got play in Texas before he got play in Seattle. I understand that to the rest of the world, Seattle is very much defined by the grunge era - but is that really how we need to keep defining ourselves?

It [grunge] gave visibility and credibility to the Seattle rock community and certainly left its fingerprints on the culture. It also kind of cemented the perspective that there are only white musicians working in Seattle. I could be wrong about this, but I think the only person of color who came out of that scene was Kim Thayil, and of course, I played in Brad.

Do you hear many influences of the sound in today's bands?

Not directly. I always go back to what influenced grunge in the first place. I go back to Jimi Hendrix; he was a pioneer of the power trio. I go back to the punk scene of the '70s and 80's. Musically, grunge was this innovative combination of punk and '60s rock and roll and you can definitely hear the influences of that music in Seattle music today.

In what ways is your band influenced by the 1991 sound?

I think I am more influenced by the culture of grunge than by the music. The skateboard culture, attitude, and fashion all made the statement that being famous isn't the goal ... making honest music is. Grunge was very much about rebelling against mainstream attitudes and used collaboration and creativity as the weapons to push against the status quo. Those ideas strongly influence me.

How do you describe the Seattle sound today?

Eclectic. We can have bands like Shabazz Palaces and we can have bands like Modest Mouse. We continue to breed more and more hybrid music genres. At the moment I think the music of the '70s and '80s are having more effect on Seattle music than the '90s.

What were you doing on October 8, 1991?

Probably rolling a cart down a hall delivering room service to room 2537. I knocked on the door and a dark haired guy opened up. I said "You're Roy Orbison" and he said "Yes, I am."

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