Releasing in September 1991, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” took the music world by storm and wreaked confusion upon the hair metal vanguard. It put an end to an era dominated by glamorous, androgynous and sparkly rock stars who absolutely saturated the radio waves and were almost exclusively what aired on MTV.
Stone Gossard opens up on the matter
In a new interview with Meltdown of Detroit’s WRIF radio station, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard was asked for his take on the long-running narrative that grunge reinvented the rock and roll genre and killed the career of many hard rock and heavy metal musicians.
He replied: “I think we changed the landscape at that time; I just don’t think we reinvented anything. We were taking punk rock and the blues and rock and roll and we were just kind of doing it in a different way. I do think we impacted the music industry at that time, and it’s only because hair bands were so entrenched and the record business was so entrenched and everybody was just doing the same thing for so long that it lost its flavor.
“I was into hair bands; I wanted guys to dress up and have crazy hair and makeup,” he continued. “But I think everything — there’s time for a change at some point, and everyone wants something fresh again.
“I love the moment when kids get ahold of something and they break it and they wanna just make it their own. And so anytime that happens, it’s kind of fun. It’s a good time to listen. Then it makes it more about for anyone to make a band; it’s not just stellar musicians. Sometimes it’s just gotta be a group of people that just love making racket together.”