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Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music Paperback – April 1, 2009
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"The most significant interviewee has to be Pearl Jam's [Eddie] Vedder, whose band has become Seattle's last great surviving grunge ambassadors. In a lengthy phone interview with Prato, the notoriously guarded Vedder, calling from Hawaii, opened up." --Rolling Stone
"Start with the Sonics and keep moving. 'Grunge is Dead' is the ground floor, bloody version of that other Seattle music oral history. Prato's reporting is thick with anecdote and he pulls meaty descriptors from the hundreds of voices that tell the story of the scene. Unvarnished, the way this shit should be delivered." --Steve Miller, author, 'Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock 'n' Roll in America's Loudest City'
"'Grunge is Dead' is a classic - best documentation of the grunge scene there ever was." --Martin Popoff, author, 'The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade'
"It is a classic. If any kid really wanted to capture what the grunge movement was all about, 'Grunge is Dead' is the book to read, undoubtedly." --Keith Roth, The Electric Ballroom Radio Show"
"I thought it was really good." --Mark Arm, Mudhoney singer/guitarist
"It's pretty much filled with comments and stuff from just about everyone that was around during those years--more of the insider on things than the outsiders attempting to fill in the blanks! Anyway, I do recommend this book. It's a fun read!" --Chad Channing, Nirvana drummer
"I like this book. It lets the people who were actually here tell the story directly, without the author having any particular axe to grind." --Jack Endino, Seattle producer/musician
"The author is not from Seattle, but the book is done in the Please Kill Me style so it doesn't really matter. It has some cool interviews with the guys from Mudhoney in it and it's always interesting to read a version of history that you were a part of." --Tobi Vail, Bikini Kill drummer
"All those records from that time continue to let the world know what things sounded like in our little universe, but if someone wants to know what people were feeling and thinking about the scene as it all transpired, this is where I point them to." --Robert Roth, Truly singer/guitarist
"(Grunge is Dead) is an accomplishment that will find fans as long as the music does. The book is remarkably comprehensive, nearly 500 pages long, and filled with rarely seen photographs, astute analyses of popular culture, insider gossip and interesting, funny and painful stories." --Washington Post Express
"A complete, exhaustive and authoritative account of Music 1.0's last successful marketing experiment . . . an invaluable record." --Eye Weekly
"Probably the most complete time capsule of a particular era in music history that has been penned to date." --Popmatters.com
"Goes straight to the cow's craw for this enlightening oral history of the scene from the people actually involved, and no stone is unturned . . . the final word on an exciting musical mutiny, and triumphs as a potently honest view of the perhaps the last punk rock revival." --Synthesis
"This tome is heavy and honorable, like a tombstone. If grunge is dead now (and by all accounts it is, despite its ongoing impact on rock music today) it was most certainly was alive." --Popdose.com
"Fifteen years after Kurt Cobain's suicide comes an exhaustive tome (nearly 500 pages) . . . if you're still embracing the plaid button-ups of yesteryear, you might actually feel like you've died and gone to heaven." --Filter
"The book is remarkably comprehensive, nearly 500 pages long, and filled with rarely seen photographs, astute analyses of popular culture, insider gossip and interesting, funny and painful stories." --Express, Washington, DC
"An enlightening chronological history of the Seattle rock scene from the 1960s through the mid-90s, as told by the folks who lived it." --YuppiePunk.org
"By approaching the subject as an oral rather than a written account, [Prato] gives the story back to Seattle . . . a multifaceted portrait of the music that pretty much defined the decade." --Blurt Magazine
"Grunge is Dead' takes an inside look at one of the most successful and tragic rock scenes ever, by talking to the actual people who helped create it." --Stone & Double T, WXRX, Rockford, IL
About the Author
Prato is a writer who contributes regularly to Rolling Stone. He lives in New York.
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The only thing you have to adjust to is this is a series of quotes and answers from the people that lived it without a lot of narrative from Greg to guide you. Its not the author telling you what happened its the actually artists and people involved...in short quotes or answers. Its hard to get use to at first but then you get used to it and can get through the book quickly and understand why Greg did it this way.
I really enjoyed this book and pretty much anything Greg Prato writes. He did an outstanding book on Blind Melon you should read as well.
As a high school science teacher, I often think back to when I was the age of my students and wonder what got me to where I am today. If I were to start with "me now" and draw lines back through all of the decisions I've made that shaped the person I've become, there'd be many branches, but most of them would begin to converge around 1992 or 1993, when "grunge" finally swept through my little nook in rural Kentucky. I don't care if that sounds superficial. I was person A before, and I was person B after. Music has the power to change people, and that particular music, whatever you want to call it (and after you read this book, you'll understand why I put quotes around grunge above, and you may even understand that while it was packaged to the rest of us as "the Seattle Sound", it was really much, much more than that) changed most people for the better. All of a sudden, it didn't matter what kind of music you liked, it didn't matter what socioeconomic group you belonged to, it didn't matter what you wore, it didn't matter if you were "different"...nothing mattered. In this rural town, this music broke down those petty barriers.
I still see this today, in the classroom of a semi-diverse rural high school. Maybe I live in paradise, and it would be different if I went somewhere else, but here, people don't fight over the kinds of things kids fought about when I was growing up. Things such as: you have ugly shoes, you're a geek, you dress funny, you like rap, you're a freshman, you're gay, and on and on and on. Kids still fight, but it's over things kids will always fight about: you're hitting on my girlfriend, you made my girlfriend cheat on me with you, you called me a bad name...things like that.
So while Grunge is Dead, as the author says, and as those who were a part of that scene and were interviewed said, the attitudes and ideas that it spread throughout the rest of the country seem to have survived. And that's a good thing.
This book is a fascinating look at how that "movement", for better or worse (which seems to depend on whether or not you were there when it all began), came to be.
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