There’s no denying that all the great love stories throughout history are also abound with great tragedy. In my lifetime I’ve yet to see another musical genre that had the power to inspire an entire revolution and attract as much love as the grunge movement did in the 1990’s, then only for it to suddenly “die” a few years later. Many have argued that on April 5, 1994, the day Kurt Cobain left this world behind, he took grunge with him. As poetic as that sounds, there’s just too much evidence to the contrary. Personally, I’m not going to contend whether or not grunge actually ever died, but rather, to argue that in 2016, it is alive and well. Thus, I present the Top 10 Reasons Why Grunge Isn’t Dead!
1. Pearl Jam
This year Pearl Jam put another notch in their belt, as they, and their loyal fans celebrated their 25 year anniversary. Die-hard fans who attended shows this past spring were given the gift of a lifetime as Pearl Jam belted out their now classic debut album, Ten, from start to finish. Celebrate away, Pearl Jam! No other original grunge band has come close to holding it together longer, or better. Cheers to another 25!
2. Alice In Chains
Second in command now to the “Big 4” out of Seattle during the grunge era is the formidable Alice In Chains. Although their career hasn’t been completely static since their debut, Alice In Chains has long erased any doubt of their resurrection to even the most stubborn of the Alice ‘purists.’ With the addition of William Duvall, now a decade ago, Alice In Chains has shown that they are as explosive now as they have ever been, while touring almost constantly, and releasing new material that keeps on-par with the sound of their classic records. Alice In Chains began the second half of their summer tour this week, and are rumored to begin working on new material later this year.
3. Temple Of The Dog Reunion
No doubt the most exciting news of the year for grunge nostalgists was the surprising announcement by Chris Cornell that Temple Of The Dog will be performing a micro-tour of the U.S., with 3 East Coast and 5 West Coast dates. It’s definitely been one of the most asked for reunions in grunge, seconded only by the Soundgarden reunion that the fans seemingly willed into existence back in 2011. Temple Of The Dog had a one-off reunion, playing two songs in 2015 when they did an impromptu set at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
4. Mad Season Tribute Concert
Last year the surviving members of Mad Season collaborated with fellow Seattle musicians Duff McKagan and Chris Cornell, among others, paying tribute to their fallen bandmates and friends, Layne Staley & Baker Saunders. Chris did each song justice as he dove into the mind of Layne Staley, saying, “I’m listening to Layne [Staley] singing them over and over and over, and it was so sad. It was so sad to hear his performances and hear his expression and kind of know where he was during that period, which wasn’t great, and you hear this kind of vibrant talent, the character of who he really is coming through in the song, ’cause he was able to do that, he was able to convey that.”
Almost 6 years after their long anticipated reunion, Soundgarden is still humming right along as a photo was recently released showing the band in the studio, instruments in hand. Chris Cornell does seem to work steadily on multiple projects, so it’s great to see him making time right now to further the next Soundgarden record.
7. The First Grunge Band Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
2 years ago in 2014, Nirvana was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall Of Fame, cementing grunge’s footprint in the Rock genre, and joining other first ballot inductees such as; R.E.M., Prince, The Ramones, and Led Zeppelin. Pearl Jam also looks to be a shoo-in on their first eligible year in 2017, while Alice In Chains and Soundgarden wait in the wings for their nominations.
8. Smashing Pumpkins Reunion Of Original Lineup Rumors
It was reported last month that Billy Corgan was shopping a Smashing Pumpkins original lineup reunion to concert promoters. Corgan had also posted a Facebook video that seemed to hint at an original lineup reunion. Come on Billy, it’s time to cave already!
9. Justin Bieber Reintroduced Grunge To The Mainstream
Earlier this year Justin Beiber channeled grunge martyr, Kurt Cobain, donning flannel and even performing a short acoustic set as a nod to Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert, which ended up pissing off more than a few grunge fans. Luckily for Beebs, we’re not his target audience, but as the saying goes, “It’s better to be pissed off than to be pissed on.” …which, by the way, is exactly what Justin did to Kurt Cobain’s memory. The ever-predictable Courtney Love tweeted in favor of the blasphemy, “You’re cool in my book Justin Bieber.”
10. Guns ‘N Roses
If Axl and Slash are touring as Guns ‘N Roses, then logic dictates… Grunge Cannot Be Dead! Actually, maybe if GnR release some new material it could lure out the next rock revolution, as they did once before!
No matter what happens, we still have our faithful grunge survivors that still love making and playing great music. Bands like Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Foo Fighters– my hat’s off to you guys.