Grunge Is Dead by Greg Prato (ECW Press)


Your average music fan knows something about grunge, even if it’s just the raw basics of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and flannel shirts. Grunge Is Dead digs beneath that surface, painting a complete picture of Seattle rock that goes beyond its best known bands. Sure, the mega-bands are covered in meticulous detail (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains), but so are others who were less known but still important. So, for every Kurt Cobain or Chris Cornell story there’s something equally compelling about unsung heroes like Screaming Trees, Andrew Wood, Tad or Mudhoney. Author Greg Prato follows the Please Kill Me format of storytelling, compiling the book from lengthy interviews conducted with over 130 people who were there. Although the surviving members of Nirvana are noticeably missing, Prato gets candid insights from almost all the other major players, with the most memorable moments often coming from less popular sources, like Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves who gives hilarious and brutally honest assessments of Seattle’s most popular groups. There’s also a lot of quotes from a surprisingly knowledgeable and passionate Duff McKagan, who was a key member of the early Seattle scene with Ten Minute Warning, The Fastbacks and The Fartz before finding fame and fortune in Guns N Roses and (ugh) Velvet Revolver. Even if you don’t care about grunge (I don’t, outside of Nirvana and Mudhoney) Grunge Is Dead is an extremely entertaining history of how an underground movement became the biggest thing in the world, only to destroy itself in the process.